Marcia Selsor on thu 30 dec 04
I remember hearing Starbuck and Goldman give a talk at NCECA decades
ago. They were charging $50 to $500 sq.ft installed way back when. And
their work was great!
On Dec 30, 2004, at 7:37 PM, Paul Lewing wrote:
>> Brenda Funk wrote:
>> On a slightly different thread, I have been asked to do tiles for a
>> backsplash, by a lady for whom I just did a dinnerware set. I made
>> plates - rectangular, about 5 x 12 inches, and priced them at
>> 20/each. She
>> wants similar tiles, about 4 X 8, without a lip, of course. I can't
>> her to pay 20 per tile.
> Oh, yes, you can! My tile prices are, as far as I can see, about
> and maybe a little low. I charge $88 per square foot, and I never
> make my
> own tile. I almost always use commercial tile, either unglazed bisque
> I'm doing cone 4 glazes, or commercial glazed tile if I'm doing china
> I charge $88 per, even if they buy the tile and bring it over! That's
> each for 6x6. I'd charge much more if I was making the tile. Many
> makers charge $100 per square foot or more. Come on, Brenda, this is
> made stuff!
> You probably will want to charge differently for the plain ones as
> to the very decorated ones, but $20 for a 4x8 deco tile would be
> cheap, even
> in an off-the-shelf pattern. Go look at upscale tile showrooms.
> And if you make tiles to fit with commercial field tile, be aware that
> standard size is 4 1/4", not 4".
> Don't sell yourself short. The $20 for the sushi plates was cheap,
Susan Fox-Hirschmann on thu 30 dec 04
In a message dated 12/30/2004 11:02:12 PM Eastern Standard Time,
Don't sell yourself short. The $20 for the sushi plates was cheap, too.
Paul Lewing, Seattle
I agree.....I think some need to re-think the whole pricing thing and get it
out of the bargain basement.
If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times:" Come on now...what
really IS YOUR TIME WORTH!?" But then I am the one that posted the response
that I charge $325 a square foot for custom tile work, not installed.....as I
know the time that goes into making custom tiles. But then so do many of you.
The more we price ourselves where it SHOULD be priced, the more we will
elevate the craft of clay creations into that of creating :"art forms" I think
this is good for the whole aspect of producing pottery. Heck what does your
plumber charge you, or your electrician.....and for how much time? It is a
matter also of expectations as well
We expect those rates of electrcians, & plumbers &,...oh what the
Why not value our expertise as highly?
Elizabeth Priddy on thu 30 dec 04
$24 for the relief tiles
$12 for the swirl
$10 for the plain
$6 for bisque bought field tile glazed with your glaze.
But the temps have to match to use this option. Also may not fit, might not match color, etc.
4x8's will be the testy problem but can be redesigned to be two 4x4's. with just a few custom.
this is normal for handmaide tile. Most people use standard field tile and only pay the
hand made price for the relief tile. It actually makes yours pop to use a complementary
standard manufactured field tile. just make yours match in size, of course. Making all
of 80 tiles match is going to be a real bear. If you do it, you will understand the cost by the
time you are done with all the seconds due to warpage, color matching, breakage, etc.
Most folk that make tile, only make tile, with special equipment and set ups for all the
details. I love to make tile, but limit it to relief tile, because I don't want to deal with
dedicating space to make the rest of it work well and predictably.
When I say that most folk who make tile, only make tile, that is due to the specialization of
the set-up and process, not to their skill. I consider tile makers certainly as skilled as the
best turners I have seen. Just apples and oranges.
And by the way, people who have looked into remodeling their kitchens with custom
tile work expect to pay through the teeth for it. If this customer tries to lowball you into
doing it on your dime, essentially, have some commercial quotes per square foot in writing
for her to compare. Any contractor or cabinet shop can provide these.
Brenda Funk wrote:
On a slightly different thread, I have been asked to do tiles for a kitchen
backsplash, by a lady for whom I just did a dinnerware set. I made sushi
plates - rectangular, about 5 x 12 inches, and priced them at 20/each. She
wants similar tiles, about 4 X 8, without a lip, of course. I can't expect
her to pay 20 per tile. I know all about figuring my actual costs, including
R&D and overhead, but what does the public EXPECT something like this to
cost? There are to be 80 tiles, some plain glazed, some with abstract
swirls, and about ten with a more complicated relief pattern. Any ball-park
numbers you could throw my way would be appreciated.
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Paul Lewing on thu 30 dec 04
on 12/30/04 9:17 AM, Elizabeth Priddy at priddyclay@YAHOO.COM wrote:
> Brenda Funk wrote:
> On a slightly different thread, I have been asked to do tiles for a kitchen
> backsplash, by a lady for whom I just did a dinnerware set. I made sushi
> plates - rectangular, about 5 x 12 inches, and priced them at 20/each. She
> wants similar tiles, about 4 X 8, without a lip, of course. I can't expect
> her to pay 20 per tile.
Oh, yes, you can! My tile prices are, as far as I can see, about average,
and maybe a little low. I charge $88 per square foot, and I never make my
own tile. I almost always use commercial tile, either unglazed bisque if
I'm doing cone 4 glazes, or commercial glazed tile if I'm doing china paint.
I charge $88 per, even if they buy the tile and bring it over! That's $22
each for 6x6. I'd charge much more if I was making the tile. Many tile
makers charge $100 per square foot or more. Come on, Brenda, this is custom
You probably will want to charge differently for the plain ones as opposed
to the very decorated ones, but $20 for a 4x8 deco tile would be cheap, even
in an off-the-shelf pattern. Go look at upscale tile showrooms.
And if you make tiles to fit with commercial field tile, be aware that the
standard size is 4 1/4", not 4".
Don't sell yourself short. The $20 for the sushi plates was cheap, too.
Paul Lewing, Seattle
Paulette Carr on sat 1 jan 05
Yes, indeed, Motawi tiles are gorgeous! BUT these are their stock=20
tiles, not custom. There is a difference between handmade stock and=20
handmade custom ... we could all buy a Chanel suit (maybe not), but=20
most would be off-the rack, and a very few would be haute couture,=20
one-of-a-kind. Guess which would cost more?
When I do custom work (and this is my bread and butter), my=20
design/shape/size/tile thickness/colorway is for that customer only. I=20=
will keep any molds made for that project for a period of time=20
(specified in the contract - usually 1-2 years), and afterward destroy=20=
them. Why? The customer paid for the each mold as they would have=20
paid a set-up fee for any unique run (like millwork). This keeps me=20
Susan was right on the money. So pricing ... it depends upon the=20
technique -- bas relief, cuerda, cuenca, monochrome glazing, polychrome=20=
glazing and if the whether the work in unique art tile, or a production=20=
run of 50 like tiles. I also factor in the design time, and if it=20
seems to be a very large part of the project, then I draw a separate=20
design agreement (The contract must be signed and the fee paid before I=20=
sharpen my pencil.), just as a kitchen designer, interior designer or=20
contractor does for me. That way, if the project goes no farther than=20=
the design phase, we can back out gracefully. Even after that period,=20=
all designs remain my property, and this is stated in the all=20
contracts. This design contract really hones in on the scope of the=20
work for the customer and me. At this point I can provide a good=20
ballpark number for cost. I will give a range before, but I make it=20
very clear that this is just a rough estimate. If you ask a kitchen=20
designer what it will cost to redo your kitchen, IF they would even=20
answer directly, you would get a similarly crude estimate. When the=20=
customer is ready, I will draw up a production contract where all mold=20=
fees and roughly 1/2 of the cost of the tiles are paid in advance,=20
before I even open a bag of clay. The balance, packing and shipping=20
are due before delivery. All approval, design changes, extra time,=20
artistic license, periodic viewing, any replacement, and legal avenues=20=
are all spelled out clearly in the contract prior to starting. To=20
date, this has eliminated all who are really not interested in paying=20
for custom work, and the clients who do sign on have very realistic=20
So again ... pricing=85
When my husband describes my work he will tell people to go to Home=20
Depot and look at those tiles and their prices =85 =93 no she doesn=92t =
those =85 go to Expo and look at the handmade tile (not many) =85 no she=20=
doesn=92t make those =85 go to the most exclusive tile company in town, =
look at their best handmade tiles (pre-designed, and made only on=20
demand - very pricey) --- well, not exactly. Go to the art galleries=20
and look at the wall hangings --- not those either, BUT somewhere=20
between the galleries and the Toney tile store, and you can get an idea=20=
of the costs that way. He is right.
In general, I price by the sq. inch, and I have a table that includes=20
style (bas relief, cuerda seca, cuenca), relative difficulty of design=20=
execution in a given space (much harder to glaze a 3X3 cuenca tile with=20=
seven glazes and a very elaborate design than the same design and=20
colors in 6x6), type and number of firings required, design time if not=20=
separate, model/mold costs, number of glazes, one-of-a-kind piece or=20
production run of multiple pieces, and how the tiles will be=20
mounted/installed, and whether this requires me to come up with an=20
aesthetic way to mount the tiles, etc. As an example, a custom=20
designed Cuenca tile, with design that was not too intricate (and=20
didn't take the customer long to select), glazed, in 4-5 colors, which=20=
would be installed normally would start at $2.25/sq. inch ($324/sq.=20
ft.) + the model/mold fees ($100-$200). If the tiles are an unusual=20
shape, then I draw a rectangle around the shape and count the sq.=20
inches that way. If the tiles are less than 4X4, then I may add an=20
additional amount ($1-$10) to each tile to account for the glazing=20
difficulty for polychrome work.
To continue this analysis, suppose that the customer only wants 5 =96 =
tiles to place in a field of less expensive tiles, or stone on their=20
fireplace. I will take the job!!! Using the above criteria, each tile=20=
will cost $81, and lets say that the models and molds (at least 2 for=20
cuenca-style) will cost $200. Without shipping/packing costs, the=20
total would come to $605. Yes, they could buy 5 lovely tiles from=20
Motawi for less, and be thrilled, but perhaps the size/design is not=20
what they want. The work for tile making is considerable, and I do not=20=
make out like a bandit. My guess is that I don=92t even make $20/hour,=20=
but I am growing my business. I am not a factory, but a lone=20
artist/artisan, and considering that I just paid my electrician over=20
$700 for a little over two hours work, I do believe that this is not=20
unreasonable. I try to look at what prices are being charged in the=20
building trade, because this is where I am selling. As with all=20
building materials and arts, there are various grades and niches. You=20=
decide where you want to be. The contract method has worked very well=20=
for me, and after I finished my last project for an interior designer,=20=
and handed him the artfully wrapped tiles, he said, =93You are=20
professional in every way.=94 Made my year!
You have lots to think about! Best of luck and Happy New Year to all!!!
Paulette Carr Studio
St. Louis, MO
Kathi LeSueur on sat 1 jan 05
> Yes, indeed, Motawi tiles are gorgeous! BUT these are their stock
> tiles, not custom. There is a difference between handmade stock and
> handmade custom ... we could all buy a Chanel suit (maybe not), but
> most would be off-the rack, and a very few would be haute couture,
> one-of-a-kind. Guess which would cost more?.....
I know both Karim and Nawal Motawi very well. I visit their studio on a
regular basis. You would be amazed at the number of custom tiles they do
for people. I would guess a measurable percentage of their output is
custom. Two years ago I took some friends from Texas to visit the
studio. They ended up buying a large mural made up of about 50 eight
inch tiles. Every tile in the mural was custom made. No multiples of
What makes their tiles so great is the glazing. And, what makes their
glazes so great is that they are constantly testing for new colors. They
try combinations of chemicals that I wouldn't have dreamed of putting
together. Some of the results are terrible but others are just
beautiful. They also don't limit themselves in the firing range. They
don't say, "we fire cone 6." The say, "this needs to be hotter, try cone
7, or 8, or whatever it takes to get the right look".
They aimed high and put in the work and creativity to get there. I wish
I could make myself be that diligent.
(also not a relative)
Susan Fox-Hirschmann on sat 1 jan 05
In a message dated 1/1/2005 11:41:22 AM Eastern Standard Time,=20
. The contract method has worked very well=20
for me, and after I finished my last project for an interior designer,=20
and handed him the artfully wrapped tiles, he said, =E2=80=9CYou are=20
professional in every way.=E2=80=9D Made my year!
I totally agree with Paulette and her detailed analysis, of tile making or=20
any custom work for that matter. "Professional" in every way would be what=20=
are doing here: business wise, artistically, customer-wise, and price wise.=
and you are totally right when you say, after keeping records, that our hour=
is still not where it probably "should " be but that we are getting "a fair=20
price" for the work. We are intelligent enough, by means of the contract, t=
cover all the possiblities and probablilities. To hear a comment like the=20
above, which I too have heard recently, also makes it all worthwhile. And in=
making one customer happy, well they will tell all their friends about you,=20=
your work, and about that very professionalism in dealing with you: that is=
howwe can GROW a business, I think, and in cyclical way
it will produce a totally positive experience that very well may bring us=20
more business giving us even greater energy to be better potters-artists-bus=
Once again, I say, Yeah for custom work!
Sarah House on sun 2 jan 05
$24 for the relief tiles
$12 for the swirl
$10 for the plain
as a price for a large tile job.
That seems really low to me. Are they going to be hand rolled and cut
out? edges cleaned, kept flat to dry, fired twice... we know there are a
lot of steps.
The tile makers I know would be charging $48 for a 6X6 relief tile, and
probably $24 for the swirl. As for the plain, if they were a standard
size I might try really hard to find a commercial tile that complemented.
In Little Switzerland, NC
soon to be
In Burnsville, NC
Dorie Mickelson on sun 2 jan 05
Yes, I should have mentioned that these prices were for Motawi's stock
tiles and not their custom designed tiles, which of course cost more
(and are even more exquisite!). Just thought it would be a helpful
reference point since in Brenda's original post she was talking about a
price for her custom 4x8 tiles that was less than half of Motawi's price
for their stock 4x8 tiles, and even at that, she was fearing that her
prices were too high. Motawi Tileworks is the top of the line for tiles
(in my humble opinion) for both stock and custom tile work, with
wonderfully gorgeous designs, glazes, quality, technical craftsmanship,
etc. I always find it helpful when considering pricing to look at a
variety of factors, including market value (perceived or otherwise), my
actual time/effort/costs, comparative product quality/pricing
benchmarking, etc. I think a lot of potters (and perhaps a lot of
artists in general) unfortunately undersell their work and themselves
considering the time and energy that actually goes into their work...but
then, I suppose the art of pricing can be complicated and confusing
business, particularly early on in one's pottery career...
Dorie Mickelson in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where it is gray and drizzly out
today and my tumblers are awaiting their slip trailing/feathering
From: Paulette Carr
Subject: Re: Tile Pricing; Yes, indeed, Motawi tiles are
gorgeous! BUT these are their stock tiles, not custom. There is a
difference between handmade stock and handmade custom>