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american tile (was clay time)

updated fri 4 aug 00


Paul Lewing on thu 3 aug 00

priddy wrote:
> Paul Lewing wrote:
> But
> > the American tile industry doesn't care about that or about design. All
> > they care about is how cheap they can make it.
> could you elaborate on why you think this and what tile you are talking
> about?
> I don't want to argue with you without knowing what you mean. I was recently
> in a tile section of an outlet store, lowe's, and the tile was more than
> adequate.

What I mean by that is that, compared to the tile you got 15 years ago,
when I started using a lot of commercial tile to paint on, the tile you
get now has not been fired as high, the bodies are more punky, they're
softer and chip more easily, the glaze chips off the body more easily,
and the glazes do not stand up to refiring as well, meaning if you're
not real careful, the glaze that's already on them will change color or
texture. And "standard grade" to them means that up to 10% of the tiles
can have chipped corners (before they're glazed) or crawls or cracks,
adn that's OK with them. I can't send a mural out my doors with 10% of
the tiles screwed up, and I assume you wouldn't do that either.
Don't get me wrong- I'm not saying American brands of tile are not
adequate. They are just that-adequate. Some brands are better than
others, of course, but they're all adequate.
And when it comes to design, or what's known as deco tile, what I see
American tile companies offering is the safest, most conventional, most
boring designs. If you want to see anything interesting in tile design,
you have to look at the Italians, or the Spanish, or the Japanese, or
even the Brazilians.
Or even look at what your color choices are in field tile. You get
three shades of white in matte and three in gloss, several varieties of
beige/almond/bone, and a grey or two. If they're really daring, they'll
offer a pale blue or even (whoo-hoo!) a green. Oh, and a black.
But I'm really not complaining about their reluctance to offer good
design in tile. If they did, I'd be out of a job.
Paul Lewing, Seattle