Alexander Art Ceramic Portrait Tiles and Fine Art
Would you like a way to memorialize your dog or include your favorite breed in your home design in a more permanent manner? Are you thinking about remodeling or building a new bathroom? Will a dog shower be part of your project? Will you be updating the kitchen with a new backsplash? Are you considering a new ceramic tile border around your fireplace? Maybe you would just like an image of your dog to hang on the wall. These are a few of the places where the beautiful and elegant creations of Sondra Alexander may be just the thing you need.
From Sky to Earth: Sondra Alexander
Pilot to Artist
Sondra’s education and background began in aviation. She started right out of high school and flew anything and everything to build flight hours. She was a certified flight instructor, piloted skydivers, flew surveillance on gas pipelines, and single pilot charter. Eventually, she worked her way up the ranks of First Officer flying the Boeing 727 airliner for passengers and cargo. Sondra credits her parents for her passion of art and a belief that she could do anything. Her father owned a construction company and her mother is an artist, so she had a lot of hands on experience in the creative arena. Although Sondra and her mother often took art classes together, she is mostly self-taught. Her primary medium these days is clay, but she also draws, paints and sculpts in bronze. She credits a local artist, Babs Mellor, for encouraging her to create her first bronze of an equestrian rider. Soon she found herself in a sculpture class in New Mexico with Veryl Goodnight that featured a live horse named Toby who was kept in a pen in the middle of the class. In 2002, Sondra was asked by the owner of a pet memorial company to be a featured artist in the store. She began painting and sculpting bronzes as memorial pieces for peoples’ pets.
Grounded in Clay
The idea for doing ceramic tiles came out of personal necessity when Sondra designed and built her own home 6 years ago. At the time, she had a Greyhound who had difficulty getting in and out of the bath so she designed a 4’ x 4’ walk-in dog showerfor her. Sondra personalized the shower with sculpted ceramic tiles of her Greyhound, and two other pets – a Boxer and a cat. Once people saw the dog shower and tiles they wanted their own and the business grew by word of mouth.
The ceramic tiles are 6” x 6” and are 3-dimensionally sculpted in relief. There are 3 basic ways to order, in stock designs, semi-custom, and custom. Prices reflect these options. The semi-custom option utilizes an existing design with a change of color to reflect your dog, for example a lab could be chocolate, yellow or black. For the custom design Sondra uses a photograph that you supply to create a likeness of your dog. She also has some designs in stock. The tiles come with or without a hook on the back depending on how the client wants to use it. In addition to dogs, Sondra has sculpted numerous cats, horses, fish and even some flowers. She can do any animal as long as she has an image to work with. She has begun a line of zoo animals. Memorial tiles of pets have become an important and emotional part of Sondra’s work where she often finds herself crying on the phone with a grieving pet owner.
When it comes to her ceramic tiles the word relief has a double meaning. The type of sculpture that Sondra uses is technically known as bas-relief, meaning that the design elements are slightly more prominent than the background or back, which is flat. But Sondra’s work has also provided relief for animal shelters and rescues. Proceeds from her tiles are a great way for animal organizations to raise money.
Currently Sondra is working on a commission for the Kansas Humane Society in Wichita, KS.
Sondra lives with 3 cats, 2 Boxers, 2 Great Pyrenees/Mastiff mixes, 5 horses, and a donkey.