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Share your Fireclay Tile Story with Us!

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Shannon Malone

Shannon Malone

Social Media Maven

Shannon joined the team in 2013 as Fireclay's Social Media Maven. After graduating from the University of California Santa Cruz with a degree in Cultural Anthropology, Shannon pursued her lifelong passion for interior design by working as a freelance writer for Houzz. Her interest in design related content eventually led her to Fireclay where she gets to spend her day spreading the Fireclay word and help get tile to the people!

Favorite thing about Fireclay: The beautiful handmade nature of our tile, especially our new Handpainted Collections.

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Susanne Redfield

Susanne Redfield

Creative Consultant

Tile designer and ceramist Susanne Kibak Redfield merges her Danish roots and love of traditional crafts with a modern sense of restraint that brings just enough to the design without going over the top. After graduating from the University of California Santa Cruz in 1981, Susanne started her own business making ceramic tiles. She introduced Kibak Tile through Kneedler Fauchere, a revered interior showroom to the trade, then spent twenty five years in a successful relationship with Ann Sacks. "I began hearing about Fireclay Tile, their sustainable story and youthful energy really captured my imagination, I absolutely wanted to be part a company that really cares about tomorrow. Designing product for Fireclay Tile is energizing, truly inspirational.

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Handpainted How It’s Made: Off to the Factory

There is nothing more inspirational to an artist than the actual fabrication of the dream, and the place where it all happens, the factory.  The heat from the kilns, the smell of wet clay, show stopping color, machinery grinding, churning, compressing, chopping, spraying, all of this gets the creative energy ignited.  The factory in Aromas, California is the heart of Fireclay, and is the reason we all do what we do, from the CEO, to the chemists, the social media team, to the glazers, the shippers, to the managers and especially the artists.  The factory is the next step in bringing a Handpainted collection to life.

Handpainted mural design

Once a design has passed several edits by the design team the artwork gets sent to the factory where it is turned into a screen. Most designs are between four to twelve inches in size, but sometimes our projects are scaled up. The challenge is to find just the right size for the application, visualizing sparkling tile from paper and ink.

Example of a design translated onto a screen

Blank bisque tiles are screened using our proprietary wax resist technique and left to dry before glaze is applied with a bulb syringe.

Our Moroccan pattern, Kabuki Sphere being handpainted

Painting tiles with glaze is not for the faint of heart. Glazes look chalky and subdued before they are fired. Too much glaze applied, or too little will affect the final outcome.  The transformation in the kiln is remarkable.  An obsession with perfection and a steady hand is required in the Handpainted department.

Once the tile and glaze is dry it is ready for trial by fire. Placed on the rollers the tile will be exposed to extremely high temperatures in the kiln, then cooled down again.

Our new Starburst design glazed and waiting to be fired

Starburst from our Contemporary Collection coming out of the kiln

The tile emerges and the metamorphose is complete. The excitement and thrill when the first prototype comes into view is palpable. Even after 35 years of imagining, designing, and then making tile, I am still surprised and delighted. The final product is by no means a given, there is a serendipity to the making of tile, fire and oxygen will have their way, so it truly is a collaboration between artist and atmosphere.

Falling in love with Handpainted?  Shop the new collections now.  Need some help?  SImply call, chat or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly.

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