Margaret Licha: tile artist |

Margaret Licha: tile artist

Eileen JoyceMargaret Licha stands before some of her handmade tiles at her Loma Rica Drive studio Wednesday.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Margaret Licha’s 11-year-old handmade tile business has taken off.

After five years, she outgrew a small garage studio in Orangevale. She relocated her work space last month to a 900-square-foot studio off Loma Rica Drive.

Her client list has expanded from throughout Northern California, which is where she’s lived since 1981, to New York, Maine, Pennsylvania, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.

“Three Dog Liner,” her first relief tile, was featured in the fall 1999 Women’s Day special edition, “Walls, Windows and Floors.” She was one of seven artists mentioned in the article. Licha is also featured in the book “Decorative Art Tile for Your Home,” published last summer and featuring 50 U.S. artists.

Licha creates flat and relief ceramic wall tiles six days a week. She no longer has free time to make wall sculptures that honor women.

Licha began working with tiles in 1991, after graduating with an art degree from California State University at Sacramento.

A stay-at-home mom, Licha returned to school when her two children were in high school. Before studying clay sculpture in college, Licha (who is in her late 50s) occasionally drew, painted, and made macrame for fun.

Today, she’s represented regionally by Sierra Tile and Stone in Grass Valley, Hills Flat Lumber in Colfax and Cortopassi in Sacramento. Her works are also in Counterpoint Tile in Santa Fe and Urban Archeology in New York City.

“I was hoping I’d be so busy,” Licha said in her Grass Valley studio Thursday, already immersed in work by 8 a.m. “But I didn’t know how busy. I’m surprised, because it’s just me here.”

Licha’s tile designs center around whimsical animals.

“I love animals and giving them an extension or a personality,” said Licha, who creates folk art tiles of dogs, horses, farm animals and chameleons. “The light, color and freedom aspects of folk art seems so honest and straight-forward for me.”

To Licha, folk art relates to everyday life.

“My references come from all over the world,” she added. “It’s eclectic. I take lots of liberties with the animals.”

Licha will have an open house in late April. To see her work now, call 477-1486 or check out her Web site at

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