- The Process
Encaustic Cement TilesThese durable, strong, colorful, patterned tiles have long been used around the world as high-end ultimate flooring that decorated the palaces of the Tsar, the mansions of the Côte d'Azure, Gaudi's Barcelona and Berlin's official buildings. Later on, the encaustic cement tile expanded as a creative and durable coating all over Europe, and the French, Spanish and Portuguese colonies.
Making the tiles
Each tile is handmade using a process more than 150 yrs old, They consist of white marble dust, portland cement and natural colour pigments. First the pigment colours to be used are poured in to the mold ,followed by a specially prepared mixture of cement and then hydraulically pressed. The tiles are then immersed in water for a few days to harden and then air dried for a few weeks to finish the process and ensure a strong durable product.
Due to the handmade nature of these tiles, slight variations in thickness, shade, irregular edges and crazing are inherent to this type of product. These characteristics add to the products natural appeal and do not compromise the performance of the tile. Their charm comes from these minor imperfections which make every one different, this is precisely what will give that extra soul to the overall appearance. A cement tile lives, unlike glazed tiles, which are never imprinted with the mark of time.
Mosaic making is one of the most ancient art forms, dating back over 4000 years. Using tiny hand cut pieces of stone , glass or ceramic, beautiful designs are constructed piece by piece. The resulting surface is decorative, hard wearing and colour fast and can be used in many different ways. From the great Roman pavements of the 4th century to the vibrant grandeur of Gaudi in Spain, mosaics have stood the test of time.
Translating my ideas into mosaic is a creative and technical challenge, combining the elements of colour, shape, texture and rhythm. The tesserae become tools to express light and offer a means to put back together what has been separated. It has endless potential to surprise and evolve as different materials and applications reveal more intense combinations and possibilities. Using natural or manmade tesserae each piece has a place in the larger scheme of things and each piece plays an important part, as pivotal as the next.
I seem to be drawn to pattern and geometry and find the need to create order and regulation. I like to explore the patterns and combinations that can be derived from a few shapes and the effect of colour interplay on the resulting pattern . These ideas have recently be translated and adapted into ceramic and cement tiles, the same concept just larger pieces in the picture