Handmade Artisan Tile Step by Step Process

Handmade Artisan Tile Step by Step Process

We’ve always claimed to be more than a handmade tile company.  We base our craft around creativity, strategy, and teamwork. We don’t fit into the traditional mold of a tile manufacturer. We are totally in our own lane and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Continue reading to find out what being a handmade, artisan tile company means to us...

How it Started

We can’t say enough about our mover and shaker, Mercedes Austin. Our humble and motivated tile queen deserves her own section in every blog we write. Mercedes started Mercury Mosaics 17 years ago as a young, solo, female artist who constantly combated all the people telling her not to follow her dreams. She put all of her energy into Mercury Mosaics and eventually became a business woman running a successful company to allow others to shine creatively. 

“Mercury Mosaics has become a beacon for creatives to work, to have a day job in the arts and many of us leave here daily to go do other parts of our lives. Mercury Mosaics isn’t the sum of it all, it’s a player in a bigger picture. My concept is to have an environment where people can work hard, with a team and see how the parts become the whole and if they stay with me, I’m grateful, if they phase out to do their creative passion as a full time gig and I know MM had a part in it – it’s fulfilling.”

-Mercedes Austin

To read more about the beginnings of Mercury Mosaics, visit Girl Talk HQ's blog "No, My Husband does not Run The Finances and Yes, I Own This Place"

Mercedes Austin

Where it's Made

Located in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, our historic factory is airy, light-filled and inspiring. Since 1902, the Thorp Building has been bringing makers and small businesses together to create a community of artists. When Mercedes first started Mercury Mosaics, she dreamed of a sunlit factory with high ceilings where artists would be inspired to come to work everyday. 17 years later, we have just that. With 33 pairs of human hands and 7 pairs of dog paws, we all work together to create one-of-a-kind handmade tile.

To learn more about our factory, head over to Our Story page. 

Handmade Tile Factory

How it's Made

At the core of our company, we have an undeniable belief in natural materials and American-made quality. That’s why we use three different local and sustainably sourced clay bodies from our friends at Minnesota Clay Company. Each tile is hand cut by one of our talented Tile Elves and set aside to dry. With 12 different shapes, and multiple patterns within those shapes, the options for creativity are endless. Every decision we make from choosing the clay body to calculating the exact size of the tile, is made with care.

To find out more about our shapes and sizes, visit our blog "Tile Guide - Our Shapes and Sizes"

Making Handmade Tile


After the tile has dried, it is sent over to glazing. Because we glaze every tile by hand, each one is truly unique. From the amount of glaze applied, to the direction of the brushstrokes, our glaze variation is dependent on human hands. It is these differences that give us a unique opportunity to create beauty that is distinctly original. 

For more on handmade tile variation, visit our blog "Fall in Love with Every Style of Handcrafted Tile"

Glazing Handmade Tile


After the glaze has dried, the tile is loaded into one of 7 kilns where they are fired at different temperatures around 2000 degrees for 8 hours. From the way the tiles are cut, to the direction in which they are glazed, to the temperature at which they are fired, all effect the outcome. These little details are what give our tile character and personality that is unbeatable.

For more benefits of handmade tile, visit our blog "7 Benefits of Handmade Tile"

Firing Handmade Tile


This is where the magic all comes together. Our layout artists meticulously lay tile by tile onto mesh sheeting to ensure an easy installation. Our projects range from standard one shape/one glaze combinations to 12 shape/100 glaze combinations. No matter the degree of complexity, use our considerable experience to make it easy. Every piece goes through at least 9 pairs of hands before it is ready to ship, that means your space will have a personal and livable feeling that you just can't find elsewhere. 

To learn more about our layout process, visit our blog "Mesh Sheets - the Answer to your Install Questions"

Handmade Tile Layout

See How it's Made

We'd love to share the beauty of handmade tile with you. Our design studio is open by appointment & we're always happy to schedule a production studio tour too!

Mercury Mosaics Design Studio

Mercury Mosaics and Tile - Our Story 

Order tile samples to see, touch, and fall in love with our handmade tiles in person. We would also love to hear what inspires you! Did our step by step process for our handmade artisan tile give you any inspiration? Tell us more about your future project and get the ball rolling

The post Handmade Artisan Tile Our Step by Step Process appeared first on Artisan Tile Company: Handmade Ceramic Tiles by Mercury Mosaics.

Feeling inspired? Let's get this tile fired.

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