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eastern earthenware specification guide

inspired by moroccan zellige - but created using far east sensibilities, eastern earthenware is a creation of primitive tiles hand-formed from rustic terra cotta then hardened using ancient firing methods and kilns. the great tradition of ceramics received huge momentum from asia from the discovery of new forms of clay to the experimentation with minerals to colorize glazes. It is this influence that has provided the heart of our collection. eastern earthenware features glazes that are highly textured, gloriously imperfect and infused with the most unexpected color variations. this concert of elements can only be derived from an artisan’s hand using unfiltered elements freshly mined from nature and further distinguished by the use of a volatile firing atmosphere. we encourage you to explore this series for any of your bath or kitchen splashes, your walls and floors, and your interior or exterior spaces.

general description

trim is not part of the eastern earthenware. trim, in general, is not a tradition of tiles outside of the U.S. and specifically for tiles that have an ancient history. for jobs requiring a finished edge - we recommend the traditional craft of trimming tiles-

  1. for turning corners and for mud-set tiles, we recommend mitering your tiles. this provides a beautiful corner finish and in the case of a mud-set requiring a quarter round - this substitutes the quarter round finish with a squared miter finish.
  2. for finishing edges on a vertical surface, we recommend building up your sheetrock surface to allow the plane of the eastern earthenware to be on the same plane as your sheet-rocked wall. for a less preferred (and non-traditional) edge-trim you may also elect to use schluter style edge-trim.

color variation & sampling

eastern earthenware glaze colors will vary from tile to tile, some more than others. these variations are intentional, resulting from our commitment to the use of ancient glaze production methods and use of raw materials. since there is a time lag between sampling and purchase we cannot guarantee that you will be able to purchase from the same kiln batch which makes sampling redundant. also since each firing produces a wide degree of variation, we cannot show the breadth of variation. instead, with each kiln load we will take new photos showing the variation that exists and provide a detailed description.


crazing refers to the hairline cracks which may occur in the glaze surface of eastern earthenware after firing and is common in hand crafted tile. to minimize the possibility of staining clé recommends using a penetrating sealer or grout release. If sealer or release is required, please test a small section following the sealer/release manufacturer’s instructions.

size variation

all eastern earthenware are handcut to size. this creates obvious size variation which is part of the eastern earthenware effect. please anticipate size variation in width and length, based on this chiseling. due to shrinkage from wet to fired clay in the firing process, our tiles are subject to size variation in depth, as well. the thickness is 3/8" and can vary, along with other specified dimensions.


installation methods should conform to the tile council of america “handbook for ceramic tile installation” (current edition). DO NOT install from unblended boxes. eastern earthenware from several different cartons should be mixed to achieve the best overall blend of color and surface imperfections. other systems are available and the manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed.


clé recommends Mapei Ultracolor Plus FA, which is intended for glazed tiles.

it is recommended that eastern earthenware tiles utilize a butt joint. wedge spacers should be used to allow for variation in the butted tiles and keep tile lines straight.

NOTE: grout is customarily used to fill any gaps left by wedge spacers between tiles as well as any pits, chips or cracked portions of the eastern earthenware. all grouted areas should be sealed as the final step of installation.


minimal maintenance is required. mild soaps should be sufficient for most cleaning. test any cleaners before general use.

durability considerations

depending on specific site conditions, eastern earthenware are subject to wear over time. this inherent traffic pattern is, again, a highlight of using eastern earthenware and should be both anticipated and favored. to minimize sizeable traffic damage, a means for people to clean abrasive materials off their shoes before walking on a glazed eastern earthenware floor should be provided.