HAND PRESSED, HAND PAINTED

Arts and Crafts Homes - - RESTORATION CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: A VIBRANT DINNERW -

Hand-pressed art tiles are ex­pen­sive be­cause of the la­bor needed to make them. As El­iz­a­beth per­fects new de­signs for decos (dec­o­ra­tive tiles with re­lief), she sculpts an orig­i­nal, which is then used to cre­ate a plas­ter mold. Tiles are made by press­ing clay into the mold.

After the tiles are pressed, Gary says, stray bits of un­wanted ma­te­rial are cleaned up, and the tiles are fired in a bisque kiln. Once they’re cool, El­iz­a­beth and Gary ap­ply their own pro­pri­etary glazes by hand. Then the tiles are fired again.

“Some are over-glazed,” says El­iz­a­beth, “and some are hand-painted with dif­fer­ent col­ors.”

Gary ex­plains: “A lot of peo­ple would just spray their glazes, but we find we get bet­ter con­trol with brush-ap­plied glazes.” He says that hand­col­or­ing the tiles is “re­ally fun.”

“And mag­i­cal,” adds El­iz­a­beth. “No mat­ter how much you think you’re in charge, the kiln gods make magic you didn’t an­tic­i­pate.”

ABOVE: Three dec­o­ra­tive tiles in­spired by na­ture and his­tor­i­cal de­signs: ‘ Dog­wood’ in Alchemy, ‘ Tree of Life’ in An­tique Gold, and ‘ Lo­tus Cameo’ in Black For­est.

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