Jul. 28, 2010
Builder +Architect Magazine Highlights Debris Series Recycled Tile
Want to experience Fireclay Tile yourself, try a free sample today.
Jul. 28, 2010
Want to experience Fireclay Tile yourself, try a free sample today.
Jul. 27, 2010
Jul. 26, 2010
Recently the Ceramicists at Fireclay have been talking a lot about glaze color variation and how it impacts our fired ceramic tiles. Our recent blog post on The True Beauty of Color Variation in Fireclay Tile was meant to educate customers about the beauty of color varation and describe the mechanics of how it happens, and today we take the next step to actually showing you color variation and how it impacts each of our colors.
For our main two types of ceramic tile, the Debris Series Recycled Tile and Vitrail Series Handmade Tile today we launch BRAND NEW glaze color pages that show individual images of each of our colors, reflecting the potential rang of variation for each.
We invite you to click the respective color below to be taken to a world of color and wonder! Enjoy!
|Debris Series Sea Blue||Vitrail Series Kiwi|
Wnat to experience Fireclay Tile first hand? Check out a free sample pack!
Jul. 23, 2010
Ok, so it's probably a stretch to compare Fireclay Tile to Apple. I mean, Apple did just report about $16 billion in sales over the last 3 months, which is about, well, A LOT more than Fireclay, but when it comes to lead times we're not so different.
Eric, our business guy, just snagged one of those hot new iPhone 4s and has been playing with it, making movies, and snapping photos left and right. When he ordered it, though, the lead time was 3 weeks! Ok, so the iPhone is hot, so demand is greater than supply. But then again today, after Apple launched their new "Bumper Program" for iPhone cases, the lead time was 3-5 weeks!
At Fireclay we make each and every order from scratch, start to finish, and we do it in about four weeks. Don't believe us? Just watch our manufacturing video to see how it's done. Not only that, but we make it right here in the U.S. and we do it using recycled materials which we up-cycle into beautiful new ceramic tile products that will last forever.
The iPhone, on the other hand, is made overseas, is made in bulk, and will be obsolete in about 2 years, and when you discard it the electronic pieces will be extremely difficult to recycle or dispose of properly.
So beyond just the mere fact that our lead times are pretty much the same, by our take we'll give you an even higher quality product made for you, by us, in only four weeks.
Want to experience it for yourself? Grab a sample here! (Note: this blog post was written on an Apple and the writer is a lover of all Apple related things!)
Jul. 23, 2010
As one of the owners of Fireclay Tile and the person responsible for day-to-day operations, finance, marketing, etc, I rarely get the opportunity to work with customers on a one-on-one level. Many of our staff encourage me to do so, yet designing with tile, much less something as beautiful and unique as Fireclay's, is not something I am used to. I can barely pick out what to wear on any given day and generally defer to jeans and a polo. But yesterday I was fortunate enough to be in our San Jose Factory Showroom when a couple, Joelle and Chris Hamming (Elk Grove, CA), visited to discuss their kitchen counters and backsplash.
The Hammings were the runners up in the 2009 California Go Solar Sweepstakes, and one of their prizes was $5,000 of Fireclay Tile merchandise, including a BottleStone countertop and kitchen backsplash. They told me they also received 40 hours of design help from a designer, as well as furniture and other home goods - quite a win if you ask me!
Unfortunately, the Hammings had a challenging design process with their designer, and like we hear from so many customers, the designer failed to really listen to what the client wanted and instead presented what the designer wanted. When the Hammings arrived at Fireclay yesterday, after several months of trying to work with a designer, they were still at square one and were not entirely sure what they wanted to do.
Our showroom was packed when they arrived so the only person available to work with them was me. As I told them I was pretty much clueless when it came to design, but they were ok with that, so it seemed like a perfect fit. I was thrilled with how nice they were, their open attitude, and their willingness to be adventurous when it came to thinking about their kitchen.
We first set out to pick a backsplash pattern. Joelle thought they wanted a subway tile look, but Chris wanted something a bit more unique. I took them over to our design concept wall (shown below) and together they set their eyes on a blend pattern featuring our Debris Series Recycled Tile in gobi, pampas grass, and demistasse.
Like I said, though, they wanted a subway look, not a pinwheel as shown in this photo above, and they wanted something unique. Fortunately for them, at Fireclay we offer all of our colors in almost every size and shape imaginable. They looked at 3x6, 2x6, but ultimately decided on a very cool look with long 2x8 planks of the various colors. We laid out the pattern in those sizes, and being able to visualize it right there helped the Hammings realize that 3 colors were too much. They still had their sites set on a 3rd color, but wanted to minimize the demitasse just like it was done on the pinwheel board. I showed them some decorative pieces from our catalog, and soon they had settled on a 2x2 Snowflake in demitasse that they would put in various places throughout the backsplash.
Watching them look at all of the design concepts, I was thrilled to see their imagination run wild but to ultimately settle on combining a few aspects from each. For those who can't see these in person, we actually post them online under design concepts for both our Debris Series Recycled Tile and Vitrail Series Handmade Tile.
And to help them think through sizes, shapes ,and decorative tile options, they referred to our catalog, which we post on the bottom right corner of the Fireclay Tile homepage or under Sizes and Shapes within the product listing of any of our Debris, Vitrail, Claymonde, or Express products. While talking through size options, it also became clear that Chris didn't know much about our company and our history or commitment to sustainability, or how our Debris Series features over 60% recycled materials all sourced locally from the Bay Area from other companies' and peoples' waste streams. As I told him about it, I could see him perk up and get more excited, and that's before even showing him the video on how we make our tile!
So, literally 30 minutes later we were done. And best part of all ... they had done it all themselves! I was merely a bystander, fetching product as they needed it. The key things for them in thinking through the backsplash were:
- basic pattern = subway, inspired by friends and magazines
- basic colors = pampas grass, gobi, and demitasse, inspired by a Tile Design Concept Board
- refined shapes and sizes and decoratives, inspired by our enormous catalog and tile offering
We next turned back to the countertop, as that is definitely necessary to think through as you are considering your backsplash. In fact, you should prioritize the countertop when thinking about designing a tile kitchen backsplash. Fireclay designed BottleStone in 2007, and we were fortunate to receive funding from the State of California CalRecycle Division to further develop this product. The Hammings had won a BottleStone countertop, but since we are still developing it we couldn't guarantee them it would be ready. They were going for the Mocha color whch would be a great fit with the pattern they decided on, but I also made sure they picked out a tile countertop option just in case. After calling in the experts for color consultation, i.e. Dearsy, our showroom manager, they picked Malt as the color for their counters and settled on a 12x12 size for the counter.
And just like that, we were done. Now the Hammings will have a beautiful backsplash and counter they designed.
With Fireclay Tile, the options are truly endless. You don't need something extremely fancy, as our colors are so unique and stunning they almost take care of the design for you.
I can't wait to see photos from their project once it is all complete. Now that I have helped design my first backsplash I plan to return to my Quickbooks and website design and let the experts work with our customers. But, having gone through the process, I can truly appreciate the wonder of designing with Fireclay Tile!
If we can help you with a free quote or free samples, just let us know!
Jul. 19, 2010
We love emailing our customers about new tile products and other exciting ceramic news from our company, and we use Vertical Response for that effort. This week we were featured as the Customer of the Week by Vertical Response for our July Newsletter.
If you are interested in receiving our newsletter just sign up for our newsletter!
Jul. 14, 2010
Jul. 13, 2010
Enough with all the iPhone 4 hype! The real news is Fireclay Tile has launched its NEW Express Line of recycled ceramic tile featuring some truly amazing new features such as:
- 6 New Contemporary Colors suitable for all residential and commercial applications
- 1 Week turnaround...and it's still handmade like all of our other tile lines!
- Most popular shapes and sizes, including 4x4, 6x6, and 3x6, as well as trim and decorative accessories to match
- Over 62% recycled materials, just like our Debris Series Recycled Ceramic Tile
- 25% less expensive ($18/SF) than our Debris Series, meaning you can get it faster for less money!
- Qualifies for numerous LEED Points including recycled materials and local manufacturing. Read more here.
We've been selling this product to our exclusive dealers over the past 4 months and so far the feedback has been fantastic. We can't wait to grow this part of our business and keep bringing our customers truly innovative products that are sustainably manufactured by Fireclay Tile right here in the U.S.
Click here for your FREE SAMPLES!
Jul. 10, 2010
We are all accustomed to using ceramic tile for its intended purpose - kitchen, bathrooms, floors, wall coverings, etc. But there are so many other wonderful uses for ceramic tile and especially Fireclay Tile! Here we present three quick ideas for turning your ceramic tile into something fun and extremely useful:
Ceramic tile has some fantastic properties - it is durable and will last forever, is an extremely clean and hygenic surface that won't get moldy, and is unique and beautiful, especially when featuring Fireclay's beautiful colored glazes. For a coaster it will easily protect your most precious hard surfaces (such as wood), and if using it as a hot pad our ceramic tiles are high fired and can withstand heat you might give it.
You can easily DIY these product with a few rubber feet at the corners, and paired with a beautiful tile you have a unique creation that will complement your kitchen. Lately we've been making a lot of decorative coasters/hot pads using our Cuerda Seca decorative tiles, and they have been a hit with customers and friends.
If you happen to be near our San Jose Factory Showroom stop by and make yourself a set!
If you like making pizza you will LOVE a Fireclay pizza stone. There are a lot of options when it comes to pizza stones, but as Planet Green points out a DIY approach using a ceramic tile like Fireclay's 12x12 unglazed Debris Series makes the perfect option. It's a high-fired ceramic product that is light-weight, easy to clean and store, and makes delicious pizzas.
Why a pizza stone - amazing crust, consistent heat throughout the entire pizza, and most important your friends will be very impressed!
We currently sell these pizza stones through our ebay store, so pick yours up today!
One of our favorite customers, Jesse Cool, the owner of the extremely popular Flea Street Cafe in Menlo Park, CA, recently turned us on to a creative use for our Debris Series Field Tiles. She recently visited our Factory Showroom and purchased about 50 Moss colored 2x2s. We thought maybe it was a replacement for something, but she later informed us that she was using the tiles for butter trays in her restaurant!
We love these creative ideas, and encourage others to think of fun ways of using tile for alternative purposes. Ceramic tiles cleanliness, natural ingredients, and our lead-free glazes all make for a perfect product upon which to have fun and get creative!
If you have other ideas, please comment and let us know! And if you want to purchase tile for any of these purposes, look no further and let one of our fantastic Fireclay Tile dealers or our team know how we can be helpful!
Jul. 7, 2010
We are thrilled to be featured in this month's New York House Magazine!
Though Fireclay Tile is located on the West Coast, we sell a tremendous amount of material to the East Coast, especially New York! Not only are we blessed to have fabulous dealers in the Tri-State Area, we have found that people in the northeast are becoming more aware of sustainability and products like our Debris Series which are made here in the US and include tremendous amounts of recycled materials.
If you are looking for sustainably manufactured ceramic tile for your kitchen, bathroom, flooring, or perhaps larger commercial project, look no further than our Debris Series Recycled Ceramc Tile.
Jul. 2, 2010
By Mayra Melchor, Fireclay's Production Coordinator
Recently when Mrs. Stonebloom's class came by the Fireclay Tile factory as part of a school field trip never did it cross our minds that we would become a great part of what they were planning to create for their school. We love to host students, but generally it is a tour for them to learn about using recycled materials or green building and LEED Credits.
Mrs. Stonebloom later advised us that the class was in the process of designing a mural which would depict the history of Aromas, CA and needed a little bit of our help to create it. Our Chief Ceramicist and founder, Paul Burns, was more than willing to donate all tiles and trim needed to initiate this historical and unique piece of mosaic art. Community contributions are important to Fireclay, and we have been involved with many that we are proud of. (See more community contributions here.)
Aromas is a quiet and small town with a population of no more than 3,000 residents, it is located in the middle of the Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. You would think there is no history to be told of this town, but the mural these students created would suggest otherwise.
Twenty-one students sat down and researched the town they've grown up in from indegenous origins all through the rancho period and up to the 1940's. The mural was sponsored by the Aromas School English Learner Advisory Commitee. The students, five of whom have been in the U.S no longer than 3 years, were not able to communicate verbally with their peers fluently but proved that art needs no language.
The mural titled is "The History of Aromas in Twenty Voices." The Aromas School Mural Project which stands 4 feet tall and 17 feet long was put up on June 8th, 2010, just before the last day of the school year. The students proudly told the story of how this project came about and directed me towards the school library where pictures and books were put out for us to see showing the intense process of this project. The tiles used were our Debris Series Recycled Tile, and in the process the kids also learned about re-using recycled waste materials.
All in all it a wonderful sight to see after the mural had been put up for all of us to enjoy, but more so, the fact that even though this small school has also been struck by budget cuts and lost it's art teacher, this was made possible due to all the volunteers and donations that were made.
The project was recently highlighted in the Santa Cruz Sentinel as well as local news!
Aromas School would like to thank it's donors and volunteers:
Paul Burns of Fireclay Tile: for donating all materials (tile, glazes, kiln)
Fireclay Tile Production Manager Ramiro Plascencia: for his time, attention and technical support
Fireclay Tile Production Office Manager Mayra Melchor: for her encouragement and teaching the students the art of tile making
Hugo Marquez: for installing the tile
Tina Baine: the historical consultant
Monterey County Free Library: for supplying all historical documents and photographs
Terry Strasser: art consultant support
Guillermo Kelly-Paez: Muralist
If other student groups or schools would like to do similar projects, please do not hesitate to contact us.