When I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles my dad brought home two of these tile corbels he found in the attic of a vacant house he was working on. They were put away somewhere and I rediscovered them years later when we were moving out of the old family home. It was when I noticed the name Batchelder stamped in the back that I realized that they might have a little more history and worth than I originally thought. I wanted to do something with them but didn’t want to destroy their value if they were of some significance. I tried researching online but could not find any images or information about the tile.
Last year when I was participating in the Arts & Crafts Bungalow Weekend in Pasadena I met Cha-Rei Tang of Pasadena Craftsman Tile. She had a number of tiles made from casts of original Batchelder tiles so I asked her if she’d be interested in my dutch boy corbel. She said she was so I sent her the corbel and she documented the process of casting molds from them here in her blog http://www.pasadenacraftsmantile.com/page6/page58/page58.html
A few months later she sent me a box with four of the little dutch boy clones. I got the idea to design a clock/shelf utilizing the corbel since I could now have an unlimited supply of them.
I wanted to have it completed in time for this year’s show in Pasadena and this is what I came up with. It seemed to ask for a deep dark brown finish and I put a darker stain on the tile to make it recede into the dark under the shelf.
While it was hanging on the wall at the show a woman came up to me and said she recognized the tile from the Dutch Chocolate Shoppe in downtown Los Angeles. With that lead I was able to find a wealth of information about the chocolate shop and the wealth of Batchelder tile still in existence, located at 217 West Sixth Street Downtown Los Angeles.
I wish I had had this information before leaving Pasadena to be able to see it firsthand before returning home. Perhaps next year I’ll check it out and maybe buy a cowboy hat, or in my dreams, some dark dutch chocolate.