Apr. 29, 2010
Written by Dawn Engel, owner and landscape designer at The Artist's Garden
Ten years ago, I discovered Fireclay Tile in my search for materials to use in a bathroom remodel project. Fireclay Tile’s famous “boneyard” yielded enough gorgeous handmade ceramic tile to enrobe our shower enclosure with the beauty that only a handcrafted product can obtain. I was hooked!
This year, I was a garden creator in the 2010 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. When I began thinking about materials to use for my flooring, my thoughts immediately returned to Fireclay Tile. My garden, entitled “Salvaged Creole Jazz Courtyard” was to be composed entirely of recycled, repurposed, and salvaged materials. Fireclay Tile’s Debris Series line of ceramic tiles--made from recycled materials-- fit the bill perfectly. When Fireclay Tile and its owner Paul said they would sponsor my garden, I was filled with gratitude. This is truly a company that believes in supporting the arts and fills an important place in our community.
The Debris Series comes in many beautiful, luminous glaze colors, and I had a terrible time picking the colors I liked the best! I ended up choosing Evergreen (a deep peacock blue-green) and Limon (a chartreuse). The main flooring material in my garden display was recycled brick, and I loved how these two colors looked juxtaposed to the brick. I decided to create borders of Debris Series ceramic tile set within the brick flooring. The play of color, as well as the contrast of rough brick with the smooth, satin finish of the ceramic tile elevated the garden floor from ho-hum to masterful. One of the garden show judges even said that it was his favorite element in the garden!
In all, my garden won five awards, including a gold medal from the judges, as well as People’s Choice Award. Many of the compliments I received from the show goers were directed at the flooring. Everyone was amazed and impressed that the ceramic tile was made from recycled materials. Fireclay Tile played a huge role in the success of my garden!
Note: This is the 2nd in a Two Part Series on using Fireclay Tile in Landscape Architecture. Please also check out Fireclay Tile for Landscape Architecture - Part 1
Apr. 21, 2010
My name is Lindsey, and I am the new marketing intern recently added to the Fireclay Tile team. As part of my initial training and orientation to the company, myself and another new employee were invited to spend a day working in the company's factory to get a better understanding and appreciation of the company (Visit Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2010). I wanted to share my unique and exciting experience making tile.
Off Highway CA-129 lies the small charming community of Aromas located within the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz (aka the Tri County Area). Tucked off a side road in this beautiful countryside is Fireclay Tile’s factory. As you drive down the modest dirt driveway onto the property, wild flowers such as suckles and ice plants abundantly bloom on each side of the driveway. I am awestruck by the luscious green pastures and mountains that surround me.
Upon arrival, we are greeted by Office & Production Manager, Mayra and a fresh brew of coffee. After completing a tour of the facilities and introductions to all 12 dedicated crew members, we wasted no time getting our hands dirty- no pun intended. As one can imagine, it is quite dusty and it should be noted that when working with ceramics, it is not wise to wear the color black, unless one wears the dust as a badge of honor, like myself!
The first task of the day involved removing, stacking, and inspecting tiles that had been fired in the kiln. We unloaded heavily stacked trays full of tiles from one pallet to another, organizing and inspecting each piece of tile for quality control one by one. Minute flaws and variations were deemed unacceptable and unusable for the order. Everyday the ceramists are challenged with the nearly impossible task of duplicating highly specialized and individually unique tile. Through meticulous and highly complex techniques, Fireclay workers have this sustainable form of art down to a science. Every single Fireclay employee is committed to using sustainable, recycled materials, and manufacturing practices, applying this same due diligence to ensuring quality control. Fireclay's Debris & Vitrail Series both contribute to LEED credits as well (LEED Rating Sytems Information).
From glazing dried bisque, to extruding slabs of clay from the assembly line onto drying racks, we attempted to complete what looked to be easy processes. We were sadly mistaken about these intensely laborious tasks. Lunchtime could not have come sooner.
At 2PM, a mandatory break was taken by all employees. In a cleared gravel area behind one of the buildings, the entire Aromas crew (me included) divided into teams to play a quick game of soccer. Having played soccer my entire life, I could not have asked for a better afternoon treat. Besides an exhilarating soccer match, the highlight of our day came when we were given the opportunity to sit down with Rosa, a skilled artist, and hand paint Cuerda Seca tiles. The words Cuerda Seca come from an old saying, "to resist." This technique originated in Persia and made its way to California via Spain, and was adopted by many potteries in southern and northern California in the 1920's. Each tile has a painted wax line barrier to keep the glaze from running together during the kiln firing process. Once these outline designs are drawn on the tile, the glaze is then applied to the appropriate places with a syringe. Each intricately designed piece took us about 45 minutes to paint. This is a task that requires steady hands and meticulous attention to detail. Our last job of the day involved kneading and hand-stamping pieces of clay to create tile designs, as you can see in the photos below.
The dedicated, hardworking Fireclay staff embraced and appreciated our feverish attempts to assist in production. I have a new found appreciation for tile manufacturing, and commend and respect the workers for all of their hard work. I cannot wait to go back and have a rematch with the boys in soccer.
Apr. 19, 2010
By Annette Heacox, Partner Luciole Design Inc. - April 2010
We discovered Fireclay Tile while creating custom tiles for a three year long project.
As landscape architects, we constantly look for new textures and materials. The range of custom colors that Fireclay Tile offers is really nice. There are several tile series to choose from and many are new and avant-garde.
We especially appreciate the Debris Series, using recycled clay for sustainability. It is great to be able to create custom tiles while maximizing sustainability, one of our firm’s goals.
The professionalism we encountered during each visit makes Fireclay Tiles a great company to work with. Generous with its samples, Fireclay Tile also has a fantastic boneyard. It encompasses treasures for each of us, as we find material to use in unique and fun ways to enrich a wall, a planter or a water feature.
More recently we had the pleasure to work with Fireclay as a sponsor for our exhibit of an 800 square foot garden at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show in March of 2010.
We designed and built a custom table with inlaid mosaic tiles
from the Fireclay Tile Boneyard. Tile chosen for their range of complimentary colors also adorned a series of planters.
Many visitors admired the table and planters, and were endlessly directed to Fireclay and the boneyard. I feel that by now the boneyard may be close to empty!!!
We exhibited the same table at the California Flower and Garden Show a few weeks later, with much success among visitors. The nearby exhibitors also appreciated the table, as we gathered to celebrate the end of each day with Champagne, beer, wine and cheese!
Thanks again to Fireclay for its sponsorship. We look forward to keeping on working with you for many successful years to come.
Partner Luciole Design Inc.
Note: This is Part 1 of a 2 Part Series on using Fireclay Tile for Landscape Design. Be sure to check out Fireclay Tile for Landscape Architecture - Part 2
Apr. 18, 2010
We are fortunate to have so many WONDERFUL dealers, and one of our longest and most knowledgeable is Norberry Tile in Seattle, WA. Norberry was kind enough to feature us in one of their blogs in February 2010, and earlier this week we learned that one of their projects featuring Fireclay Tile was highlighted by the Seattle Times.
Sadly, the article mentions Pratt & Larsen, when in reality the backsplash tile is our Debris Series in Emerald Green and it was supplied by Norberry. Oh well, we still love the shots and are proud to be part of such a special home!
Crammed with interesting things, an Eastlake cottage enchants
By Rebecca Teagarden
photographed by Benjamin Benschneider
A little cottage in Seattle's Eastlake neighborhood is made enchanting with an eclectic collection of antiques and interesting objects as well as splashes of color and texture multiplied by many mirrors. It all comes together under the sophisticated eye of interior designer Mary Hansen.
Interior designer Mary Hansen carved an intimate dining space between the living room and kitchen. The old French bistro table with a limestone top, which serves as the kitchen island, also functions as dining space. Elegant lighting plays against cheerful paint choices of blue, green and yellow....(click the image for full article)
Apr. 1, 2010
We got a GREAT response from our April Fool's email. Check it out here