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Mexican tiles

Mexican tiles are design tiles that are unique to Mexico. They can be recognized by their lively, simple designs. Nice handmade and handpainted talavera Mexican flagstones have a selection of colours and patterns to create a personal style. The standard measurement of the Mexican wall tiles is 10x10cm but 5x5 and 15x15cm are also available. The tiles are usually right-angled. The average time a painter spends on a Mexican wall tile is about 30 minutes. This labour naturally translates into the costs per tile. The average price of Mexican wall tiles is: between 2 and 4 USD per tile for decorated tiles and 1-2 USD for uni-coloured or unpatterned tiles.

Talavera is the word that is used to describe religious reproductions of China and its earthenware that is made in the Spanish village of Talavera de La Reina, whose craftsmen have contributed enormously to the worlds knowledge of fine ceramics throughout the centuries. Mexican wall and floor tiles are made from earthenware in a form of Majolica, that refers to all kinds of handmade enamelled earthenware. It was first developed in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt and further refined in China where it became very popular. The craft of the Mexican tiles was used in Spain in the thirteenth century where the development was influenced by centuries of Moorish rule. In Mexico, this style dates back to the sixteenth century colonial era when it was first introduced to Mexico by the Spanish guild artisans. Today, the Mexican talavera tile alludes to the diverse cultural heritage from the east.

When making Mexican wall and floor tiles, two types of clay are mixed together and left in water to soak to improve their quality and flexibility. The potter drains the water and filters the mixed clay to remove all impurities. This results in a loss of nearly fifty percent of the original volume. The potter then works the clay by stamping it with his feet to get rid of all the air bubbles and to give the clay for the Mexican tiles a better uniformity and consistency. He then puts it in pieces on a wheel or in moulds, and leaves it to dry (eight to twelve weeks). The pieces are then baked in a kiln at 850C, which changes the coloured clay into the well-known brick coloured earthenware known as jahuete. After that the Mexican tiles are immersed in a pottery gloss one by one, to give them their final characteristic brilliance and colour. Each piece is then embellished with mineral pigments. Then the Mexican tiles are baked in the kiln once again, this time at 1050C.

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