More than encaustic tiles - YES, They do make things like they used to.
Today we can find all kinds of tiles, mostly in large areas dedicated to the mass production of fashionable patterns and styles within its wide collection of construction materials.
But, where really are those unique works of art that in our childhood went unnoticed as common interior design? What is so special about them?
Although large stores offer the latest trends, these are now the ones that go unnoticed despite the fast fashions they offer.
It's well known that price goes hand in hand with the quality of a product and, like fast fashion garments that last one season, this type of printed tiles have a very attractive price that involves the print being erased quite quickly, leaving a white slab.
So, Where are the old tiles manufacturers? Do they still exist?
In this article we review some of the world-renowned artisans who continue with the same techniques of yesteryear and are still working and available in Spain.
There are a handful of companies in Granada that are dedicated to painting tiles and their manual manufacture.
Granada tiles are lighter than it may seem at first glance due to their clay composition. Typically decorated with hand-painted Andalusian motifs, they have now also adopted more modern patterns. Some companies confuse these with encaustic tiles, but they are two completely different materials!
Famous throughout the world and the mother of Mexican tiles, Talavera de la Reina tiles are the best known in Spain.
We can find these tiles in patios, bathrooms and kitchens of old houses throughout the peninsula and also in the murals of the famous Spanish taverns, especially in Madrid.
Talavera tiles share quality with Toledo tiles, although the former are better known and date back to the 12th century of Arab introduction, whose style spread throughout the world thanks to a new technique that made possible the famous white color of the tiles.
Manual bricks, rustic bricks or Castilian bricks are used throughout Spain and can be easily distinguished by their color and shape.
This brick is still manufactured manually and has been used to build castles, churches and villas.
Like any good traditional product, imitation bricks can be found in large shops at competitive prices.
Imitation bricks do not have the consistency for construction and are more used in decoration.
This cement material with pigmented marble on the surface is a tile that is very fashionable lately. You will have already seen in all types of homes and businesses with encaustic tile floors.
Mainly used in the Mediterranean and in European colonies, this tile is an option that guarantees durability thanks to the possibility of polishing the surface after a few decades and completely renewing the pattern.
The authentic ones are of Arab elaboration.
They are found in palaces, houses, old kitchens and bathrooms, and are also suitable for exteriors depending on their color.
The zellige of Arabic origin is also still available in Spain, as is its brother, the Bejmat.
Both use the same elaboration technique; Manual clay tiles with or without colored glaze, and they differ in their thickness.
The Zellige of fine thickness used for decoration of furniture and murals of between 1 cm to 1.2 cm while the Bejmat (similar to the manual brick with a smaller size), is used for floors and has a thickness of 2 cm to 3 cm. cm although both types are suitable for the same uses.
What guarantees do these products give us?
Well, the guarantee we see over the years. The manufacture of these tiles has hardly changed, the material is from the same area and the elaboration remains the same (removing the fact that pigments without mercury and lead are currently used), therefore, it is in full view in old palaces, houses and churches the long duration and the guarantee of buying an original product.