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Home / About / Making Handcrafted Tile

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MoldsBW400HaZsuszaBW400nInspection400dcrafted artisan tile may seem like an anachronism in an era of mass production. Hand-finishing each trim piece, glazing every field tile individually, and inspecting every order to ensure the utmost quality require time and craftsmanship. The end result, however, is worth the effort.

From raw clay to greenware

Every Status tile begins from our unique white talc clay composition. Since clay is the canvas for our glazes, we have found that a white body provides us with the greatest versatility in our glaze colors. We press or extrude the pieces, and then finish the edges of each tile. Drying the tile is not a passive process. As it dries we rotate and straighten it, checking for imperfections and warping by hand. Pieces that do not pass inspection are recycled back into the process as raw material for the next run. Depending on the weather, drying can take between four and ten days.

Bisque fire

The bone dry greenware tile is then loaded into the bisque kiln for the first firing. The first firing precedes glazing and can take 48 to 50 hours, depending on the thickness of the ceramic and the total quantity we are firing. As we unload the kilns, we inspect the bisque once again before putting it into inventory.

Glazing

Glazing is arguably the most fickle element of the process, as each glaze must be calibrated to the characteristics of the tile body. A slight change in how the tile body expands and contracts with heat can cause the glaze to craze or shear. We apply the glaze using a number of techniques, which allows us to create a range of effects. Spray glazes create depth and consistency. Sponge glazes have more variation and can incorporate multiple shades. And for the precise lines of our vitrine tiles, we apply the glaze with a syringe.

Final fire and inspection

The temperature and duration of the glaze firing determines the surface characteristics of each glaze type. The glaze firing melts the glaze to a glass-like state, blending the glaze components into a compound and adhering the glaze to the tile body. During the 24 hour process temperatures inside the kiln reach 2000 degrees, which burns out any remaining organic materials. The result is a work of art that can last millennia.

Inspections of the tile occur at eight stages, including the final stage of packing the tile for shipment. Aside from hand inspecting each tile, we also lay out the field tile and trim to verify that the variation between tiles is within an acceptable range. The goal is always to produce the highest quality handcrafted tile.