Monday, April 1, 2013
Villa Raffinato Italian Glazed Wall Tile
Although it's been a while since I last wrote, this does not mean François and I are not creating at Pavé. In fact, this Winter we have been working overtime in developing new tile lines and improving on the ones we have already produced. This brings me to Villa Raffinato Italian Glazed Wall Tile Collection.
By the name, one would think this is a tile that we simply import from Italy. But that is only half true. We do import this tile from Italy - hand made and fired following centuries old techniques. It arrives as a bisque - where François and I marvel at what we can create with such a blank canvas. That is how we feel about each of our terra cotta tiles from various European countries. Whether it be from France, Italy, Spain and soon Portugal...each clay brings to us a flurry of ideas - and apprehensions. What works on one clay from one specific region in Europe will simply not work on another. The testing and developing of glazes to work with the various compositions of each clay is mind-boggling.
This comes to mind another thought. Home building, home decor, home renovation etc. is a highly competitive business. There are so many companies out there competing for the buyer who will purchase and install their product. It's at a point where the buyer at times begins to take for granted what is presented before them. They can quickly compare tiles, prices, ETA's...but Francois and I know that they are not comparing apples to apples. Comparing a mass produced relief tile with similar colors to say, one of our art tiles - hand made, unqiue and well-crafted can bring us to our knees. Unfortunately, there are those who do not care about the authenticity and talent behind the tile. There are those who cannot even understand the beauty of what they are looking at. The deluge of tile - that replicates itself - meaning copies of copies that companies yet copy - make the buyer believe this is all there is. This is what is suppose to be in their homes. And when they see something different - to some - different is not mainstream - and have no courage to put something not mainstream in their kitchens. How many Blanco Carrara marble kitchens have been installed in America in the last 5 years? Gray and white - clean and safe. Or the over patterned, over zealous, too saturated in color tiles that make American kitchens appear gaudy? To say the least... it's a study in extremes when I peruse Houzz.
This brings me back to Pavé. Pavé is different, but we would never bring something to market that I did not believe is European elegance. We are inspired by European Art History combined with an American aesthetic. Our tiles bring subtly, color and uniqueness that yes, Mr. and Mrs. Smith probably won't have down the street. OK - as an artist and manufacturer of fine art tile - I have said my peace. For now :)
Our improved upon Villa Raffinato Collection is something François and I are going to install in our kitchen. If you have not guessed, I am a bit critical and picky about art tile - and I seek a tile that must adhere to a few points. First, will I get bored of it? Second, is it over-the-top gaudy? Third, does the tile have a nice edge, tight grout lines but still look vintage? A pet peeve of ours is large grout lines with terra cotta tiles. If the tile is well-made - meaning well-made...you will not have to open the joint to have a plum surface. And we do not like rounded corners, period. Our Villa Raffinato Collection is the terra cotta tile that wins my heart (for now..for we do have coming On the Road to Florence!). It's a gloriously, well-crafted hand made terra cotta tile - that can be seen with the tight grout lines. The glaze - gazing upon the glaze - is like my eyes bathing in color - yet the color is interesting - with specks or crazing or crackling or various values or flashing - it's holding my attention for it's complicated yet simple beauty.
After my Tuscan inspiration, I became hyper-focused on Florence. Within the coming months, On the Road to Florence will be our next collection that speaks of the Florentine aesthetic and tones - with elegant patterns yet still not without a vintage feel. Old world European elegance will forever remain in my heart.
Pavé Tile & Stone, Inc.
Posted by Pavé Tile, Wood & Stone, Inc, European Flooring at 8:46 AM