From castles to cottages, decorative tiles have been used to embellish human habitations for both practical and aesthetic reasons for many centuries. Among the many families of decorative tiles are medieval inlaid tiles, Italian majolica, Dutch floral and pictorial tiles and the 19th century British Arts and Crafts and European Art Nouveau styles. Closer to home, ceramic tiles were very popular during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and demand for them spawned the development of many American art potteries during those years. Many of these tile designs are difficult to find today with well-preserved examples housed mostly in museums, private collections and historical buildings.
The character and charm of these old tiles can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reproduce with modern commercial tile production methods. Far Ridge Ceramics has created several sets of tiles based on historical designs and techniques. Although using modern clays, glazes and equipment, they are completely handmade from start to finish and thereby retain much of the personality of antique ceramic tiles.
We also offer many designs that are drawn from the natural world – leaves, herbs, flowers, bark, stone, fish, shells, animals, colors and textures. You will also find designs inspired by needlework patterns, a child’s drawings, stained glass and wrought iron. Please check back often for new offerings as we continue to expand our portfolio of handmade architectural ceramics.
Tile murals have long been used as decorative accents in households as well as in public and commercial buildings. Dutch tile makers produced beautiful pastoral and seafaring scenes as well as elaborate floral arrangements. Tiles panels were also very popular during the Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau periods. A tile mural can make a huge impact when incorporated into a tiling scheme in a kitchen, fireplace surround, bathroom, garden room or dining area. Murals may be handpainted on smooth tiles – our Potter’s Tiles work well. Or they may be a set of relief tiles which fit together to produce an overall design. This is the perfect opportunity to try something unusual, perhaps using a combination of cast relief tiles and handcut mosaic pieces.
Most of our tiles are made using liquid clay slip poured into our handmade plaster molds. This method allows us to create tiles with intricate details, high relief and unusual textures. We also produced hand rolled and hand cut tiles. These may be decorated using carving, incising, tube-lining, stamping or some other method of embellishment. Once fired, these bisque tiles can be glazed and refired with your choice of hundreds of glaze colors. Please refer to our glaze information to review the glaze colors in our studio palette.
Our tiles are most suitable for indoor wall applications. It is also possible to use them for tile counters and table tops, although they are not as hard as commercial tiles and a cast iron skillet handled carelessly could crack them. If you wish to use them for a horizontal surface, please let us know and we can make the tiles thicker. We do not recommend using our tiles on floors or in exposed outdoor areas where they are subject to moisture and freezing temperatures. You may want to check our Process & Production page for pictures and details on how we make our tiles.
Variations in texture, thickness and glaze colors are typical of handmade tiles. There may also be slight warping of the tile and the sizes may vary slightly due to differences in clay shrinkage. The dimensions listed are approximate and may differ by up to 1/8th of an inch. We put extra effort into making our tiles consistent enough for ease of installation without losing the variability that is so much a part of their character. All of our tiles go through quality control as they come out of the kilns and irregularities beyond the acceptable range are weeded out.