eastern earthenware | sacred river | november 2021

2" x 6" x 3 / 8 "

sacred river

5 5 5



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eastern earthenware | sacred river | november 2021

an extraordinary limited edition work of art

a gloriously imperfect tile with unexpected color

this collection is highly textured, gloriously imperfect and features unexpected color variations. each limited batch is unique – as is each tile – affected by many variables that transform each tile into a work of art. this 2×6 size allows for all of the traditional installation possibilities of rectangular tile, whether herringbone, basketweave, stacked or subway for your kitchen backsplash, shower and statement walls and fireplace surround. the popularity of the classic subway shape makes this a must-get tile while it’s around.


why we love eastern earthenware

when clé first approached our partners with an idea for a zellige with more of an eastern vibe, they asked us to describe what we had in mind. we said we were envisioning a wood fired terracotta tile that is rustic, earthy, unflitered and with a wildly varied glaze surface and finish. the result: eastern earthenware, where every kiln load will be different from the last. these extraordinary and extraordinarily varied tiles render every surface more art than tile. alternately, if you want predictability, uniformity, repetition, and subtelty, this IS NOT the tile for you!

clé has a long-held devotion for terracotta

a humble clay, traditional terracotta requires few alterations and in its best form goes almost straight from the earth into the fire. clé’s eastern earthenware is a celebration of this process and the primal transformation that occurs when the two combine. unlike the uniform glazes of tiles fired in gas or electric kilns, eastern earthenware is heralded for its variation in color, shade and exquisite surface texture. this is the result of wood-firing where everything from the fusion of the glazes with the clay, placement in the kiln, the dispersion of ash, to the seasons and weather all serve to create an alchemy that transforms each tile into a work of art.


perfect grout to match

product specifications

technical specifications

non freeze thaw rated icon

non freeze thaw rated

radiant heating compatible icon

radiant heating compatible

uv resistant icon

uv resistant

heat resistant icon

heat resistant

stove backsplash icon

stove backsplash

sink backsplash icon

sink backsplash

interior floor icon

interior floor

heavy residential icon

heavy residential

light commercial icon

light commercial

interior wall icon

interior wall

exterior wall icon

exterior wall

fireplace surround icon

fireplace surround

fountain waterline icon

fountain waterline

pool waterline icon

pool waterline

shower icon


steam shower icon

steam shower

* see installation and maintenance guide for specific requirements

surface type

finish type
gloss + matte

level 3: medium

level 3: medium

level 3: heavy

level 2: medium

level 2: medium

level 2: medium

2" x 6" x 3 / 8 "
water absorption
avg. 10.8%; non-vitreous

avg. 0.30

Pieces per sqft
12.00 pcs/sqft

Pieces per box
66 pcs/box


clé recommends the use of mapei ultracolor plus fa grout and a 1/16" grout joint with this collection. similar to zellige, grout is customarily used to fill any gaps left by wedge spacers between tiles as well as any pits, chips or cracked portions of eastern earthenware.

important: we do not generally recommend using a contrasting grout color with eastern earthenware, as it will highlight the thin hairline cracks/crazing found on the tiles, and fill in any pits, and/or chips. if you choose to use a contrasting grout (i.e. white grout with black tile) please order 20-30% overage in order to cherry-pick the tile of the imperfections that are standard to this tile. additionally, you must make sure to apply a penetrating sealant or grout release prior to grouting in order to minimize the possibility of the contrasting grout curing in the inherent hairline cracks, pits, and/or chips.

grout color selection is always up to our client and/or their design professional. however, clé is often asked for our opinion on best grout selections for our tiles. and due to the large array of grout colors that are now available, clé would like to offer this general guideline on a foolproof grout color selection for any of your clé tiles.

  • first, have your professional tile contractor complete your tile installation, except for the grout portion.
  • next, when ready to grout, ask your contractor to bring ALL grout color charts from his preferred grout manufacturers, for your review.
  • lastly, choose a time of day when you are most pleased with the lighting in your space (either natural lighting, installed lighting or a blend of both). during that lighting and time of day, select the grout color that best matches your tile selection.

note that the full mapei ultracolor plus fa color catalogue contains 40 colors to choose from. visit the mapei website to view.

for more information about grouting please see our eastern earthenware installation & maintenance guide.

collection dimensions

square - 4"x4"x3/8"
rectangle - 2"x6"x3/8"
square - 2"x2"x3/8"

disclaimer: please note all dimensions are nominal. additionally, dimensions between tiles can vary +/- 1/8 inch.

installation and maintenance guide

read before you buy this tile

do i need to seal eastern earthenware tiles?

eastern earthenware tiles should be sealed before and after grouting to maintain their appearance and avoid staining.

IMPORTANT: if eastern earthenware tiles are being grouted with a contrasting grout color vs. a matching one, then you must also apply a penetrating sealant or grout release prior to grouting in order to minimize the possibility of the contrasting grout curing in the inherent hairline cracks, pits, and/or chips.

eastern earthenware tiles can only be installed outdoors on exterior walls and require vertical weather flashing and waterproof, penetrating sealant.
for pool and fountain applications - water lines only with the use of waterproof, penetrating sealant.

for more information about sealing please see our eastern earthenware installation & maintenance guides.

do you offer trim for your eastern earthenware tile?

at clé we follow the international model of no trim and highly recommend our clients to do the same. below are the trim alternatives we recommend for this collection.

- if your project needs to turn a corner either inwardly or outwardly, mitering the tiles to meet seamlessly in a corner gives it the cleanest, crafted finish.
- another way to complete your tiling is to run a bead of caulk or grout along the exposed tile edge.
- like with any of our tiles, you can also build out the sheetrock so that the surface of the finished sheetrock is flush with the surface of the tile.

how do i take care of my eastern earthenware tiles?

over time, a natural patina will occur on floors as they are maintained and naturally wear. this inherent traffic pattern is a highlight of using eastern earthenware and should be both anticipated and favored.

mild, pH neutral soaps should be sufficient for most cleaning—test before general use. clean using soft materials, like a cloth, instead of coarse materials. always avoid harsh chemicals and acidic or alkaline cleaning products. grout lines can be cleaned with warm water and a soft bristled cleaning brush. immediately clean up spills—do not allow liquids to sit on the tile surface. most stains can be removed with a pH neutral dish soap, hot water and the scrub side of a sponge.

single coat reapplication of the penetrating sealant is required once a year on all grouted areas in shower applications due to the continuous exposure to water. reapplication is needed more often if installation is in a steam shower or pool/fountain waterline. please refer to a professional for this.

see eastern earthenware installation & maintenance guide for more information.

how much variation should i expect?

eastern earthenware is created from natural glazes, pigments and terracotta clay. every one of these natural materials is completely unfiltered allowing for maximum variation and irregularities created by firing in hand made kilns. all of this hand craft is what makes eastern earthenware so magically varied- tile to tile. please enjoy the extreme variation of color, shade and surface texture. your eastern earthenware order will contain the following: size variation, cracked and chipped tiles and edges, iron spots, pitting, and crazing. once installed properly and grouted, the above issues will bring you the textured eastern earthenware look that promises a distressed and imperfect surface of incomparable character.

if the above irregularities differ from your expectations for a less distressed installation, then clé highly recommends that you select another tile that will yield more surface regularity.

due to the color and shade variations, it is very important to blend the tiles from all boxes once they arrive and place them in their installation area to ensure you have the layout you want before installing. do not install without blending tiles from all boxes.

each kiln load is rated individually, please see ratings and illustrations in the technical specifications section above, and read more about the ratings in our tile variation and imperfections guide.

what's crazing, and should this be expected with eastern earthenware tiles?

eastern earthenware tiles are made by hand and will show visible crazing. crazing refers to the hairline cracks which may occur in the glaze surface of tile after firing and is common in handcrafted tile.

do you offer samples for your eastern earthenware tile?

we do not offer samples for our eastern earthenware collection. as there is generally a lag time between sampling and purchase we would not be able to guarantee that you would be sampling from the same kiln batch you are purchasing from, and this makes sampling redundant. additionally, each firing produces a wide degree of variation which is not able to be demonstrated by sampling just one or two pieces. instead of sampling, with each kiln load we take new photos showing the variation found within that batch and provide a detailed description of the colors and qualities to be expected.

why do you suggest i order at least 15% more than my measurements?

industry standard suggests adding at least 15% overage due to tile cuts, potential breakage, or future repairs. note that due to the firing methods and raw materials used to create glazed clay tiles, your order of eastern earthenware will have a percentage of tiles greater than 15% with cracks, crazing, iron spots, edge-chipping and pits through the glaze to the clay body.

clé WARNING: having an installation with tiles that experience any of the above imperfections is the traditional look for eastern earthenware installations. any editing of these naturally occurring imperfections from your tile shipment will greatly reduce the traditional appeal of your installation. if these imperfections do not fit your project’s needs we recommend ordering more than 15% overage. this allows your contractor to cherry-pick these imperfections from your order.

for more information related to ordering and shipping, please be sure to visit our shipping and returns and delivery information resource pages.

try before you buy

order sample

calculate your project

sq.ft. needed

industry standard suggests adding at least 15% overage due to tile cuts, potential breakage, or future repairs


total sqft



total boxes




1 total pieces

IMPORTANT: our standard requirement for tile cuts, shipping breakage, or future repairs is 15% overage.

should your project require a less authentic look, without the imperfections standard to eastern earthenware, please order 20-30% overage in order to cherry-pick the tile.

minimum order of 11sqft

in stock - ships within 10 business days