Handmade Wall Tiles with Deep Catholic Roots

”People like to feel they are an integral part of the story of humanity, and my tiles have the weight and feel of another era, a time when things were more permanents and long-lasting.” -Sid Dickens

Photos courtesy of Sid Dickens' website.

Photos courtesy of Sid Dickens' website.

By Carrie Gress

Wall tiles are not the first thing people think of when it comes to religious art, but designer Sid Dickens has created a whole new genre of art that decorates homes, businesses, and restaurants the world over.

I have long admired these elegant tiles. I first saw them at my friend Jen's shop, La Bella Casa, in McMinnville, Oregon, back when I was a traveling student, moving every year or so. Decorating my own home was a long way off. To my delight, I rediscovered them at the store, Du Jardin, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. (They are available for purchase online and at other shops worldwide.)

I now have three in my home (and just purchased one for my children to give to me for Christmas.) I was pleased we were able to feature one in Theology of Home. It was one I purchased in 2018 and in the photo (below) the pink in the tile is drawn out. In my own home, it hangs on a wall with deep orange/redish paint, which draws out the orange in Our Lady’s heart. These tiles are the kind of decorative feature that can hang easily in nearly any room in the house.

Photo by Kim Baile,  Theology of Home

Photo by Kim Baile, Theology of Home

Sized at 6x8 inches, Sid Dickens' tiles can be hung as singles, or they can be grouped together to create a unique and dramatic decorative wall. Many have taken to collecting Dickens' tiles because most are part of limited-edition collections.

St. Cecilia, 2019 Holiday Collection

St. Cecilia, 2019 Holiday Collection

Dickens, a Canadian native, is clearly inspired by Catholic themes . On his website, Dickens says, "When things come out of passion they develop organically, and for me, it has never felt like work but more like part of myself-- perhaps as a cure to my compulsive need for creating beautiful objects and being surrounded by them."

Dickens, originally trained as a sculptor, got started in the early 90s and his tiles are still going strong. He attributes their appeal to their beauty and sense of history.  "People like to feel they are an integral part of the story of humanity, and my tiles have the weight and feel of another era, a time when things were more permanent and long-lasting. I think it's this aspect of the tiles that make people want to reach out. In essence, they want to touch history."

Dickens has clearly found much inspiration from Catholic themes, with many tiles featuring the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Child Jesus, the Madonna and Child, and guardian angels.

2019 25th Anniversary Collection - Salvation

2019 25th Anniversary Collection - Salvation

Yes, there are a some tiles in his collection that can raise an eyebrow, but Dickens' commitment to the beautiful ensures that he is constantly pulling from different eras that understood the nature of beauty. Drawing from the vast array of Catholic art and architecture makes perfect sense.

From the 2019 Collection

From the 2019 Collection

Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 3.10.14 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 3.09.22 PM.png
Dickens at work

Dickens at work