MAKERS | HOW IT'S MADE

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Getting products to you wouldn't happen without our makers, artisans, and producers. It couldn't be more important to share those processes with our customers.

MAKERS | HOW IT'S MADE

Getting products to you wouldn't happen without our makers, artisans, and producers. It couldn't be more important to share those processes with our customers.

 



NATURAL, ORGANIC AND TIMELESS.

Terracotta tile is at the heart of our business. Sustainably made and crafted by hand. Using 100% local Mexican clay and centuries old tile making techniques, we curated two all-natural products: Saltillo tiles and Cotto tiles. Both stunningly beautiful. Each tile has its own unique characteristics that make them one of a kind.

Saltillo Tile

Artisans take clay from the earth, add water, mold it to a desired shape, let it sun dry then fire it in the kiln.

Brick makers stack tile in cave kilns, slightly overlapping so that they don’t fall over. Prior to firing, they seal the opening of the kiln with clay to prevent heat from escaping. They then start a fire at the bottom of the cave. Continually adding fuel until the kiln reaches temperature. When the fire in the cave consumes all the oxygen, it seeks another source: the iron oxide in the clay tile. The flame burns the exposed surfaces of the tile. The light buff color on the tile is the area that was flashed by the flames. The lighter color on the tile is the area shielded from the flame by other overlapped tiles. This technique creates the beautiful Saltillo tile blend we admire.

Cotto Tile

Every piece of handmade Cotto tile is perfectly imperfect. Featuring variations in color tone and shade, Cotto tile adds character to any space. Each Cotto tile begins as all natural clay which is then extruded into big clay cylinders and later formed into clay blocks. The brick makers then take the block of clay and using a hydraulic press compact the clay onto a tile mold. Artisans then remove excess clay from the mold to reveal a clay tile. They carefully remove the clay tile and transport it onto a rack with other clay tiles ready for firing. The result is beautiful and durable Cotto tiles with varying earthy tones perfect for any project, indoor or outdoor.

 


PERFECTLY IMPERFECT AND DURABLE: A CLASSIC HANDMADE (SUBWAY) TILE

Glazed Terracotta is a classic, unique and durable tile. Handmade in Mexico from Saltillo clay, one of the most admired clays in the world. An incredibly beautiful addition to any residential or commercial project. Did you know that Clay Imports is the first company in the world to glaze Saltillo clay tile? For more than 300 years Mexican tile makers have been firing Saltillo clay. We were the first to ask how one would go about adding a glaze to Saltillo tile. We introduced glazing techniques similar to those from Morocco to Saltillo, Mexico to create the beautiful Glazed Terracotta we offer today.

Pairing the craft of Saltillo tile making with glazing techniques from Morocco, Glazed Terracotta, and especially Glazed Thin Brick has become a crowd favorite. Why? You can go modern farmhouse style or pair it with bold patterns. Glazed Thin Brick is suitable for wall and flooring applications, both commercial and residential. A diverse tile suitable for any project in your home!

 


HANDCRAFTED CLAY


TIMELESS TRADITIONAL FAVORITES

Handcrafted in Mexico, our Hand painted collection pays homage to the art of Mexican Talavera, Iberian cuerda seca techniques, and old world hand painted terracotta. Talavera, the gorgeous blue and white tiling that you are probably familiar with, has a deep history going back to Islamic rule in Portugal and Spain.

Through the Spanish conquest, Talavera was quickly adopted and now deeply ingrained in Mexican design and architecture. Blending characteristics of Islamic art, Spanish tradition, and resources native to central Mexico, Talavera tile is one of our most fascinating offerings. Bringing beautiful old world traditions into your home. Each piece is hand screened in Mexico’s tile making hub, Dolores Hidalgo. As a result, Talavera tiles feature natural variations and imperfections in each piece, adding to its remarkable uniqueness.

Textured/Relief Tile

Cuerda seca or “dry cord” is a technique used to create colored pattern tile dating back to the 14th century. The process involves thin borders of waxy substance used to separate glazes during the firing process. This enables artisans to create intricate and complex patterns with different colored glazes.

In Mexico today, our Relief tiles are made similarly. During the creation of relief tiles, the desired design is hand screened onto a pre-fired tile. Next, artisans use a wax resist product to create thin or thick lines to outline the area where each glaze will be applied. The wax allows the glaze colors to stay separated. The colored glaze is applied to the tile, often using fine-tipped bulb syringes. Finally, the tiles are fired again. Today, our Relief tiles are used for a variety of purposes including murals, kitchen backsplashes, and decorative pool and fountain tiles.

Textured “3D” tile is tile where the design protrudes from the surface. In order to create relief tile, craftsmen knead clay into the relief mold to remove void spaces and press in all the details. The back of the tile is smoothed before freeing the new tile from the mold. Finally, tiles are arranged to air dry before firing and glazing.

 



HANDCRAFTED FOR DAILY USE

Clay Imports is dedicated to exploring and sharing handcrafted goods between countries around the world. Poco Ceramics are forged by hand at Clay Import’s ceramic workshop in Mexico. This one-of-a-kind line of ceramics serves as a vessel for a variety of pieces. We are proud to share ceramic articles such as mugs, bowls, and jars that can elevate your living spaces.

Artisans form each piece individually through a slip-casting technique, then hand dipped and “speckled.” No two pieces are exactly alike, making them uniquely yours. The Poco Collection features tableware made of reclaimed clay and glazes, contributing to sustainability and reducing production waste. Whether you’re in the market for practical household items or imaginative, expressive pieces: Clay Imports offers ceramics for all.

 



SUSTAINABLE, UNIQUE AND QUALITY FURNITURE

Handcrafted equipales were first designed over 500 years ago by skilled Aztec artisans in central Mexico. Artisans used regional and organic materials to craft furniture that provided both comfort and aesthetic pleasure. They inspired a design concept that artisans have been passing down through generations, standing the test of time. Today, authentic equipale furniture is handmade in Zacoalco de Torres, Jalisco. A small town located south of Guadalajara.

During the 20th century, equipales gained popularity due to the rise of photography of beach resorts in Mexico. However, as demand and production increased, equipale quality began to suffer. Our New School Equipale collection restores a high quality standard in equipale furniture with a focus on sustainability. This collection features 100% natural and biodegradable products, such as locally sourced leather, Mexican rosewood, and waxed cotton twine.

Much like our traditional leather equipal pieces, the vegan equipal furniture line is handmade in Jalisco, Mexico, by artisan communities that have been crafting equipal furniture for generations. Our goal was to develop more sustainable and durable equipal furniture that maintained as many traditional qualities as possible. When designing this product we wanted to keep it low maintenance. Vegan equipal furniture is easy to care for and stain-resistant while staying true to the minimal design. Vegan Equipal features weather-resistant upholstery and durable deck sealant applied to the rosewood frame.