10. When Stars Are Born

Artist: J. Bracken Rourke

When Stars are Born

In creating When Stars are Born, J. Bracken Rourke found that grouping random tiles resulted in a look that resembled outer space, an idea that was reinforced by images from the Hubble telescope. The piece was created in 2001 of wood-fired ceramic tile.

Rourke, a Moorhead native, grew up in Fargo and rural Detroit Lakes. His father was an artist, and as a child he was surrounded by artwork, the smell of oil paint and the aroma of kiln firings. A graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, he did not pursue a career in his major field of political science but instead set his sights on owning his own business.

Starting out with clay, a few glazes and a tricky wood-fired kiln, he opened Cotton Lake Tile in 2000 in a studio at his family’s lake home. Much of his tile artwork and many of his paintings were inspired by his surroundings, especially on his travels to the Southwest. He has exhibited his award-winning work both regionally and nationally.