J. Bracken Rourke was born in Moorhead, Minnesota He grew up in the Fargo, North Dakota and Detroit Lakes, Minnesota area. He received a B.A. from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota in 1989. In 2000 he started Cotton Lake Ceramics. Bracken spends his time in studios between rural Detroit Lakes and in Fargo
“I wanted to make tile. It sounds so simple! Beginning with framed and decorative tile and working with galleries and shops, I developed my unique style. That was just the beginning. Five years later Cotton Lake Ceramics, now known as Cotton Lake Tile, branched out into a variety of tile applications including counter tops, back splashes, refurbishing existing furniture and fireplaces, to tables, mirrors, and accessories to match or complement any decor.
My travels to Europe, especially Greece, the islands, and Italy, are some of the most memorable times of my life. I have drawn inspiration from the ancient architecture in Europe, and the influence of St. Peter’s Basilica marble is prominent in many of my glazes. Bright tones, earth tone, and everything in between, I study the colors and textures of my surroundings. Southwestern United States has some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world and these are often reflected in my work.”
Cotton Lake Tile is the only custom tile producer in the Fargo-Moorhead and the Detroit Lakes area. Tile can be handmade to specifications or widely available, commercial bisques tiles can be modified with a process of glazing and re-firing.
Since 2001 Bracken Rourke participated in four solo exhibitions and 11 group exhibitions. Bracken has received numerous merit awards and a purchase award in 2002. His work can be seen in shops and galleries all over the upper Midwest.