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Ceramic Tile Murals. Brief History of Tile-Making. Tile-work can be seen everywhere, including hospital surgery rooms, subway stations, kitchens and building facades. Tiles and tile-work have a long and rich decorative history that spans all areas of the globe.

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Brief History of Tile-Making

  • Tile-work can be seen everywhere, including hospital surgery rooms, subway stations, kitchens and building facades.

  • Tiles and tile-work have a long and rich decorative history that spans all areas of the globe.

  • Early decorative works date back as far as 4000 years.

Florida Kitchen Design Inc.

New York Subway Hallway

Building Facade Manhattan NY.

Abby Church, Meraux England 1249

  • Tile-making was influenced by movement along major land and sea trade routes, which encouraged the exchange of ideas and materials.

  • Wars, political unrest, and religion all played their part in the blending of technologies, aesthetics, and cultural influences in ceramic tile-making.

Palace of Persepolis 518 B.C.

Azulejo Mexico 17th A.D.

Queen Philippa’s Apartment Wiltshire England 1237

Ishtar Gate Babylon 575 B.C.

  • Chinese Porcelains were introduced into Persia and the West with far-reaching effects. Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-906)

  • In order to imitate Chinese Porcelains, the Persians first developed a white tin- based glaze to mask the red clay, and then used a technique of applying oxides to produce brightly colored intricate designs.

  • This decorating technique spread throughout Europe, Africa and later into the Americas. This process is now called Majolica, Faïence or Delftware depending on the region where it is made.

Yuan Dynasty 14 A.D.

France, 1542

Persian Tile, 1266-67

Minai Type Bowl 1187 A.D.

Damascus 1550-97

Spain, 1929

France, 1542

Italy, early Renaissance

Naples, 1742

  • During the industrial revolution tile production and decoration reflected the technological and socio-economic changes in Europe

  • The rising increase of the middle classes fueled the decorative advances in ceramic tile.

Finland 1825

Gothic Revival Tiles

Gijsbert De Graaaf 1765

William De Morgan 1888

William Morris 1876

  • Émigrés from Europe brought commercial tile production to the U. S.

William De Morgan 1888

Clay Craft Potteries 1921

Painted By Margret Thompson 1922

Modern Tile Movement part in shaping modern American design.

Hand made and fine art tile is still produced today for Utilitarian and decorative use.

Motawi Tileworks

Motawi Tileworks

Pewabic Pottery

Pewabic Pottery

Motawi Tileworks

Artists Works part in shaping modern American design.

Ascalon Studios NY,NY

  • Many contemporary artists perpetuate the history of tile by creating murals with this malleable, permanent medium.

San Francisco Airport Mural

Blue Sky Center C.O.

Diana Faris part in shaping modern American design.

Diana Faris

Ann Agee, John Michael Kohler Arts Center

Richard Watts

Jean Rothschild

School Projects part in shaping modern American design.

  • Many school art programs undertake the lesson of creating tile murals for the school building or other public spaces. Like no other project the public mural helps students learn about collaboration and teamwork and is a unique all-school experience where students, parents, faculty and administrators come together to complete the project.

Beth Hoke Vermillion High School

Lausanne Switzerland

Vermillion High School

Scott Ansett Tacoma High School

Roseway Waldorf School, Zwalulu Natal South Africa

Canterbury School part in shaping modern American design.

Allisonville Elementary School

Kids in Clay Venice C.A.

Underglaze part in shaping modern American design.

Pencils, Chalks, Pan Sets and Liquid form

Use with a high or low fire glaze on top underglazes are true to raw form and intermixable just like traditional media. Expand the range of 2-D design work on ceramics with chalks, pencils, watercolor pan sets and liquid form.

Richard Zakin: Underglazes and Chalks

Chris Dance: Pencils and Velvets

S. Pelletier: Pencils

Noelle Hoover: Pencils and Pan Sets

Unknown: Chalks and Pencils

Ron Korczynski: GDCs over white glaze part in shaping modern American design.

Carolina Pedraza: GDCs over AMACO LG-11 White glaze

Carol and Richard Selfridge: GDCs over white glaze

Linda Arbuckle: GDCs over white glaze

David Stabley: GDCs over AMACO White Arroya over DG-1 Black Lacquer glaze

Diana Faris: GDCs over AMACO HF-11 High Fire White glaze

Noelle Hoover: GDCs over pre-glazed commercial blue tile

Walter Ostram: GDCs over AMACO LM-1 Black Matt glaze

Tile project
Tile Project Lacquer glaze

  • You will create a 5.5 x 5.5” tile about a theme of your choice.

  • You must have additive and subtractive qualities

GDC and Majolica Processes Lacquer glaze

Developed to facilitate the process of Majolica decoration, this easy to use and highly versatile medium is wonderfully suited to creating tile murals. AMACO GDC series can be used as an underglaze, a glaze alone, for Majolica overglaze decoration and even over commercialpreglazed tiles. ...

Colors can be intermixed like paint and can be applied opaque or thinned with water to achieve watercolor affects

References and Resources Lacquer glaze

“1000 Tiles, Ten Centuries of Decorative Ceramics”

General editor: Gordon Lang, Contributors: Paul Atterbury, Catherine Blake, Chris Blanchett, Douglas Girton, Riccardo Sorani.

“Tile”, by Jill Herbers with Photographs by Roy Write


Pewabic Pottery, Detoit, MI – www.pewabic.com

Motawi Tileworks, Ann Arbor, MI - www.motawi.com

Moravian Tileworks, Doylestown, PA - www.mptw.go.to

Tile Heritage Foundation - www.tileheritage.org

For information on products and technical support go to: www.amaco.com