What do Swarovski crystals and Carrera marble have in common? They are both materials used in creating tiles.
When most people think of tiles they typically think of ceramic or porcelain, maybe even concrete, but tiles have been made of many substances over the years. Dating back to the ancient Greeks who used terracotta tiles on their roofs for protection from the elements to today’s intricate glass mosaics used as backsplashes. The advancement of techniques along with the sharing of ideas through travel contributed to the growth of materials used for tile making. As artisans learned how to successfully manipulate different tile materials advancements in tile making began to grow. This marriage of innovation of tile materials and creativity opened the door to arguably some of the most beautiful tiles created that we consider to be artwork.
The tile making process today incorporates many varied materials such as: wood, metal, glass, cork, cement, slate, onyx, limestone, leather, LED lights, and mother of pearl. As the use of tile evolved from need to the current day use of function and beauty artists began to incorporate more and more varied materials. You can see this evolution in today’s homes where the materials that where originally used for their attributes such as durability, are now used to create designs that can be playful, or intricate, or any aesthetic the consumer desires along with the durability that function mandates.
The diversity of materials continues to grow as technology grows. As artists continue use their imaginations in ways never thought of before. It is exciting to see where we are headed and what new materials will be integrated into the tile world. It seems that imagination will only grow as advancements in technique and technology allows us to use more and more diverse materials in ways the ancient Greeks never considered.