The journey to tile
It was an artisanal meet-cute: Jose Noe Suro of Ceramica Suro was strolling around Red Hook one Saturday and saw a line of people outside of an unmarked building. He asked what they were waiting for, and when they said 'pottery', he waited too. It was one of my open studio sales! A couple years later, I went to Guadalajara to explore how we might work together. Founded in 1951 in Tlaquepaque, Noe Suro has transformed the factory over the last two decades into a meeting place for artists from all over the world to realize their vision. I came back to my studio inspired, and spent a lot of 2019 testing out tile ideas. I went back in January 2020 to finalize colors and samples in person. A couple years of delays later (you might guess why) and this long story is finally told!
The original samples, made in Red Hook: I used my extruder with a custom die which allowed me to make the ribbed texture, which I puzzle-pieced together by hand.
The factory made a plaster mold of these samples...
... and then uses a RAM-press to press these tiles - the same process as my dinnerware line!
Once they're dry, each tile is cleaned and smoothed by hand.
For the hand painted designs; they are sprayed with clear glaze on top of the shapes. Here's a quiet moment in the spray booth area.
Here's the glaze room where I sifted through hundreds of test tiles as I selected the color combos for the final collection:
After glazing, the tiles are fired in these huge 'car kilns' - where the shelves roll out onto these tracks.
A million thank you's to Jose Noe and the team at Ceramica Suro for making my designs a reality.