We specialize in hand crafted custom tiles.
Ackfire Studios was created in 2001 by its founders, artist-designers Alison MacDonald and Kathrine Moore, residents of Nantucket for over 30 years.
The island of Nantucket is 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. It is characterized by a rich history; the whaling industry, abolitionists, the Quaker peaceniks, and the early feminists who ran their own businesses while the men were at sea for years. It also possesses a survey of remarkable natural beauty, and the drama of being surrounded by the sea. All of these elements effect the aesthetic and philosophy of Ackfire Studios.
The genesis of AS was that of organic necessity. During the many years we ran Nantucket Tile Design, a contracting firm specializing in the installation of high-end tile and stone, we were often approached by homeowners who wanted to further define their own personal style by including a unique and custom detail. They found that the ceramic and glass studio of Moore and McDonald was the place to make that happen.
Ackfire’s ceramic department specializes in classic bas-relief tile, including large architectural pieces suitable for fireplaces (e.g. lighthouses, scallops), and a group of “Island Icons”, which range from lightship baskets to quarterboards to catboats, and all of their attendant trim pieces. The most recent addition to this category is a series based on the classic shapes of signal flags, compelling in their nautical precision. We have also executed many original glazed murals, and whimsical mosaic constructions. These products are all hand-carved originals which are then made into molds; subsequently they are hand-pressed, detailed, then glazed and fired.
Ackfire’s glass department offers a wide range of fused glass and hand-cast trim pieces , glass tile inserts (e.g. scallops, starfish), and colorful accent pieces including sea glass plates and ikebanas (shallow vases). Recently we added a glass version of the signal flag series, in tiles, plates, and trays.
Fundamentally, custom work is the key to Ackfire Studios’ theme and it’s success. We are committed to a sophisticated aesthetic, committed to our clients, and committed to fire in all of its forms. We can start by customizing any of our existing lines of tile, decorative and functional pieces (in either ceramic or glass) to suit your needs, or we can begin from the drawing board, with your own design ideas, and follow them through to execution.
Examples of our clients’ projects are: tall glass panels fused with copper for a steam room , tropical-colored glass starfish for a 1778 cottage, a glazed mural of the famous Brant Point sailing race depicting the owner’s boat winning, glass plates with the bride and groom’s initials on them, and the fabrication of 1900 pieces of sand-blasted sea glass for an artist’s installation.
We were also commissioned by the new owners of Graves Light Station (in Boston Harbor) to create over a hundred cast glass "lights" to set into cast iron stairs, and collaborated with the Nantucket Historical Association to create 300 bas-relief gold-lustred ornaments for a commemorative celebration.
We are open to questions on all topics, studio visits, are committed to striving for quality and uniqueness, and elegant but light-hearted beauty.