Creative solutions for modern problems
As Mark Twain famously said Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. Traveling is one of the best ways to ignite your creativity: as it exposes you to new textures, flavors, colors, customs, and traditions. It allows you to add fresh perspectives in your daily life.Ashley Campbell had the privilege to embark on a year-long journey around the world and had the opportunity to experience the benefits of travel firsthand. We talked about her experiences and she shared with us a creative way to find the best tile for your next project.
Ever since she was a kid, Ashley was always encouraged by her parents to use her creative side as much as possible: When I wanted smooth walls instead of textured, they bought me drywall mud and offered a few tips before setting me loose to learn. When I didn’t like the straight edge of a floral wallpaper border, they didn’t stop me from taking an X-acto knife to trim out flowers.
When she was in middle school she developed a passion for photography while working on her school yearbook. This passion led her to create SnapShop Online, an online crash course that teaches people of all ages how to take photographs and make the most of their devices.
It took Ashley almost 17 years of waiting and saving to accomplish one of the biggest decisions of her life: to travel the world. We love the adventure that comes with running into the unknown and walking in wonder at the world around us. There is a message that the world is unsafe and on fire; we knew that in most places, that narrative is resoundingly false [and] we wanted to share the beauty of the world and its people with our kids.
We love the adventure that comes with running into the unknown and walking in wonder at the world around us
World Class Tiles
Ashley visited countless countries that celebrated craftsmanship and art: In Guatemala and Colombia, fabric buntings are strung across walking streets, making a simple stroll feel like a party. In Malaysia, murals cover buildings, telling the stories of history and culture. She knew she wanted to have tiles that remind her of travels and brought color into her home once she came back. Enter Clay Imports.
I came across the “Lumbre” documentary by Clay Imports on Instagram and was captivated by a company that not only valued, but also highlighted the work of master craftsmen. Ashley was drawn to work with our products because we share and honor the craftsmanship of handmade tile production and the artisans, aiming to educate and inspire: Supporting and celebrating artisans and craftsmen is crucial in a world increasingly focused on efficiency and speed. And it was in Morocco where she found the beauty of handmade tiles.
Morocco, one of the favorite places Ashley visited, is a key country in tile fabrication. Clay Imports is the first company in the world to glaze Saltillo terracotta tiles and we introduced these glazing techniques to create the beautiful Glazed Terracotta we offer today. Ashley noticed this craft and wanted to replicate it by using one of our most beloved tiles: Pio Pio Grande Plateau.
How to find the best tiles for your backsplash
Once back home, Ashley felt the need to replicate what she saw and experienced in her year journey and what best place to start was the kitchen. The majority of all our meals took place around little tables outside. I gathered ideas and inspiration along the way, and hoped to create an outdoor gathering space at our home.
Ashley selected Pio Pio because its color and design reminded her of those outdoor meals. Pio Pio is part of the Patisserie collection, which also draws inspiration from the street cafés and cocktail lounges of Paris in the ’70s; the perfect tile for those who appreciate an international classic touch.
Once the tile was selected, Ashley faced another challenge: how to layout the tiles and visualize the space. Her clever solution? Printing her own tiles!
Ashley walked us through the step-by-step process of how she obtained her printed tiles: I took a screenshot from the Clay Imports website, cropped out any background, and used Photoshop to make it the correct size before printing. If you don’t have Photoshop, you could use a standard program like Microsoft Word or Pages, insert your photo, and use the Rulers option to size the photo of the tile to the actual tile size.
This, of course, is used to get a general idea of how the tile will work, especially if you're using a bold design and color or if you're on a budget. But having a tile sample is also important, as Ashley mentions: I [ordered] and received one sample tile, which confirmed what I knew from the printouts - I loved the tile! Since the tile is handmade, the size and color can differ slightly from tile to tile. Before installing, I laid out each section and rearranged the tile for the best fit and color flow.
As Ashley thoughtfully mentions, handmade tiles exhibit natural variations, which are inherent traits of natural materials like our handmade tiles These variations in color, texture and sheen are not defects but rather a natural part of the product. We encourage you to try the print out technique but we also highly recommend ordering samples before making a final purchase to confirm and appreciate these natural variations in each tile.
“I chose two walls that fit the tile in such a way that I only had to cut one tile, which made installation very fast and easy”
Ashley not only recommends using this print your own tile technique, but she also has ideas to keep using more tiles in the future: I’d use the Dulce Breeze Block but painted white as part of that space to create a more intimate setting in our very open 2-acre plot. For an indoor project, we have a landing that divides our staircase in half. I’d cover that square area in the Zellige Desert Pink tiles. I appreciate the inconsistencies of Zellige tile and how they highlight the handmade process.
Before we finish, we recommend taking a look at our Clay Care products. These maintenance items have been carefully tested with our products, and they are designed to preserve your tiles' beauty, ensuring their longevity and durability. From sealers to cleaners, purchasing these maintenance items together with your tiles not only simplifies your order but also prepares you to enjoy your tiles for a long time.
If you want more ideas for your next tile project, we invite you to read our articles regarding the tile trends of 2024 and how to use the Pantone color of the year in your next interior design. And we also like to thank Ashley for showing us the thought process behind this project. If you want to know more about her, take a look at her instagram feed and learn more about her world trip. And remember, if you have any questions or require more information, don't hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com