Friday, February 13, 2009

Me encanta los azulejos Mexicanos!

Oh yes, I LOVE Mexican tile. I could cover my house in it. The beautiful bright colors are like permanent sunshine. The traditional designs are my favorites, but I like them all. Some of the traditional designs have been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years. Talavera tile, technically, only refers to tile produced in the city of Puebla, Mexico, but it is sometimes used to refer to similar tiles from other areas. For more on the history of Talavera tiles, see

One of the very first mosaic pieces I made was a table top patterned after a traditional design Talavera tile. From a distance, the table top looks like a giant tile. It is 16" square. The tiles I used for the mosaic are actual Talavera tiles, in solid colors. They were interesting to work with - the cuts were fairly unpredictable, so to use them again, I would be sure to plan a piece with tesserae a little larger than what I'm accustomed to working with. The tiles I used are red body bisque, which is considerably softer than a white body tile, so they definitely have to be brought in before first frost. But...that makes them easier to cut! The glaze will not always break along the same line as the tile, so it's best to be a little flexible about size and shape of the tiles so you can leave a little room to file down the unglazed edge.

So the table itself is actually the coolest part, in my opinion! I love things that are simple, serviceable and attractive, and if it's something I can make myself - whoo hoo! The table is constructed of 2 X 4s, and the table top was mosaiced over a 16" cement stepping stone. So, after finishing the mosaic, turn it upside down on a work table, surround it by the precut 2 X 4s, and screw them together. Then the legs are bolted onto the 2 X 4s surrounding the top. By doing it this way, you set them at exactly the correct place to have the tile level with the wood surround. So easy! If you are interested in making one of these yourself, email me at and I will send you the directions.

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