clé guild

it all started when clé founder, Deborah Osburn, was looking for a refined, elevated glazed thin brick that could hold its own in any space. in other words, a brick that would fit in with clé's concept of "prima materia," ancient surfaces that have remained relevant century upon century.

unable to find it, she resolved to create the finest glazed thin brick, where quality and character came from the integrity of its materials and the expertise and mastery of its makers. and slowly, the vision was realized in a humble building behind the clé studio.

from those modest beginnings, clé guild's mastery has grown organically, as befits the meticulous craftsmanship and the elevated exclusivity of the brick. and what is very exciting for clé is the fact that clé guild continues to evolve as our mastery allows for a deeper sense of creativity. it's this force of skill combined with exploration that is bringing entire new ranges of brick tile collections to life, challenging the way we think about the humblest of building materials: brick. welcome to the clé guild

clé guild new california in manzanita. design: jamie haller / photo: jenna peffley

"we rely on the quiet wildness and variability of our materials for their effects and subtle surprises. the kiln, however, is beautiful in that it becomes invisible, we can set it with great precision and allow the subtleties of the materials to softly sing their own song without being drowned out by the kiln effects."
—eric vandermolen

clé's own contribution to the library of prima materia

as befits an artisan endeavor, every day at the guild is a bit of an adventure, the opposite of a tightly engineered, set-it-and-forget-it production process.

it’s the (al)chemical reactions between the simplest of materials — clay and glaze and heat — that creates that quintessence. one small, simple change in the natural clay composition, for example, will have a dramatic effect on the glaze (because glaze is not “just” a surface applied to a clay body), and thus a dramatic effect on the look of that entire look or floor. and orchestrating all this takes mastery, integrity. and lots of practice.

clé guild fundamentals in white gloss. design / photo: gillian stevens

the result: tiles and surfaces that pulse with energy and life

hold a clé guild tile in your hand: you’ll quickly notice the depth and richness of the glaze with its multitude of variegated hues and nuances; iron spots brought to life in the kiln; and the slight textural wobbles that show the work of the hand.

but installed on a larger surface, the effect is one of almost infinite variation and depth: it will feel alive and forever surprising, taking on new personality and character in different light and seasons.

bringing new life to an ancient surface and bringing to life its potential for refinement and narrative: this is the essence, and the mission, of the clé guild.

clé guild new california in salvia. design: assembly line shop / photo: sean davidson