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What Is Crazing?

Learn a little something new about our ceramic tiles and how they are made.

ceramic corgi tile

If you're like many of our valued customers, your eye is drawn to the brilliant colors and creative designs featured in our huge selection of handpainted ceramic tiles. Designed by artists and executed by skilled craftspeople, our tiles have few equals in terms of beauty and quality. We are frequently asked about the subject of crazing (the appearance of tiny lines in the glaze of a given tile) and thought it would be helpful to you if we explain how our tiles are made.

Three Steps To Your Gorgeous Finished Tile

Step 1 - Once an artist's design has been conceived of, raw clay is shaped and the design (like our charming Corgi dog featured at right) is hand drafted on the clay. Raised tube lining is a applied to create a solid design outline and color barriers. The tile receives its first kiln firing.

Step 2 - Next, the artists hand paint the tile and it receives a second firing. In the heat of the kiln, small bubbles often occur in the paint.

Step 3 - The final step involves glazing the tile and this is what transforms the somewhat dull-looking paint into its vibrant colors. The tile is soaked in a bath of glaze and then given its third firing. The art of combining three such different materials - paint, glaze and clay - in the extreme heat of the kiln is what often results in slight shrinkage of one or more elements. This movement is what can cause fine lines to appear in the surface of the tile: the phenomenon known as crazing. Crazing may appear at the time of the third firing or may appear months or years later. This movement in the organic elements of which tiles are composed is one of the commonest features of ceramic work and in decorative pieces like our ceramic tiles, it can add visual texture and a vintage appearance to these art objects.

Crazing is only considered problematic in cooking and serving pieces - not in decorative items. In short, it's just a part of the world of ceramics and should never detract from your pleasure in the design of a handmade tile. As with occasional crazing, you will find that the handpainted nature of our tiles leads to interesting nuances in color, as well. Human hands, not factory robots, skillfully apply the lovely, rich colors to our tiles, making each one just a little bit different and special!

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