extraordinary   tiles
handmade in France
making tiles antoinette’s way
besso ceramique
The block of terracotta clay is first sliced in two to limit warping as the tiles dry...
...then the clay is rolled out to a pre-set thickness.
Any imprinted patterns are embossed into the clay, then the tiles are cut (in this case an L-shaped border tile)
The tiles are left out to dry in the hot Breton sun... 
... oh, how I wish that last line was true.
After about a week drying (indoors) the tiles are hand trimmed and coated with a layer of liquid white clay called ‘slip’ ...
 ...any with impressed patterns have some of their surface coating gently removed in order to let the pattern show through when the tiles are glazed.
Tiles are stacked in the kiln and heated slowly to remove any last remaining moisture, then fired to over 1000°C.
Two days later the kiln has cooled enough for the tiles to be removed.
 Layers of glaze are applied very simply by dipping each tile in a bowl (or two) of glaze, after which the tiles are carefully loaded into racks in the kiln for their second firing - this time to over 1100°C ...  ... and after another 2 days cooling, the finished tiles can at last be unloaded and checked.
We’d love to say that was the end of the story but we have a small confession to make - one that involves, dare we say it, a machine!  We think you’ll agree, tiles don’t come much more handmade than ours, but there is a problem when it comes to all the offcuts of clay as they amount to almost half of what we use.  These can be hand-kneaded and reused (a process, rather amusingly known as ‘wedging’), but it has to be done over and over again which would be the best part of 200kg of wedging a week.  We would challenge even the youngest and the fittest to take on such a gargantuan task and ... well, we’re just too old for it.
…preparing dinner for Edith
We can’t bring ourselves to throw the clay away, so instead we recycle it in a machine called a pugmill.  Ours goes by the name of Edith and she’s been recycling clay for over thirty years without complaint (well actually she complains quite a lot, but that’s another story).  We hope you can forgive us.
making tiles antoinette’s way
besso ceramique
handmade in France
extraordinary tiles
besso ceramique
The block of terracotta clay is first sliced in two to limit warping as the tiles dry...
...then the clay is rolled out to a pre- set thickness.
Any imprinted patterns are embossed into the clay, then the tiles are cut (in this case an L-shaped border tile)
The tiles are left out to dry in the hot Breton sun... 
... oh, how I wish that last line was true.
After about a week drying (indoors) the tiles are hand trimmed and coated with a layer of liquid white clay called ‘slip’ ...
 ...any with impressed patterns have some of their surface coating gently removed in order to let the pattern show through when the tiles are glazed.
Tiles are stacked in the kiln and heated slowly to remove any last remaining moisture, then fired to over 1000°C.
Two days later the kiln has cooled enough for the tiles to be removed.
 Layers of glaze are applied very simply by dipping each tile in a bowl (or two) of glaze, after which the tiles are carefully loaded into racks in the kiln for their second firing - this time to over 1100°C ...  ... and after another 2 days cooling, the finished tiles can at last be unloaded and checked.
We’d love to say that was the end of the story but we have a small confession to make - one that involves, dare we say it, a machine!  We think you’ll agree, tiles don’t come much more handmade than ours, but there is a problem when it comes to all the offcuts of clay as they amount to almost half of what we use.  These can be hand-kneaded and reused (a process, rather amusingly known as ‘wedging’), but it has to be done over and over again which would be the best part of 200kg of wedging a week.  We would challenge even the youngest and the fittest to take on such a gargantuan task and ... well, we’re just too old for it.
…preparing dinner for Edith
We can’t bring ourselves to throw the clay away, so instead we recycle it in a machine called a pugmill.  Ours goes by the name of Edith and she’s been recycling clay for over thirty years without complaint (well actually she complains quite a lot, but that’s another story).  We hope you can forgive us.