The launch of the clé Fundamentals collection was just the beginning of turning the clé Guild vision into reality. While Fundamentals delivers a cleanly classic look capable of making a contemporary statement, the next set of small batch glazed brick brings earthiness and varying pigmentation to the tiles.
clé’s New California collection expands the Guild’s offerings, retaining all the unique characteristics that define the Guild in a broader presentation.
Returning to Our Roots: New California’s Inspiration
The New California collection was inspired by the landscapes of the northern California coast. Cool greys, warm earth and variegated greens echo the natural landscape of California’s beaches, headlands and woods. Named for the native flora that inhabit the wild coastal landscape, this line of tile symbolizes the beauty and quiet, earthy elegance of California.
Equally at home in traditional and modern settings, New California echoes the artistry and aesthetic of California’s influential mid-century craft movement. It represents a continuity of “time and place” from that artisanal evolution.
As is the case with the Fundamentals collection, the clay used in New California is minimally processed. When fired, the unrefined minerals interact, giving every tile a truly unique expression of the earth from which it is made. The glazes are formulated of natural stone powders and oxides, melting together concurrently and harmoniously. The result is deeper and more varied surfaces.
More than Color, New California Represents an Artisanal Spirit
Too often, tiles are only seen in terms of color, as though they were paint chips. There are so many more variables… texture, opacity, surface sheen, pigment variation, inclusions, crystallization. Many of these are due to the underlying clay, which ultimately informs the finished surface.
By creating our own glaze, utilizing an unrefined clay substrate, we are capitalizing on the best technological efficiency while allowing space for the unpredictable nature of raw material interactions.
In the intense heat of the kiln the mineral elements become much more active. Rather than just "melting," the heat sparks all kinds of beautiful re-combinations of the elements. As our ceramicist Eric VanderMolen has so poetically stated, “It becomes a multi-faceted dance of atoms.”
This gives all of the Guild tiles a richness not often seen in most other types of tile and is embodied in the small batch New California collection.
Dogwood echoes the bright white blossoms of this delicate California native tree. Like the crisp, foggy early spring in which it blooms, dogwood is a bright, cool alternative to classic white tile.
Like the dappled warm grey foliage of this California native shrub, mallow is a varied grey gloss brick tile. Naturally occurring minerals in this rugged clay give mallow a lightly speckled character under its bright glazed surface.
The velvet softness of willow is reminiscent of the familiar tree buds that beckon springtime. A soft satin-matte surface and silvery blue-grey speckled pigment characterize this glazed brick tile.
Warm matte off-white and dappled iron spotting are the hallmarks of yarrow. Much like the quiet wildflower of California meadows for which it is named, this glazed brick tile possesses a soft elegance.
California fennel is a favorite of chefs, foragers, wild birds, swallowtail butterflies and now, designers. Fennel glazed brick is a stylish update on the classic matte glazes of California’s artisan clay tradition. Soft, speckled baked-earth with cream tones echo the familiar dried seed heads of this quintessentially Californian plant.
Cardoon is a rich, earthy golden glazed brick tile. Cardoon’s hue is much like the wild thistle sentinels of hot late summer headland meadows. Deeply colored and richly speckled, this soft matte tile is at once mid-century retro and completely modern.
The sagebrush green of salvia is as charismatic and diverse as the plants for which it is named. Toasty, grey-green hues and light spotting meld with surfaces ranging from satin to slightly glossy, giving salvia a captivating softness and varied richness.
The deep, dark green of bracken echoes the shadowy groves of ferns and mosses in California’s ancient forests. Surfaces ranging from satin matte to slightly glossy give bracken a wonderful depth and subtle variety, offering a range of expression within and between the tiles.
The dark warmth and burnished glow of manzanita bark is reflected in this New California glazed brick tile. Softly variegated rusts, browns and blacks give manzanita a quietly strong, dark elegance beneath a satin lustrous surface.
There’s Much More to Come...
The clé Guild’s inaugural line, Fundamentals, and now New California are just the beginning of an exploration into tile craftsmanship. True to clé’s vision, both collections deliver on Deborah Osburn’s desire to create a line of glazed brick that could “truly be called the best in the world.”