Think back to your first day at secondary school. You are a bit nervous, a bit shy and bit excited. And then you spot that distinct group of cool, sharp dressed kids; confident, attractive and clearly relishing each other’s company. “I want to be in their gang!” … if ever!
Well, if I was to come back as an artisan tile maker, I know where to find the cool kids. I’d head for Portland, Oregon and search out Clayhaus.
Not only is Clayhaus a thoroughly modern company with a progressive ethos; they also happen to make achingly stylish tiles. And, as all Clayhaus products are hand-crafted in the company’s studio, each individual tile is subtly unique.
“We think this makes for the most interesting and beautiful tile possible. But don’t just take our word for it; the credit for this craftsmanship goes to our artisans. They ensure every single tile is of the highest quality and workmanship is unmatched,” states Clayhaus.
It is obvious that the team at Clayhaus lives and breathes colour. Customers are currently offered over 100 different glazes; all artfully mixed to match the mood. In this age of bland greige and grey tiles, Clayhaus offers a bold and vivid alternative. The Clayhaus creed is that colour should be embraced. So, as well as custom glazes, the in-house palette continually changes as new bespoke colours are created.
Clayhaus’ team of artisans takes each tile from clay extrusion, to hand cutting, to hand-application of the glazes. It is clear that years of experience has not dulled the team’s genuine passion for what they do.
Each individual tile is unique and has what Clayhaus terms ‘perfect imperfections.’ Overall, the aesthetic is modern and playful. This company is proud to claim it is not a traditional tile company. In fact Clayhaus is a colour-based company geared toward modern and mid-century design.
“We believe there is nothing more striking than a large field of mosaic tile with undulating color and texture.”
The Clayhaus website has a neat Design Your Tile feature, allowing potential customers to choose the shape, colour and grout … and then see the results. As well as a fantastic way to begin the design process and visualize any project, the designs developed by this on-line system can be realised in actual tile by the Clayhous team. On a professional design level, Clayhaus also provides free samples to designers, architects, installers and other tradespeople.
Clayhaus does produce a limited portfolio of stock designs. Classic Field Tiles are available in many shapes, sizes and colours. These include 2″ by 6″, 2″ by 8″, 3″ by 6″, 3″ by 9″, 4″ by 8″, 4″ by 12″, 6″ by 6″, 6″ by 12″ and 4″ by 4″; plus 4″ and 3.5″ by 5″ Hexagons and 3″ Circles.
Sheeted mosaics are assembled by hand and offered in a wide variety of patterns; including circles, stacked and offset squares in different sizes, hexagons, triangles and other shapes/patterns.
Trim pieces are sold loose. The range spans 3/4″ by 8″ Stick Liner, 5/8″ by 6″ Half Round, 6″ Quarter Round Bead, 2″ by 8″ Block Cap, 3 1/2″ by 8″ Block Base and 4″ by 6″ Cove Base.
One of the coolest Clayhaus ranges was inspired by ‘The Look’: a term coined to describe dynamic, no-fuss, design styles from Britain and Italy that exploded onto the 1960s US pop culture scene, along with the Beatles, mini skirts, and op art fabrics. Fifty years ago, The Look cropped up in everything from clothing to furniture and even tile. Now Clayhaus has brought it back. The Futura Collection consists of five unique tile designs: Portal, Bubble Hex, Bubble Level and Disk. The designs are intended to be used individually as feature tiles, in feature strips or as field tiles. They can also be mixed and matched to create a variety of bold looks.
Created by Portland designer Stephanie Dyer, the Topo Collection is an exploration of three dimensional organic forms. Exclusive to Clayhaus, these 6 by 6in decorative tiles have evolved into a playful relationship between micro and macro worlds.”
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, September 2017.