The term Arts and Crafts when referring to architecture, most likely brings to mind Frank Lloyd Wright and his beautiful and ground breaking residential and business designs. Arts and Crafts as a style is still extremely popular today and tile manufacturers are doing their best to keep the designs current and on the market.
Whether updating or creating an Arts and Crafts home, or simply adding a touch of this architectural charm to a kitchen or bathroom design, Arts and Crafts tiles truly deliver.
What are Arts and Crafts Tiles?
Arts and Crafts style tiles are ceramic tiles that recall the Arts and Crafts architectural and design movement from approximately 1870 to 1920. The movement was characterized by the utilization of simple designs, local materials and hand crafted objects.
Arts and Crafts tiles are handmade and glazed tiles in the vibrant, saturated and variegated colors used then. Often very thick, they can be used on floors, walls and countertops and can withstand moderately heavy use.
Characterizations and Designs
Some characteristics of Arts and Crafts tiles include their varying colors, potentially uneven edges or surface, and thickness. Designs are often etched or built up into their surfaces and filled with hand applied colors.
Arts and Crafts tiles, because of their handmade nature will often never look the same way twice. Even the use of one color of tile may result in variations of color that can range from tile to tile, or even within one tile. Therefore, a green tile may also contain shades of yellow and turquoise, as well as varying shades of green.
These tiles may have an uneven appearance, making it important to leave a thick grout joint between them to accommodate. One company specializing in Arts and Crafts tile, and one of the only vendors to have approval from the Frank Lloyd Wright foundation, Motawi, presses their tiles out of loose, dry clay, making them extremely thick, and slightly rounded on top, giving their tiles an almost three dimensional, cobbled appearance once installed. These tiles are sized to include a grout joint into their final measurements.
Colors are extremely saturated, and even whites will have variation that can lead to matte and shiny variation, with varying shades of cream throughout the surface. Designs can include traditional arts and crafts images of flowers, carved animals or pine trees, or can be more abstract and current, with colors that call to mind the arts and crafts era.
Applications and Uses
Arts and Crafts tiles can be used anywhere, from recreating an Arts and Crafts kitchen to creating a unique fireplace. Because of their thickness, and handmade nature, these tiles tend not to mix well with other materials, however it is possible to mix materials, if extreme care is taken during installation to even out the thickness variation.
Multiple sizes of tiles can be pieced together to form intricate, puzzle like backsplashes and fire place surrounds, and tile walkways and floors can be created for a rich, unique look.
Arts and Crafts tiles can be included anywhere in a home to bring a sense of craftsmanship and style to the space. Whether used sparingly, or to tile an entire bathroom, these tiles will suggest character, warmth and vibrancy anywhere.