In memory of New Jersey's ash trees
Handmade ceramic tiles
This ceramic tile is a handmade impression of ash bark, from an ash tree that succumbed to the emerald ash borer at Gorgeous Goat Creamery in Stockton, New Jersey.
In memory of the ash trees, we will donate $5 to the Sourland Conservancy for each tile purchased to support tree seedling planting.
The story behind the tile
This special ceramic tile is handmade at Gorgeous Goat Creamery by artist (and goat farmer) Matthew Kriegler. Matt has been actively making ceramic artwork since 2000, focusing on wheel-thrown functional ceramics such as mugs, bowls, and tumblers. In 2017, he learned the techniques for creating beautiful handmade tiles at the Moravian Tile Works in Doylestown. Matt took this knowledge and skill back to the farm where he is crafting these unique tiles, made from an impression of ash bark.
The emerald ash borer has devastated nearly all the ash trees in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, including much of the hardwood forest at Gorgeous Goat Creamery. In 2018, the ash borer was just starting to have an impact on the forest stand. This beetle eats the layer of wood, just underneath the bark, which will eventually kill the tree. As the beetle eats the tree, the bark loosens and can fall off the tree in large sheets. Matt found one of these sheets of bark in the forest, laying completely flat on the forest floor. He carefully carried the bark back to his ceramics studio.
Matt cut a square piece of bark and poured plaster around the bark to make a mold. He made multiple molds from this piece of bark, which are the molds used for these unique tiles. Matt positions the exact amount of clay needed to fill the mold, and then places the mold in the tile press. In one mighty pull, the tile press exerts even pressure on the clay so it fills the mold evenly. Each tile is hand stamped with a commemorative message and acknowledgement of our collaboration with Sourland Conservancy. The tiles are number with their production number, one through two hundred. The plaster wicks away some of the moisture from the clay which allows the clay to release itself from the mold. The tiles dry for several weeks and are fired in an electric kiln to 2070 degrees Fahrenheit.
At our farm, we have lost every ash tree on the property due to the emerald ash borer. We have giant openings in the once dense hardwood canopy. Each spring, we plant new tree seedlings in an effort to rejuvenate the forest. We want to raise awareness of the significant ecological shift happening in our forests and support initiatives to restore the forest where the ash borer has left its mark. This is why we are partnering with the Sourland Conservancy to make and sell this limited edition tree tile. For every tree tile we sell, we will donate $5 to support the Sourland Conservancy’s tree planting efforts. Our goal is to donate $1000 by the end of December 2022.
Will you help us reach our goal?
How to purchase a tree tile
Our tree tiles are available for purchase in our online store with delivery to your desired address via USPS or pick up at the farm or a farmer’s market. Please email us if you would like to purchase multiple tiles, shipped to different addresses: info at gorgeousgoat dot com.
You can also purchase the tree tile in-person at our farmers markets and holiday markets through December 18. We also have these available at the farm during farm tours on Saturdays, Nov 5, 12 & 19.
See our list of markets here: https://www.gorgeousgoat.com
NOTE: The tree tile is not available for purchase at Hunterdon Land Trust market in Flemington. Please consider ordering online and picking up at the farm, instead.