Tucked in the heart of Portland’s SE Woodstock neighborhood, the spirit of craft in America is alive and well. In a compact, but efficient studio, Clayhaus Ceramics cranks out beautiful hand-made tiles with designs ranging from modern to traditional.
Approaching manufacturing from a sustainable perspective, Clayhaus uses 100% renewable energy to run their studio (multiple kilns = lots of electricity!), all glazes are completely lead-free, and some glazes contain up to 50% recycled content (glass bottles to be exact!). In addition, all the extra clay left over from the manufacturing process is recycled into new tiles.
On a recent visit to Clayhaus’ studio, I got a behind-the-scene tour from Clayhaus founders and husband/wife team – Jason and Megan Coleman. Using a combination of machine cuts and manual labor, they showed me how each Clayhaus tile is made to order. Truly handcrafted, a Clayhaus tile is touched by the human hand repeatedly during its creation process. Here is the rundown of what it takes to create one Clayhaus tile – from start to finish.
1.Clay is extruded through a pug mill. In non-technical terms, this process smooshes the clay from a big clump to flat ribbons.
2. From there, the ribbons are put through the a press that cuts out the unique design of the tile (think cookie-cutter). The extra clay is recycled for use in future tiles.
3. Then, the tile is detailed to remove any rough edges and fired once in a kiln (a bisque fire). A bisque fire removes all the water from the clay and gets the clay to a certain hardness and absorption level so that it can accept glaze.
4. Once bisque-fired, the “color” is put on the clay through glazing. This is done either through dipping, spraying, or brushing by hand. The tile is fired one more time at a lower temperature so that the glaze heats up enough to melt and become a beautiful finish.
YOLO Colorhouse’s zero VOC interior paint and Clayhaus tiles are meant for each other! Clayhaus’s soft matte crackle glazes harmonize with YOLO Colorhouse’s Earth’s Color Collection. On my tour, Jason described how they used our palette as the basis for this glaze line, as it embodies a harmonious, easy-to-live with aesthetic. We pulled out their glaze swatches and put them up against color swatches from WATER, LEAF, GRAIN, and CLAY families…stunning!
From a design perspective, Clayhaus loves to collaborate! They recently teamed up with local designer Stephanie Dyer. The result: Topo Collection, a new series of decorative relief tile that explore three-dimensional organic forms at micro and macro scales.
Megan says “We enjoy collaborating with these designers — the resulting tiles are something unique we can offer our customers.” Here’s a sneak peek of a new line based in nature that Clayhaus is getting ready to release. These tiles are in their bisque phase, awaiting the glaze that will really bring the tiles to life!
Thank you so much for the glimpse into Clayhaus Ceramics, Jason and Megan. We will keep checking back to see what innovative designs you come up with next!