Kim Lewis Designs always create meaningful spaces. And Kim’s 560 square feet colorful home in East Austin is no exception. Travel is what inspires most of the interiors of this tiny house. Inspired by desert landscape, she chose the backsplash tile carefully: the handcrafted Catalonia cement tile has been handcrafted in Marrakesh, Morocco and sourced locally from Clay Imports.
The Nickerson project by Moontower Design Build, Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects and of course homeowner Melanie Clapp is one of our favorite projects EVER. Mostly because the 1920s South Austin Bungalow features quite some of our tile, but more importantly because everyone was just so amazing to work with.
Read about the transformation of the space on Houzz.
Austin Monthly magazine has opened the polls for Best of ATX! If you like what we do here at Clay Imports on North Lamar, please consider nominating Clay Imports for a recognition as one of Austin’s top shopping and services experiences when it comes to home decor. We have a lot of competition in this awesome city, but we’d love to get a shot. Thank you all for your support <3
Nominate until 5/31 @ 11:59pm Central here.
Are you in the market for handmade Mexican tiles??? Then do not miss this year’s Clay Imports Talavera Tile Super Sale!
ALL Talavera tiles MUST GO and will be heavily discounted (they’ll be basically free…). There are shelves on shelves of beautiful hand-painted Talavera in our ATX warehouse ready for immediate pick up. Sold by the box.
As usual a Clay Imports sale weekend includes barbecue, drinks and music. Mark your calendar!!
May 18+19+20, 2018
9-5pm each day
only at the Clay-ATX warehouse
12024 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78753
Check out those beauties on sale soon…
….and a gazillion more options in the warhouse!
Talavera tile is our most traditional tile. It is rich in both history and color and design. With a backstory rooted deep in Colonial Mexican culture, Talavera tiles feature an array of patterns and vibrant colors. For example, Talavera blends characteristics of Islamic art, Spanish tradition, and materials native to central Mexico. Each tile is individually hand cut and painted. As a result, the natural variations and imperfections in each piece add to the uniqueness of Talavera tile.
*in-store only, immediate pick up required, sold by the box, no returns or refunds.
Celebrate design and handcrafted goods with Ayse Design, Trove and Clay Imports.
Saturday, April 21
at The Parlor
4301 W Guadalupe St B, Austin, TX 78751
We invite you to the tile launch of the Valladolid Series, and original Clay Imports – Ayse Design collaborative work featuring vibrant colors, heavy texture and a high gloss finish, inspired by the Yucatán.
Also, come check out Trove’s fashion lineup and learn about their commitment to sustainability.
Here‘s the facebook event.
Augmented Reality by Augment El Paso
AIGA: Under the Radar is a lecture series featuring our local design badasses who are helping put Austin on the map. Come out to discover and celebrate killer design that is taking place in our own backyard. Admission includes one taco ticket and free beer comes with your purchase of a Under the Radar pint glass.
About Ayse Design & Clay Imports
When it comes to designing, Ayse is a hands-on maker. She studied ceramics and sculpture at LSU. So, you know, she shoots pool well. She’s hand-stacked limestone walls with her landscape company. Hand carving and gilding frames for a master gilder.
When she was renovating her bathroom (yes, by hand) she couldn’t find the tiles she envisioned. So, you know, she made them – from design to firing in her kiln.
By doing the hard work herself she is keenly aware of the time and money each project takes. Whether she’s creating custom tiles for an interior designer or fabricating lamp shades for Odd Duck she gets the most visual impact for the dollar.
“I enjoy collaborating with designers to make pretty things we can smile at while drinking.”
Nick Barreiro is the Co-Founder and Chief Tile Scout of Clay Imports, an independently owned Austin-based company that specializes in the design, production, and installation of handcrafted tile.
While developing Clay Imports, and searching the world for skilled tile artisans, Nick built strong relations with crafters and manufactures in Mexico, Morocco and Turkey. In addition to sourcing awesome materials from these folks, Nick strives to connect them with designers from the US.
Nick is in the process of developing a tile making class that will provide designers with access to studio space in Saltillo, Mexico and Istanbul, Turkey.
6:30–7:30 Socialize with tacos & beer 7:30 Presentation begins
Free for members $5 for nonmembers. Register here.
*REMINDER* If you are a Under the Radar regular, bring back your UTR pint glass for continued beer consumption.
We’re supporting Saltillo Day in Austin. Why, well…you know the Clay Imports Saltillo connection. We have been working with traditional Saltillo Tile for decades now, and are stoked to continue developing new products and strengthen our relationship with our friends in Saltillo (like the glazed saltillo <3). Come out on Saturday, April 7 from 1pm-4pm at Plaza Saltillo in East Austin to celebrate international cooperation, understanding and friendship.
[more info here: facebook event]
Big thanks to @mattiesaustin for the review
Clay Imports is the mastermind behind several of Austin’s greatest tile designs. Disclaimer: we could be just a little bit biased, they did all of the black and white tile on our back patio and we lobe every inch of it. #wehavethisthingwithtiles #design
Cement versus Clay tile, review by @barrettflooringdesign :
Our friends at @clayimports are offering a lot of popular encaustic styles in a fired clay version.
Upsides to the cement version : great texture, durability, matte patina, non-slip
Upsides to the clay versions : No need to seal, can clean with traditional cleaners, 3/8″ thickness so no transition issues
So…..cement or clay? You choose!
Don’t miss out on handcrafted clay and cement tiles at 50%-70% off! If you have been putting off that project or planning on some in the future, now is the time to get that tile!
One weekend only: October 6-8 from 9am-5pm
at Clay Imports
12024 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78753
Also: barbecue, beer and music!
while supply last. selected overstock/discontinued items. in-store only. all sales final.
***We congratulate Nick Barreiro, our 2017 Hispanic Male Entrepreneur Award honoree!***
Nick Barreiro is the Co-Founder and Chief Tile Scout of Clay Imports, an independently owned Austin-based company that specializes in the design, production, and distribution of handcrafted tile.
While developing Clay Imports and searching the world for skilled tile artisans, Nick became increasingly involved in the Sister Cities International Program. He focuses on supporting the Austin-Saltillo Sister City’s effort toward US-Mexico citizen diplomacy. His commercial endeavors, combined with his international social interests, led to the idea of Glocal Tile Productions.
Glocal Tile Productions pairs designers from strong consumer communities with tile artisans from around the world: global crafters meet local designer. Through the process of connecting designers and crafters internationally, Glocal Tile Productions not only contributes to the creation of innovative tile-works, it also promotes learning, understanding & friendship between people, communities, and countries.
Nick is in the process of developing a tile making class that will provide designers with access to studio space in Mexico, Turkey, and Morocco.
(Facebook announcement August 25, 2017)
Do you have an upcoming tile project or know someone who does? Please spread the word that, as a promotional effort, Ayse Design and Clay Imports will be applying a 20% discount to all GEOMETRIC SERIES TILE LINE orders placed before June 15, 2017. We would love to see these patterns in your home.
Would you like a price quote, need help calculating quantities or deciding on a tile that fits your space? Please send questions and/or order inquiries to email@example.com
Nick and Ayse
Austin is known for its unique design and eclectic art. We think it’s about time to start collaborating with our city’s creatives for the purpose of bringing fresh ideas and local concepts to the tile industry.
We are pleased to introduce you to our first collaborative, artist tile line. Join CLAY IMPORTS and AYSE DESIGN for the release of the GEOMETRIC SERIES, designed in Austin, handmade in Guanajuato. Industry professionals are invited to the studio for an afternoon of tile talk, margaritas and botanas.
May 10, 2017
at the Clay Imports Studio
12024 N Lamar Blvd
Located in north Mexico, Saltillo, the capital of Coahuila, is just a 7-hour drive from Austin, making it a must-see destination for your next weekend getaway.
Want to know something that most people don’t?
In addition to Saltillo being the global hub for Saltillo Tile, one of most familiar forms of terracotta in the world, it is also the birthplace of the colorful, handwoven, Mexican textile, known as the Serape. Furthermore, Saltillo has a fascinating historical connection to Texas, once being the capital of The Lonestar State, inspiring citizens from both Austin and Saltillo to solidify the relationship by creating a formal, Sister City partnership. Saltillo is Austin’s oldest Sister City, a bond that Clay Imports promotes and celebrates.
Tile made in Saltillo, Mexico
With regards to traditional handmade tile, Saltillo is most notably known for 12″ x 12″ rustic, terracotta. This material has been produced by Mexican artisans and distributed internationally for decades.
Glazed Thin Brick
Though traditional Saltillo Tile has certainly been a reliable staple in the design world for years, Clay Imports, in collaboration with our Mexican partners, wanted to know, what is Saltillo Tile capable of being? This question has led Clay Imports to spearhead the development of Saltillo Tile into the world of designer shapes and color glazing. We are now able to apply a curated selection of ecologically sustainable glaze colors to the traditional, textured clay body. This process has resulted in one of the most beautiful products we have ever offered. We are pleased to introduce you to Glazed Thin Brick by Saltillo. This tile is not only beautiful and environmentally thoughtful, it contributes towards positive, international relationship building, designed in Austin, Hecho en Mexico. Thank you, Sister City. Muchas gracias, Saltillo.
Want to learn more about Glazed Thin Brick by Saltillo? Check out TheTilePress for a collection of beautiful production process pictures. The very talented Chase Daniel recently visited Saltillo with our Tile Scout. Together, they ventured the mountains of Coahuila, walked the streets of Saltillo and toured historic tile factories.
The making of Saltillo Tile is pure craftsmanship born out of centuries of handcrafting native clay. Unglazed Saltillo Tiles are characterized by gold and red tones which enhance a pure, natural, and handmade look.
Celebrate Sister Cities!
We invite you to participate in the inauguration of #Saltillo Day 2017 in Austin, hosted by the City of Austin, Consulado General de México en Austin and Austin Sister Cities International ASCI.
Se les invita cordialmente a participar en el primer #SaltilloDay 2017 en Austin, organizado por el gobierno de la ciudad de Austin, Texas, el Consulado General de México en Austin y Ciudades Hermanas Internacional.
:::SATURDAY // SABADO:::
April 8 // 8 de Abril
1pm – 4pm
Outdoor Festival/Festival al Aire Libre
Live Music/Música en Vivo
Culinary Exhibition/Exhibicion Gastronómica
Interested in sponsoring this event? Contact the President of the Austin-Saltillo Sister Cities Association firstname.lastname@example.org, 512-653-4792. Gracias!
Join the Facebook Event for updates!
This article was first published in our newsletter. Sign up today and stay tuned about more tile talk.
Don’t miss Saltillo Day Austin, an outdoor festival celebrating the sister city relationship between Austin and Saltillo!
The City of Austin, the Consulate General of Mexico in Austin and Austin Sister Cities International are hosting the inaugurate Saltillo Day. And Clay Imports is part of it!
Together we are bridging tech, community, music, art and culinary from Texas and Mexico.
Come all to Plaza Saltillo in East Austin and celebrate with us!
1pm – 4pm
Join the Facebook Event for updates!
Interested in sponsoring this event? Contact the President of the Austin-Saltillo Sister Cities Association email@example.com, 512-653-4792. Gracias!
Mark your calendars for March 3rd! This sale will be BIG TIME!
All cement tile overstock will be on sale for $3 per piece – we’re talking pallets of patterns and a gazillion miscellaneous concrete tiles that have been discontinued.
Cement Tile Sale 3-3-3
Don’t miss this epic 3-3-3 event to shop selected cement tiles at an incredible price! Join the Facebook event for special announcements!
FRIDAY 3/3 – SATURDAY 3/4 – SUNDAY 3/5 from 9am-5pm. in-store only.
Check out some of the tiles that will be on sale…..STAY TUNED FOR MORE!
Straight out of New Braunfels first record is out and we celebrate with a concert at the most beautiful concert stage in Austin, Texas!
Straight out of New Braunfels make True Jermanicana Music – Americana with a Jerman accent. They’re a bunch of friends, deeply connected through an international phenomenon: the Hash House Harriers. We had the pleasure of hosting these amazing people at our studio before and can’t wait to have them back. As a special guest proudly announce Ulrich Ellison and the Tribe, winners of two Austin Music Awards in the category “Blues/Soul/Folk” as well as the 2016 Award for “Best Guitar.” Also, there is rumor of the debut of Austin H3’s newest musical incarnation “Straight Out Of Our Minds” at this party.
And last but not least, food and drinks will be provided!
Save the date and join the Facebook event!
FRIDAY March 10 at the CLAY IMPORTS STUDIO
6pm doors open
7pm Ulrich Ellison and the Tribe (Austin Music Awards 2016)
9pm Straight out of New Braunfels (True Jermanicana Music) w/ debut of Straight Out Of Our Minds.
Sundays and Home Tours go together like two peas in a pod. The weather could not have been any more perfect!
9 homes, 9 designers, and endless amazing design ideas: tribeza interiors tour
Each house was so different and creative in its own way.
Canan and I kicked off the tour on the East Side at Patrice Rios’ Mueller Project. It was so perfect – and even more exciting to see our very own tile installed! Check out the article Dwell has published with pictures and details from the project!
Patrice has taken shipping containers and converted them into cozy and work friendly environments. Bright colors, beautiful tile, and honestly quite a bit of space for a container! Patrice has used our tile for a few containers, and every time she never ceases to amaze us with her beautiful design.
Next stop on the tour – Christine Turknett!
As soon as we walked up, I melted over the cement tile on the front porch – but yes, I’m a total sucker for a groovy tile especially at an entry. Her home was inviting with a pop of pattern in all the right places – not too much, but this home was far from boring! In addition, Canan and loved getting a chance to catch up and chat with Christine – such a gracious host!
Our next home was a house that I will always remember.
I have never seen a view from a home like this in Austin. Walking up to the Allison Burke designed home felt like I was in a treehouse. The huge oak tree in the middle of the deck with the home wrapping around it made the home feel like a treehouse. And me being a total girly girl, as soon as I walked in and saw the hot PINK kitchen, I about died. Ok, now back to the view – going up the stairs to the third floor, as soon as you reached the top, all of downtown Austin was in sight. The view was unreal – like an ideal place to enjoy a glass of wine after work.
Every single room has an attention-grabbing piece of art that perfectly fits the color scheme of each room.
We stopped by the home designed by N.Y. Harte Designs, and as soon as I walked in I was immediately drawn to all of the art. Not only was the art beautiful, the little girls’ bedroom was absolutely precious. The detail that was included in every room was perfectly executed.
Bunker Lee Residential was our next stop, and as I was walking up I was in saltillo heaven.
The front porch had a beautiful layout of saltillo tile surrounding a fireplace with the nicest seating area. I was surprised that this was the only home on the tour that we visited to have saltillo tile! The designers and architects planned the house, each nook, and cranny to perfection. The open concept and clean slate look were perfect for anyone to move into – single, couple or a family.
The home designed by Suzy Page was exactly what we imagined.
Working with Suzy on past projects, we knew she had wonderful taste. This home was bright, grand and welcoming. The bright green wall at the entrance with the staircase was eye-catching, but as soon as we walked into the great room and kitchen, the brick facade had a warm and inviting feel. I’m not one to typically chose favorites, BUT there was a bathroom that I fell in love with. A blue patterned wallpaper, matte black hexagon floor, navy cabinets and fun lights above the sink just sent happy vibes to me!
On Oakmont Blvd –Merrilee Mcgehee Design designed the most quaint and wonderful family home.
The size was PeRfEcT, the colors were sensory pleasing, the kitchen was inviting and every bedroom had such a nice feel. The childrens’ bedrooms were perfect for kids of any age. And although I am not sure the age of the kiddos, there was a note left it Clementines room on her whiteboard that read “Welcome to Clem’s room!” and it was the sweetest touch! The living room was a great mix of funky patterns with traditional features as well. I could easily see myself cozying up with a good book in this room!
Tilton Fenwick literally threw me into pattern perfection.
We were able to make it to one more home before I was absolutely pooped. I have never seen so much amazing wallpaper in my life. I was so pleasantly surprised with every room that I walked into! The girls’ rooms upstairs are what every child dreams of for a bedroom or playroom. And I absolutely melted over all of the natural light in the living room and kitchen. Also, Canan and I peaked out at the outdoor kitchen, and our eyes went straight to the Talavera tile around the grill. Bright colorful patchwork Talavera tile was the perfect way to wrap up the #TRIBEZAinteriorstour
This is for sure something that I will look forward to attending every year – I love everything about this tour!
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind it?
So, a little more background information first. I have worked for Clay Imports for about half a year. The goods are just an offshoot of our company as a whole—it is primarily our home goods that we are showcasing here! We import clay tile and goods from Mexico, Morocco, and Istanbul. So, Clay-ATX is a modernization of our parent business name, Clay Imports. Because we do just that. Import clay goods!
In all of these questions I’ll be answering on behalf of myself and Nick Barriero (co-owner of Clay Imports with his brother Zac).
Have you always been passionate about design?
Since joining the Clay Imports team, I feel like my affinity for design has grown exponentially! Nick and Zac’s love for craft and beauty is infectious. Nick has always been passionate about design and it is so evident in how he describes tile, clay, and the production processes.
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
My background is in coffee and coffee production, in some ways very disparate from clay tile, and in some ways remarkably similar. In both coffee and clay there is such a reverence for products of the earth; the producers that I work with on a daily basis aim to highlight and not mask the organic beauty of the natural elements used; bringing to light the unique history of every tile pattern, design, color and even type of clay used.
Nick has much deeper roots in clay craft. Shortly after graduating high school he visited his namesake’s city Barreiro, Portugal. When he arrived he found naturally occurring fields of clay developed by filtered waters of the Atlantic ocean washing through the coral reefs of southern Portugal; he was struck by the beauty and history he found there; thus began his love affair with clay.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
We do not aim to categorize our aesthetics in a conventional tile or building materials based on geographic region or eras of time, rather we very consciously strive to blend the lines of existing designs by meshing elements of history with contemporary colors and innovative techniques. I do love that we have such personal connections with the tile we use and relationships with our tile makers. It’s so important to me to be able to build community with our tile producers. In fact, at the end of April I will be in Guanajuato, Mexico spending time with two of these very producers learning as much as I can and further building our relationships!
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
I’m going to let Nick answer this since he’s been doing this way longer!
Nick: With regards to high-end imports, it’s very difficult to speculate what the market wants, what I once deemed as my greatest failure is now my greatest realization; only now though do I accept it as a a realization and not a failure. We think that because we like something everybody will like it. One time I was in Guanajuato and I saw some plates and thought they were amazing! I bought SO many of them, took them back to Austin and tried to sell them. I sold one. I realized that just because I like something does not mean everybody will like or buy it. Making stuff is cool, but you have to be careful where you invest your resources – whether it is in money or time.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
I gained 20 lbs because I work a lot and don’t have time to exercise…. But I think that’s it.
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
Our team here is SO creative. We’ve got such varied backgrounds and histories, it’s amazing to see all of the ideas our group has. We also work with a lot of brilliant designers and artists. My favorite thing is to see an idea—a pattern, color, or product come to fruition! Allowing the initial inspiration to be carried all the way to production. That’s just so awesome! And it’s so evident how much of a team effort everything is.
How does the city you live in influence your work?
Austin is a dynamic and engaging city! It’s so much fun to be a part of this landscape. We are continually inspired by the community here. Austin doesn’t fit into any mold—it’s a little funky, a little glamorous, a little unconventional, and very warm. We hope the same can be said about us!
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
Where I’m building this line now, I’m actually not my own boss, I just have a lot of creative freedom within Clay-ATX to take my ideas to new places! I have a Master’s in International Business with a concentration in Marketing. My studies have helped me to view all of my endeavors through the filter of sustainable business growth. With each new facet of our home goods line I try to consider both business and beauty, creating things I love, while still paying attention to marketability. It’s wonderful to be a part of such a supportive company that has really encouraged me to explore my creativity and follow my inspiration wherever it leads!
What are some inspirations for your work?
Inspiration comes from the communities and environments where our materials are largely produced: Mexico, Morocco and Turkey! We also greatly admire clay and cement tile giants around the world. We are inspired by the cities we’ve visited, and the people we’ve met. Clay Imports is devoted to celebrating innovation while honoring tradition; we have a heartfelt reverence for the unique art and history that each tile bears. Every hand-crafted tile we source represents part of a beautiful mosaic of people and places, society and community; all of which we want to remember and relay to our clients.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Ask questions and get feedback—take advice! But also, don’t be afraid to pursue what you believe in with conviction; you have to be your own biggest fan!
We have all heard the term Encaustic in relation to cement tile, but what does it actually mean? Below is a brief article our Tile Scout did with the Austin American Statesman on this very subject. Nick has travelled the world visiting cement tile factories and is very familiar with the production process. Follow This link to the actual article.
Big thanks to David Wilfong for the write up.
Tuesday, Jun 7, 2016 @ 3:29pm
By David Wilfong
Encaustic tiles are a very ornate and diverse covering that has been a favorite aesthetic element in architecture for centuries.
The origins of the style go back to southern France more than 210 years ago, and it’s a bit of a motif with a misnomer.
“These tiles are very commonly referred to as ‘cement encaustic tiles,’ but they are, by definition, absolutely not encaustic,” said Nick Barreiro of Clay Imports at 12024 N. Lamar Blvd. in Austin. “ ‘Encaustic’ is a wax-based application to metal plates to create a certain aesthetic on oil-based paintings. It’s like an inlay of wax on a painting.
“These are just cement, so a lot of people tend to think the colors are embedded into the surface through the surface, but they’re not. They’re all actually poured in place, so the more accurate description would be ‘cement-poured tiles.’ ”
The primary ingredients are Portland cement and sand, and natural pigments to color the cement. There’s no “firing” in the production process, as the tiles are layered and compressed at 18,000 psi, usually with a hydraulic press, then soaked in water for two days. As a result, these tiles have almost no “off-gassing” and are incredibly environmentally friendly.
Below is an excellent visual example of the pouring referenced above from our friends at Karo Istanbul.
Photo Credit: NEST
CLAY IMPORTS carries a lot of different handmade tiles from all over the world. So many, that sometimes small batch productions get lost. The tile press is a new avenue for us to highlight specialty, craft manufactures while showing off some of the coolest stuff we offer.