extraordinary   tiles
handmade in France
prices & information
besso ceramique
prices
Delivery to the UK and (all of) Ireland is free on all orders over £100.
ordering
We no longer use a printable order form because there are now too many options and 99 percent of customers simply email or phone in their order anyway.  Once we know exactly what is required we will send you a confirmation and an invoice with a full breakdown of your order.   Please note we now have a minimum order value of £25. Lead times vary and at busy times it may be up to 4 weeks before your order is ready, but tiles are then packed and dispatched as soon as they are cool enough to touch. We ask for a 50 percent deposit (refundable) when you place your order with the balance due 5 working days before dispatch.  We will let you know by email just before the balance is due.  We take card payments by phone using Worldpay and you will receive email confirmation from them of the payment as well as our confirmation of your order.  Everything is in English.  
delivery
Delivery is free to the UK and ROI on all orders over £100.  Below £100 we make a £15.00 charge.  We use a variety of services depending where you live.  Delivery time is normally 2-3 working days, but if you live off the beaten track that might become 4-8 working days. Delivery charges for samples are in the next section.
returns
We want you to be delighted with your tiles and will go to great lengths to ensure you make the right selection.  However, for whatever reason, you may want to return them.  To put your mind at rest here, we sell through our own UK company so you have all your usual rights - don’t worry, you don’t have to send them back to France!  You will, however, have to pay UK carriage so, if you have doubts, it’s better to let us know sooner rather than later.  With plain tiles, changing your mind isn’t a major problem anyway and even with impressed tiles, we’d much prefer you to delay, or even cancel, than to change your mind after they’ve been delivered.   
samples
We supply samples primarily so you can see the colours in the flesh.  We don’t charge for the samples, but we do make a charge for the postage.  We usually cut tiles to send as samples as this keeps the weight and the postage down.  It costs £6.00 for up to 4 colours and £8.00 for up to 8 colours.
contact details
We are located at... Le Clos Besso, 22630 Evran, Bretagne, France. Telephone... 0033 296 274459.    email... antoinette@bessoceramique.co.uk Our UK postal address is... Besso Ceramique Ltd,  The Apex, 2 Sheriffs Orchard, Coventry. CV1 3PP. Please note this is not the address for returns.
faq’s
Why no red tiles? Using natural oxides, red glazes are notoriously difficult to reproduce with any degree of consistency (they generally require oxygen starvation in a gas kiln) and we could not be sufficiently confident of producing consistent colours. We’re passing through Brittany on holiday.  Can we pick our tiles up? Of course, but please let us know well in advance.
handmade idiosyncrasies
Being completely handmade, each tile is unique and can exhibit it’s individuality in a variety of ways: Undulations/ surface indentations These result from the hand rolling and hand cutting processes - simply ‘what happened’ at the moment the tile was formed. No two tiles have exactly the same form. Uneven colour tone We make all our glazes, to our own recipes, from the dry raw materials which are mixed with water and then sieved through a special mesh to give a smooth glaze. It is necessary to keep mixing the glaze in order to keep all the natural colouring oxides relatively evenly dispersed but there will always be variations within the mix.  Each tile is hand dipped into the glaze and this process can add further variation.  Imprecise art though it is, the likelihood of colour variation does rather depend on the oxide in use.  Some are very tolerant, others are not.  Such are the foibles of the handmade tile.  As a rough guide... Blacks, whites and browns are the easiest colours to reproduce accurately. Chromium based greens (LB20-50) are the hardest to reproduce with any precision as the oxide is very powerful and has a narrow working range (but we can get them close and they are also quite tolerant visually).  Everything else can vary to a small degree in colour depth/saturation - usually, it’s just as the glaze pot is used up.  If you’re extending an existing run of tiles, we will send you extra samples to ensure a decent match. In all cases, we're not talking about enormous differences - even we can't tell if a new batch matches a 'reference' tile without holding the two together and there's probably as much variation between the same colour on two different computer screens.    Size Variations All tile sizes are nominal and there may be slight variations - rarely more than a millimetre. These are simply due to small differences in the moisture content of the clay when the tiles were cut. Again, this just adds to the handmade aesthetic. Crazing Crazing is the appearance of hairline cracks in the glaze of a tile (not the tile itself).  These may appear months, years or even decades after the tiles are installed and are a near inherent feature of high gloss tiles.  They are caused primarily by expansion of the tile body - usually due to moisture absorption as it's the one thing over which we have no control.  This minute expansion can not always be absorbed by the comparatively brittle glaze and the result is crazing.  Factory tiles avoid the problem generally by using materials other than natural clay.  A high proportion (sometimes 100 percent) of talc in a high pressure moulding process using very thin glaze layers will pretty much alleviate the problem.  But that's rather like using nylon to avoid the foibles of silk.  One dealer in antique tiles went so far as to state that only a few percent of one hundred year old tiles do not exhibit crazing.  Certainly no producer of handmade tiles can offer a guarantee that none of their tiles will ever craze - everybody's small print is basically the same.  The most we can do is ensure it is rare by making sure the basic fit between the clay and the glaze is a good one.  Fortunately, when it does occur, a crazing crack is often practically invisible and the best way to deal with it is to simply ignore it.     Our aim is Perfect Imperfection - the Japanese even have a name for it... ‘Wabi Sabi’.
installation
First of all we need to say that our tiles are only suitable for use as an indoor wall covering.  They would be too slippy and too prone to scratching for floor use and glazed terracotta is always susceptible to frost damage if used outdoors. Whether using the services of a professional tiler or installing the tiles yourself, these tiles are not especially unusual to work with.  The main things to bear in mind are: The surface to be tiled must be suited to the purpose - i.e. sound, level, not prone to movement, shrinkage etc. Use a good quality tile adhesive and grout which is appropriate for the installation of glazed terracotta tiles. We recommend you allow a minimum grout gap of 4mm between tiles (as we do) as this can cater for any slight variation in tile size.  Being made from terracotta clay, the reverse side of the tile is, to some extent, porous (as with any similar tile). Grout too is porous therefore the grout should be sealed with a proprietary grout sealer (we use Mapei and H.G. products which are widely available) – this is especially important in a bathroom/shower scenario and we suggest you take professional advice for your particular shower/bathroom requirements.  Sealing the grout will not only stop water ingress behind the tiles but also protect the grout from a build up of everyday staining and make it easier to clean. Because of the porous nature of terracotta we do not recommend the use of strongly coloured grout as the pigment from this could theoretically be absorbed by the tile and so show on its surface. Again, this is a general feature of glazed terracotta tiles and not specific to ours.  If you are using strongly coloured grouts, you should wet the tiles prior to grouting so that less colour can be absorbed into the clay. The tiles, having been fired to temperatures in excess of 1000°C, are more robust than you might imagine and therefore are best cut with a diamond cutting wheel - scoring them does not always weaken the clay sufficiently to ensure a clean cut.  As we have said before, when working with a pattern of mixed coloured tiles, it is a good idea, before fixing them, to lay out all the tiles on boards or the floor to ensure that everything works together – particularly so with random pattern mixes. If all the above advice is followed then installation should be as straightforward as any factory produced tile.
Use non-abrasive, non-acidic cleaning products.
cleaning
prices & information
besso ceramique
handmade in France
extraordinary tiles
besso ceramique
prices
Delivery to the UK and (all of) Ireland is free on all orders over £100.
ordering
We no longer use a printable order form because there are now too many options and 99 percent of customers simply email or phone in their order anyway.  Once we know exactly what is required we will send you a confirmation and an invoice with a full breakdown of your order.   Please note we now have a minimum order value of £25. Lead times vary and at busy times it may be up to 4 weeks before your order is ready, but tiles are then packed and dispatched as soon as they are cool enough to touch. We ask for a 50 percent deposit (refundable) when you place your order with the balance due 5 working days before dispatch.  We will let you know by email just before the balance is due.  We take card payments by phone using Worldpay and you will receive email confirmation from them of the payment as well as our confirmation of your order.  Everything is in English.  
delivery
Delivery is free to the UK and ROI on all orders over £100.  Below £100 we make a £15.00 charge.  We use a variety of services depending where you live.  Delivery time is normally 2-3 working days, but if you live off the beaten track that might become 4-8 working days. Delivery charges for samples are in the next section.
returns
We want you to be delighted with your tiles and will go to great lengths to ensure you make the right selection.  However, for whatever reason, you may want to return them.  To put your mind at rest here, we sell through our own UK company so you have all your usual rights - don’t worry, you don’t have to send them back to France!  You will, however, have to pay UK carriage so, if you have doubts, it’s better to let us know sooner rather than later.  With plain tiles, changing your mind isn’t a major problem anyway and even with impressed tiles, we’d much prefer you to delay, or even cancel, than to change your mind after they’ve been delivered.   
samples
We supply samples primarily so you can see the colours in the flesh.  We don’t charge for the samples, but we do make a charge for the postage.  We usually cut tiles to send as samples as this keeps the weight and the postage down.  It costs £6.00 for up to 4 colours and £8.00 for up to 8 colours.
contact details
We are located at... Le Clos Besso, 22630 Evran, Bretagne, France. Telephone... 0033 296 274459.    email... antoinette@bessoceramique.co.uk Our UK postal address is... Besso Ceramique Ltd,  The Apex, 2 Sheriffs Orchard, Coventry. CV1 3PP. Please note this is not the address for returns.
faq’s
Why no red tiles? Using natural oxides, red glazes are notoriously difficult to reproduce with any degree of consistency (they generally require oxygen starvation in a gas kiln) and we could not be sufficiently confident of producing consistent colours. We’re passing through Brittany on holiday.  Can we pick our tiles up? Of course, but please let us know well in advance.
handmade idiosyncrasies
Being completely handmade, each tile is unique and can exhibit it’s individuality in a variety of ways: Undulations/ surface indentations These result from the hand rolling and hand cutting processes - simply ‘what happened’ at the moment the tile was formed. No two tiles have exactly the same form. Uneven colour tone We make all our glazes, to our own recipes, from the dry raw materials which are mixed with water and then sieved through a special mesh to give a smooth glaze. It is necessary to keep mixing the glaze in order to keep all the natural colouring oxides relatively evenly dispersed but there will always be variations within the mix.  Each tile is hand dipped into the glaze and this process can add further variation.  Imprecise art though it is, the likelihood of colour variation does rather depend on the oxide in use.  Some are very tolerant, others are not.  Such are the foibles of the handmade tile.  As a rough guide... Blacks, whites and browns are the easiest colours to reproduce accurately. Chromium based greens (LB20-50) are the hardest to reproduce with any precision as the oxide is very powerful and has a narrow working range (but we can get them close and they are also quite tolerant visually).  Everything else can vary to a small degree in colour depth/saturation - usually, it’s just as the glaze pot is used up.  If you’re extending an existing run of tiles, we will send you extra samples to ensure a decent match. In all cases, we're not talking about enormous differences - even we can't tell if a new batch matches a 'reference' tile without holding the two together and there's probably as much variation between the same colour on two different computer screens.    Size Variations All tile sizes are nominal and there may be slight variations - rarely more than a millimetre. These are simply due to small differences in the moisture content of the clay when the tiles were cut. Again, this just adds to the handmade aesthetic. Crazing Crazing is the appearance of hairline cracks in the glaze of a tile (not the tile itself).  These may appear months, years or even decades after the tiles are installed and are a near inherent feature of high gloss tiles.  They are caused primarily by expansion of the tile body - usually due to moisture absorption as it's the one thing over which we have no control.  This minute expansion can not always be absorbed by the comparatively brittle glaze and the result is crazing.  Factory tiles avoid the problem generally by using materials other than natural clay.  A high proportion (sometimes 100 percent) of talc in a high pressure moulding process using very thin glaze layers will pretty much alleviate the problem.  But that's rather like using nylon to avoid the foibles of silk.  One dealer in antique tiles went so far as to state that only a few percent of one hundred year old tiles do not  exhibit crazing.  Certainly no producer of handmade tiles can offer a guarantee that none of their tiles will ever craze - everybody's small print is basically the same.  The most we can do is ensure it is rare by making sure the basic fit between the clay and the glaze is a good one.  Fortunately, when it does occur, a crazing crack is often practically invisible and the best way to deal with it is to simply ignore it.     Our aim is Perfect Imperfection - the Japanese even have a name for it... ‘Wabi Sabi’.
installation
First of all we need to say that our tiles are only suitable for use as an indoor wall covering.  They would be too slippy and too prone to scratching for floor use and glazed terracotta is always susceptible to frost damage if used outdoors. Whether using the services of a professional tiler or installing the tiles yourself, these tiles are not especially unusual to work with.  The main things to bear in mind are: The surface to be tiled must be suited to the purpose - i.e. sound, level, not prone to movement, shrinkage etc. Use a good quality tile adhesive and grout which is appropriate for the installation of glazed terracotta tiles. We recommend you allow a minimum grout gap of 4mm between tiles (as we do) as this can cater for any slight variation in tile size.  Being made from terracotta clay, the reverse side of the tile is, to some extent, porous (as with any similar tile). Grout too is porous therefore the grout should be sealed with a proprietary grout sealer (we use Mapei and H.G. products which are widely available) – this is especially important in a bathroom/shower scenario and we suggest you take professional advice for your particular shower/bathroom requirements.  Sealing the grout will not only stop water ingress behind the tiles but also protect the grout from a build up of everyday staining and make it easier to clean. Because of the porous nature of terracotta we do not recommend the use of strongly coloured grout as the pigment from this could theoretically be absorbed by the tile and so show on its surface. Again, this is a general feature of glazed terracotta tiles and not specific to ours.  If you are using strongly coloured grouts, you should wet the tiles prior to grouting so that less colour can be absorbed into the clay. The tiles, having been fired to temperatures in excess of 1000°C, are more robust than you might imagine and therefore are best cut with a diamond cutting wheel - scoring them does not always weaken the clay sufficiently to ensure a clean cut.  As we have said before, when working with a pattern of mixed coloured tiles, it is a good idea, before fixing them, to lay out all the tiles on boards or the floor to ensure that everything works together – particularly so with random pattern mixes. If all the above advice is followed then installation should be as straightforward as any factory produced tile.
Use non-abrasive, non-acidic cleaning products.
cleaning