About the Artist

The Spirit of Houston Llew

The artist Houston Llew was just seven the first time he got lost in the art world. A boy gone missing at New Yorks Metropolitan Museum of Art, he was found sitting on a bench, quietly pondering Botticelli's Annunciation and sketching its rays of light in his notepad. The young boy drew fascination from arts abstraction elements of the whole that capture the spirit of the moment. In later years, with less panic spread to his elders, Houston shared the same quiet moments in Holland with Van Gogh and with da Vincis Mona Lisa at the Louvre.

Houston LLew
Houston Llew

A southern boy born in Nashville, Houston attended school at Auburn University in Alabama then went to work at the seaport of Savannah. He moved along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico where he kept books and cast netted to keep his sanity. The old South captured his eye for icons; moss-draped ancient live oaks and weary shrimp boats hanging onto the sunset, but Houston Llew had not yet found the prima vitae he needed for his imagery. He adventured on westward in a Winnebago, fueling his tank with the occasional poker game.

Houston soon found himself in Santa Fe where he would meet the accomplished artist Zingaro. The master found Houston to be a young man worthy of his mentorship and came to share with him a precious gift his luminous medium of glass fired to copper a timeless technique the man himself had inherited from the late masters Craig Ruwe and Fred Ball of California. When Houston Llew envisioned his spirited imagery captured in this fire, he knew hed come full circle lost again in the world of art.


Spiritiles are created with MOLTEN GLASS on COPPER. They are collectibles that capture the Spirit of the Enlightened Moment. 100% American Made. All the raw materials of Spiritiles are made in USA: the glass comes from the Southeast and the copper comes from the Southwest. The imagery is created by hand with colored glass, kiln fired to copper. Spiritiles bring luminous icons to life and share timeless stories on their golden sides. Spiritiles easily wall hang or stand alone. These wonderful artworks will never fade or tarnish and may be enjoyed in sunny or humid spots where other art may not endure. Spiritiles are new and unique just introduced to the world in 2009. Handcrafted in Atlanta, GA

Vitreous Enamel: History of the Medium

The earliest evidence glass on metal art form is dated thirteenth century B.C. . . . six gold rings decorated in cloisonné enamel known as the Kouklia Rings retrieved in 1952 from a tomb on the island of Cyprus. Not long after, a magnificent Royal Gold Sceptre with cloisonne enamel from the eleventh century B.C. was discovered in a tomb at Kourion.

The artistry of glass on metal, otherwise known as enameling, has taken many turns over the centuries from the intricate boxes of Battersea and Limoges and the fabulous eggs of Peter Carl Faberge to the jewels of the art nouveau era but none so remarkable and unique as the works of Fred Uhl Ball (1945-1985) whose experimental techniques elevated enamel work from decorative objectives to abstract, interpretive wall art.

Ball began his formal career at age eleven with open air demonstrations at the California State Fair. The worse conditions were, Ball said, the wilder my work would get. The young man had a flair for the unusual torch firing thin sheets of metal, exploding liquid enamel and firing enamel-coated cobwebs and tree leaves to create pattern and texture.

As his finesse grew, so did the renown of his freeform process. Once breaking away from tradition and approaching the art in a painterly way, all kinds of innovations began to occur. Balls innovations garnered him worldwide acclaim as a master of large-scale enamelwork with over forty-five public commissions recorded at the Archives of American Art, the largest of which is The Way Home, a 24x 62 installation on a municipal parking garage at 3rd and L Streets in his Sacramento hometown. (photo)

Ball was known as a generous man who had a commitment to sharing his discoveries with young artists. One of these was Craig Ruwe (1957-2004) of Long Beach, California who assisted Ball in his largest installation. After moving to New Mexico in the 1980s, Ruwe innovated methods to create gradient imagery within the enamel and refined the presentation, using framed glass and later the metal itself as framing. Under the demands of a large commission in 2001, Ruwe engaged the painter and sculptor Zingaro (1954) to assist him. This arrangement continued until Ruwes death in 2004 when Zingaro was left to carry on the evolution of the process and the training of young artists.