B.A. Schmidt Arts and Enterprises, Inc.
About Us
B. A. Schmidt Arts & Enterprises, Inc. located in Highland Park, Illinois, produces handmade porcelain relief tiles.  Our tiles are available through showrooms.  If there is no showroom in your area, you may contact us directly.  

B.A. Schmidt Arts & Enterprises, Inc. is a family business.  It was founded by Barbara Schmidt in 2000.  Until that time, Barbara had worked first as a social worker and then for over 20 years as an attorney with the Federal government for both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.   Although during the day she investigated and litigated securities and commodities fraud, she actively developed her artistic skills in her spare time.  She studied painting and drawing at night at Northwestern University and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  She filled sketch book after sketch book of portraits of  commuters that she drew daily on the train ride into the city. She also took classes at The Art Center of Highland Park in Highland Park, Illinois and the Evanston Art Center in Evanston, Illinois.  Barbara has a B.A. from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), an MSW from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and a JD from De Paul University College of Law. (Chicago)
Her interest in tiles started by accident, when during her lunch hour while working at the SEC she came across a book featuring decorative tiles in the New York subway system.  She thought that they were extraordinarily beautiful and wanted to learn how to make her own tiles.  In 1996, she wandered into a paint your own pottery store, purchased a bisque tile and started painting.  Building on her interest in children's illustration, (see Fairy Tale Tile page) using underglazes, she painted complicated murals on factory bisque tiles. In 1998 she bought her first kiln.  Also in 1998 she began taking tile making and sculpture classes at The Art Center Highland Park.    By 2000 she was making relief tiles almost exclusively. She initially sold her tiles at local art fairs. In 2003 she refocused her business to selling them through high end tile stores. 

Barbara is responsible for the design and execution of all the tiles.  Her husband helps with odds and ends.  Her daughter helps with web site issues.

Barbara currently teaches tilemaking at The Art Center Highland Park

The Tiles

B.A. Schmidt Arts has over 100 different tile designs.  Many are based on classic children's illustration from the late 19th and early 20th Century.  Other tiles are based on natural images, some tiles, such as the leaf tiles, use actual leaf imprints in the molds.  The tiles are completely handmade. 

In designing her tiles, Barbara begins by making a model of the tile out of clay.  She then pours plaster over the model to make a plaster mold.  The mold can then be used to make repeats of the original tile.  Each tile is hand pressed in the mold.  After the tiles are taken out of the mold, additional carvings and undercuts are applied to make each tile unique.  The tiles are first dried very slowly to prevent warping and cracking (this can take up to two weeks), and then bisqued in the kiln.  They are then glazed and stained.  She generally uses a ceramic stain that is mixed with a matte transparent glaze that is first brushed on and then sponged off, to give the tiles an antique, wood cut like appearance.  Other colors are available and additional colors can be added to the tile.  The tiles are then fired again to maturity.

Barbara uses a grolleg porcelain clay body that matures at cone 6, approximately 2232 degrees Fahrenheit.  The tiles are approximately 1/2 inch thick.  They can be used both indoors and out. The tiles fit well a variety of commercially available stone and field tiles. 

Matching field tile in small amounts only is available.  All field tile is hand made.

All tiles are available with an antique brown fired on stain.  Other colors are available, as can be seen throughout the site. 

All sizes are approximate.  Variations in color can occur. 

All tiles are made to order.  Please allow four to six weeks for delivery.  Large orders may take longer.  The tiles are not returnable unless defective or damaged in shipping.  No cancellations are allowed after production has begun.  A 50% deposit for all orders is required.

Barbara is a member of the Tile Heritage Foundation, the Tile Council of America. and The Handmade Tile Association


B.A. Schmidt Arts & Enterprises, Inc.
Fairy Tale Tiles    Tiles Inspired by Walter Crane Illustrations    Tiles Inspired by H.J. Ford Illustrations 
Tiles Inspired by Pre-Raphaelite Artists    Tiles Inspired by Nursery Rhymes   
 Alice in Wonderland Tiles   Tiles Inspired by Peter Rabbit
Tiles Inspired by Myth and King Arthur  Fruit & Vegetable Tiles  Dog Tiles
Nature Tiles   Animal Tiles   Bird Tiles   Cat Tiles   Fish Tiles   Frog and Bug Tiles    Tree and Leaf Tiles
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