The Lure of Leaving a Mark

Catalpa leaves pressed into concrete

Leaf impression with patina

The Southwest has a unique building style centered on haptic materials, many originating from Mexico. Saltillo is a type of terra-cotta tile from Saltillo, Mexico, where the thick and ruddy clay tiles are dried outdoors. Occasionally an animal walks across the material leaving their prints behind. Or so the story goes… some look pretty deliberately placed. The effect is charming nonetheless. Homeowners often ask tile setters to place these paw print tiles in a featured area.

Similarly, there is a compulsion to disturb newly placed concrete and make a mark. Large catalpa leaves were nearby when we poured our shop floor pad and we pressed the heart-shape into the threshold. Jesse later stained the impressions with rust.

These impressions become a permanent part of a home and add depth to the story of a building.