Find Beautiful Keepsakes in Ceramic Home Décor

The multipurpose utility of ceramics offers a wide spectrum of creative expression, from tiling to novelty items. For those who do not have a clear idea about this age-old medium, simply know that it derives from high-temperature processing of a non-metallic mineral such as sand or clay. In the hands of an experienced artist, the glazed material is a wonderful medium to fashion flower vases, fancy tea mugs, or dishes. It is a very ancient tradition, hundreds and thousands of years old. Porcelain remnants are common in excavation sites of old Europe, Greater Asia, (especially China) and the Middle East.

Wonderful gifts

So, you see, although it may come fresh out of the artist’s studio, yet it still carries a very old heritage of creativity. This vintage value of ceramic products indeed makes them highly adorable as collectibles. They are fantastic options for meeting your interior décor requirements. You can also buy them as gifts for your loved ones. These exclusive gift items really have a special way of expressing care and affection. With their smooth rounded edges and crafted textures, they are pleasant to hold in the palms and looked with admiration. Look up the available keepsakes from someone who makes them with delicate love and attention.

Ceramic flower vases are quite common to buy from shops. However, how about a vase that you can customize just as you want it to be? Imagine gifting one to your girlfriend with her name beautifully designed on the vase! That should really tell something about the heartfelt feelings you want to express. As for gifts for couples, the speckled ceramic mugs certainly offer the perfect reasons why you should enjoy the next helping of coffee together. See the stars of love twinkle in your eyes just like those speckles on the warm mug of coffee that you hold. Also, order a set of the speckled dish to use with the mugs. Together, it should make a fine-looking set.

Every home should have its touch of inner greenery. Get a beautiful ceramic planter to place your houseplant in the balcony. It is easy to maintain and the clay soil does not stick to it anymore. Made from clay, but now fortified with brilliant glaze in going through the extreme heat of the kiln, this is a story of magical transformation. Look up cute dollies to gift to the kids. Ceramic dolls are so sweet that they can brighten up anyone brilliantly! However, as ceramic needs to be handled with care, they may not be safe to play around. Keep them in a safe place from where they do not fall and break.

Ceramic tiles décor

Apart from these wonderful novelty gifts, commissioning custom ceramic tiles for your home décor is an excellent idea. You can either consider covering up significant floor space with ceramic tiles or look for more specific artistic works to cover a wall mural with ceramic tiles. These are easy to maintain and only require mopping with a regular detergent solution to display its shine. Remember to wipe the tiles with a piece of dry cloth though. Otherwise, the dried marks of water tend to set upon it, giving it a hazy look.

These units are relatively cheaper than stone tiles and are easier to install as well. An active homemaker can install ceramic tiles as a Sunday DIY project, with some basic experience with masonry and following simple instructions. Alternately, you can also call the professional service from where you obtained the tiles to do the flooring. This could be the right idea especially when the tiles need cutting near the wall.

The grout in between the tiles needs special attention, both during installation and during wiping. When you install, use a specific grout sponge to wipe off the excess residue over the tiles. Wait for a few moments after it dries and then use a dry wiper to remove the white stains. Similarly, for daily maintenance as well, in the end always use a clean and dry wipe to keep the tiles sparkling clean.

Find the studio

Ceramic products can become more cost effective if you can skip the middleman and contact directly with the production studio. Get in touch with the artist. Talk about your requirements. Try to be specific. Explain the color and texture you want to see with color samples. Look around the shop to find gift items for your friends and relatives. Discuss your budget. Given the versatility of ceramics, it is convenient to offer uniquely customized items over a wide range.

An experienced professional can provide the guarantee that the tiles would not be brittle or fading its colors all too soon. Of course, the quality varies depending on the manufacturing techniques applied to derive a particular outcome. It depends on your requirements, just as you want to see the ceramic floor. Once you are clear about the estimates of time, budget and creative expectations, commission your order right away!    

Here are a few Simple Maintenance Tips for Ceramic Tiles

The versatility of ceramics renders it suitable for both commercial and novelty utility. Apart from being a medium for artistic novelty items, it is an age-old medium for architectural brilliance. The artistry seen on ancient architectural heritage such as the Dome of The Rock, Jerusalem is breathtakingly brilliant! Very old porcelain vases and vessels from the Orient still continue to amaze onlookers at the purity of its artistry. These thousand-year-old artifacts indeed deliver a solid testimony on the sturdiness of this glazed material.

Time tested

They survived rain and hailstorms, fire and mud, and even today, shine just like the day the artists made them. The fact that it is a commonplace thing which you can avail anytime from a professional ceramic worker is rather encouraging. Besides its utility as a medium of creating keepsakes, commercial uses include installation of ceramic tiles on the floor and walls. It is both cost-effective and aesthetic. What’s more, they are easily replaceable and do not take much effort to maintain as well.

Spick and span

Homeowners can also combine artistry with practicality by looking for custom design tiling in ceramics. These should make a beautiful wall mural in the washroom or the bedroom. Speckled designs look excellently quaint, imparting a simple earthy feeling to the cool floors. You do not need various special chemicals to wash these. They are washable by commonplace tile cleaners, and even by household items such as the slightly acidic lemon juice and vinegar solution.

Check out these expert tips to keep your ceramic tiles spick and span all the year around. Try to wipe them daily with a mop and a dry cloth; if not, then, at least try every two days. In any case, try this cleaning routine at least once a week!

First, sweep the surface well. This removes the grime tending to settle down especially on the glazed surface. The feet constantly carry this thin dirty layer soaked with the sweat from under the toes. If the tiles start to look dull, it is because of the settling of this oily on it. Better than sweeping, consider using a vacuum cleaner for a thorough cleanup. Dust does not settle on it unless it is wet. Next thing to do is to get a good floor mop. Do not use the sponge type as it tends to push the dirty water in the intermediate grout lines, causing the grime to settle in there. Instead, utilize the rag or chamois type mopping for the job.

Attend to all the corners, especially at the places where the floor touches the wall. Keep changing the dirty water as soon as it starts to get cloudy. Otherwise, it is all in vain, dirtying your own work.

In case, you have a particularly stubborn stain, try to find out what caused it so that you can use a specific stain remover. If you got blood stains upon the tiles in your kitchen floor, use a solution of detergent. Get some chlorine bleach to restore the original cleanliness. Use baking soda and vinegar to remove rust stains. Do remember to wash the place thoroughly with clean water in the end to remove any odorous vinegar residues. Keep a stiff bristled brush handy to gently scrape out the dirt stuck in the grouts. Whether you use vinegar or not, wash the tiles with fresh water and wipe it gently with a piece of clean dry cloth so as not to cause watermarks on the floor anyway!   

Installing at home

Finding a local service to inquire about setting up custom-designed ceramic tiles in your home is definitely a positive idea. Look up these reasons why it is so.

  • You can manage the cost according to your budget. Discuss your requirements with the professional service. The price can be very basic to a comparatively upper range depending on your design sense. Also, the scope of customization is huge. An expert can provide you tiles of the exact color you require even though it may be hard to find anywhere else.
  • These are low maintenance products, as you already read above. Quality tiles are scratch resistant as well. Besides, it is an extremely hygienic choice because they do not hold on to dust, which acts as a crucible for germs to breed.
  • They are highly durable products. Still, in the event that you break or chip one, contact the service provider to replace it. Replacement is very easy and does not affect surround tiles.
  • Ceramic is definitely a viable solution for setting up a green home. The environment products use clay and sand as its raw materials. It also keeps your house cooler in the summer and thereby helping you to reduce energy bills. For the winter, they may also have some insulating qualities.

Apart from tiles, you can also purchase beautiful items such as mugs, dishes, dolls, and flower vases from a qualified ceramic artist. These are great for home decoration and also as unique gift items to your loved ones.

Looking for Neat Installation of Ceramic Floor Tiles

Ceramic is a familiar alternative to vinyl and stone tiles. Not necessarily as expensive as typical marble or granite flooring, these offer cool and eco-compliant solutions. Vinyl may be a relatively cost-effective solution, but it is neither natural and nor does it offer significant aesthetic advantages. So, if you are looking to balance everything from aesthetics to budget and good health (environment-friendly), find someone to tell you all about ceramics. These are available by a wide diversity of colors and textures. In fact, look for someone who works with the material instead of just obtaining them from the producer and selling them.

Good Work

The first benefit of this approach is obviously the wealth of experience to suggest the best. A professional can easily confirm the high durability of the medium, and tips on long term maintenance. The durability of this age-old medium is already familiar in seeing it on old architectural and novelty heritage. Thousands of years old monuments of ancient Rome, Middle East (Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem), India, and Turkey still have their age-old ceramic tiles in excellent condition. Even the residence of the Queen of England, the famed Buckminster Palace displays some fabulous spaces covered with ceramics.

For the uninitiated, ceramic is essentially a general term defining a glazed product manufactured by heating a non-metallic mineral at an extremely high temperature. Given its wide scope of definition, expect a great deal of creative diversity as the artist works magic on the piece of clay just as you want to see. Encaustic tiles are exclusive because, in these, the designer inlays the pattern onto its body instead of painting on the surface. These artistic pieces can be perfect options to decorate a space of wall in your place with literally anything you want to see in this permanence.

Always ensure that you are working with a talented designer because a lot of details go into the manufacturing process. If the original clay quality is not right, or if it does not go through proper processing, it won’t be a durable or beautiful one. It takes the experience to judge the nature of clay and to regulate the timing and temperature of the kiln among other things! Visit the artist’s workshop, make your queries, and commission your requirements according to your estimated budget.

Installing the tiles

Verify the viability of the manufacturing process, the cost advantage, tentative delivery time, and whether you can get exactly what you need for your home. Another advantage of working with an art professional is that she is equally deft with colors and paintbrushes as with the technical aspects of bringing out a perfect tile from the kiln, and have it repeated as many times as necessary.

Photo by Robert Anasch 

Prior to installing them, you ought to know how many units you need. It is an easy calculation. One would only need to calculate the exact area of the floor space, and then divide it with the area covered by a single tile to deduce the number of units. You may need to arrange a home visit with the person concerned to take proper measurements unless you can take it yourself accurately. The tiles near the wall may need to be cut to fit in according to your necessity. It is important to note that you should always commission the production of at least a dozen extra tiles, just in case. Sometimes, despite observing utmost care, these units chip at the corner or develop a crack. A set of these may slip from the hand and break! Those extra tiles would automatically fill in the gap without delay.

Now, to begin the actual installation process, wipe and wash the marked area and let it dry before setting the layout with pencil marks. A professional typically sets the tiles drily at first (without mortar) just so to make sure that everything is alright. This is also the time to make the final measurements and cut the units near the wall accordingly. It is a precise job, one that requires leaving space for applying grout.

Remove the units, the loose pieces, and make any final change in the layout, if necessary. Proceed with placing the mortar with an appropriate notched trowel unit by unit. It is necessary to proceed one by one to avoid hardening of the mortar. Lay the tiles and tap each one gently with a rubber mallet to set it in place. Plastic spacers are useful to maintain even grout lines between successive tiles. This is a tedious and articulate job. It can take from one day to a few days depending on the available time and the covered area. Once it is over, start placing the grout in the gaps. Wipe away the excess with the grout sponge.

Allow it to dry and then again dry wipe the hazy residue. That should do. Behold and admire your new floor or wall decoration with ceramic tiles.     

Clay LA

I’ll be participating in Clay LA – an annual sale and fundraiser at the Craft & Folk Art Museum, showcasing emerging and established ceramic makers in the Los Angeles area. You will be able to purchase my pottery in the CAFAM Shop starting Saturday, September 30 through Sunday October 8.

On Saturday, September 30th there will be a $7.00 door fee that will give patrons access to CLAY LA, current exhibitions at the museum, and a hands-on air-dry clay workshop. Sunday, October 1st, will be the museums regular “pay what you can” Sunday admission. Visitors will also enjoy a variety of sponsored snacks and drinks, including complimentary beer by Angel City Brewery.

Join us for shopping, fun air-dry clay workshops, music, and drinks!

My New L&L; Kiln

Investing in a kiln was a hard decision to make three years ago in Austin when I first started my business, but I found a used kiln on Craigslist for $700 and ended up purchasing it. I tend to have extreme buyers remorse and I’m very risk-adverse, so purchasing large investments is difficult for me. I moved it halfway across the country to San Francisco where I ended up not needing it since I was in a studio that already had a kiln, so I eventually sold it.

Fast forward to two months ago when I was shopping around for kilns. I didn’t know anything about phases, amps or volts. Luckily Aardvark, the ceramics shop closest to me, put me in touch with an electrician who works on kilns. He suggested looking at L&L Kilns, which I had never heard of. Up until this past week, I had only used Skutt and Paragon kilns. 

L&L Kilns have ceramic holders around the kiln that hold the elements in place. Instead of pushing the elements into your soft brick and pinning them in which eventually corrodes your brick over time, you simply place the elements into these holders thereby elongating the life of your soft brick and keeping it tidy. Because I fire frequently, I should replace my elements every year. The wear and tear to the soft brick caused by taking the elements out and putting them back in made me think that L&L may be better in the long run for me. 

I heard that I should purchase a kiln for my needs in five years; however, we didn’t have the electricity needed for what I actually wanted, so I ended up with the largest kiln our breaker could comfortable handle, which is 60 amps. I spoke with a retailer of L&L Kilns and he answered my lengthy and in depth questions. I sat on this information for a few days and then decided to go with what he suggested, an Easy-Fire e23t kiln.

It was shipped to me on a pallet. I unboxed it and read the huge binder of instructions that came with the kiln about setting it up, using the control panel, maintenance, and repairs. I eventually set it up and ran a test fire where everything worked perfectly. I had amazing customer service from both the retailer as well as L&L directly, which makes a huge difference when you don’t really know what you are doing. There are also a ton of how-to videos L&L has on their website, which are a great resource. 

Something I love about running a business is that I am constantly learning, and buying and setting up a kiln is no exception. I now know what to look for when I need to move or set up another studio and purchase more kilns as I expand. I’m excited to see how this kiln holds up and eventually how easy it will be (I hope!) to replace these elements compared to a Skutt. If you have any questions about my L&L kiln, feel free to email me. 

West Coast Craft

West Coast Craft is coming up this weekend, June 10-11 at Fort Mason Center! I will be participating in Booth D17 along with many other amazing small businesses. Cindy of WKNDLA did this great photo shoot of many WCC vendors including Concrete Geometric, Pigeon Toe Ceramics, Debbie Bean, Lucy Michel, Laura Wagner, The Small + Savage Wild, Munbeibi Studio, and Gopi Shah Ceramics! What a lovely shoot and I’m so excited to see old friends and meet new ones as Long Beach’s newest ceramic artist!

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