tomatoes and squashes, vines and squirrels, frogs, eggs, fruit — all find their way into her tiles. A lizard poised mid step, the faintest image of a fingernail moon, a fig, blood ripe, spills its seeds. “Sometimes I make what I see,” says Scarpa. “And sometimes I make my own fruit, a flower that exists only in my head, a little playing God.” White porcelain is meticulously inlaid into the darker red clay, a subtle marquetry. And some tiles are left unadorned, to display the chance variations of the glaze.

The pieces are loaded into a heavy clay saggar and packed with Scarpa’s chemical and sawdust firing compound. What emerges from the kiln are tiles of burnished copper and fiery umber, subtle cloudy blues and smoldering 

charcoal, like stones formed from a millennium of glaciers and thunderstorms and heavings of the earth.

The tiles are pains-takingly sealed with a mixture of paraffin and beeswax and polished to a satin luster. Scarpa then pieces together her creations, forming mosaics that create a whole from their disparate parts. She has crafted friezes arching over door-

ways, sculptural nautilus shapes mounted on iron stands and bound her panels in simple steel frames.

The Exuberance of the Garden


In brilliant contrast to her earthen, elemental compositions in tile, Scarpa’s painted sculpture, her My Garden series, expresses another   


facet of the natural world in which she is immersed. These pieces sing with the emerald green of a new spring leaf, the scarlet throat of a camellia blossom and the crystalline blue of a winter sky — magnified and exalted. Where her tiles are bound in their panels, her painted sculpture explodes. It springs