Are you looking to make a statement in your latest renovation? If so, you might be interested in handmade tiles and what makes them so special. In this blog, we will be discovering how and where handmade tiles are crafted.
Because human lack the same precision as the robots and machines that create mass-produced tiles, it is important that those looking to buy a set of handmade tiles understands that every tile is unique when it is handmade. This means that the individual tiles might be slightly different in shape, colour and detail.
The mistake one might make is in believing that these differences devalue handmade tiles. When a wall of handmade tiles is brought together, those very differences are what makes handmade tiles shine. They create a rich sense of passion and artistry that is missing from mass manufacturing, though they often come at a premium for the labour that goes into making them.
Some houses prefer to augment a wall of industrially manufactured tiles by showcasing a line of artistic handmade tiles. This can be very visually effective as well as economical.
There are a few different ways to make handmade tiles, depending on the artist and the intent. To begin with, the clay needs to be sourced. Certain tiles must be made with particular types of clay because some formulas will increase the tiles’ potential to warp or crack.
Once the clay is sourced, it needs to be processed to remove any excess water or clumps. Following the processing, a human will split the processed blocks of clay into individual tiles using a cutting wire. When the tiles are sliced, they are left to dry so that even more of the clay’s natural moistures can evaporate.
The tile surfaces are then smoothed to prevent issues during the glazing process. The tiles are then left in a drying cupboard to allow for even more moisture to leave, and during this process, they will begin to harden.
Following this second, much longer, drying process, it is important to smooth down any rough edges to ensure the best quality before the glaze goes on. Once the glaze is ladled onto the tile, it’s time for the tile to go into the kiln for the firing process.
The firing process can take a long time from heating to cooling, and it can be one of the most nail-biting times for a tile maker. The maker must wait until the tiles have finished in the kiln before the door can be opened and the creator can learn whether everything has gone smoothly, or whether there was an issue with the batch which has led to warping and cracking.
This is the basic process for making handmade tiles, but every artist approaches it a little differently, as you can see in this video:
Alternatively, if you are looking for cutting-edge precision in your home then you might be interested in reading our blog about how mass manufactured tiles are made. Different homes will appreciate different styles and whether that is the clean-cut offered by manufacturing or a more artistic touch, you can find what you need from our wall tiles in Lancaster, or travel to our sister branch where we stock wall tiles in Preston.