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There’s no other way to say it, we’re smitten with Clayhaus Ceramics tile. It’s not just the vibrant colors and fresh patterns, it’s the craftsmanship that goes into every single tile that comes out of their studio. Whether your style is traditional, traditional or something altogether different, you’ll find a pattern and color to love from this company.
We were honored to visit the Clayhaus Ceramics studio, where the tile is handmade, starting from blocks of clay that are extruded and hand-cut, glazed with house-created colors, fired in-house and assembled into their gorgeous finished tiles.
In the Clayhaus Ceramics studio.
There are many steps in crafting handmade tile – this is just a glimpse and by no means covers the whole process.
Our Questions for Jason and Megan:
How long have you been designing and creating tile?
My passion for tile-making and creating art by hand led me to found the Stardust Glass tile line in 2006, along with my wife Megan, which was our first venture together into entrepreneurship. Post-recession, we transitioned from glass to ceramic tile to ultimately form Clayhaus Ceramics in 2010.
How did you learn your craft?
My parents are renowned ceramicists — Tom and Elaine Coleman—true leaders in the ceramics arts movement of the 1960s – 1970s. Being raised in that type of home environment influenced me tremendously. My formal art training comes in the form of a general art studies degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and I later gained professional experience making molds for architectural building facades including the Venetian Hotel & Casino. In the summer of 2001, I accepted a tile production and sales position at Pratt & Larson Tile & Stone, a nationally known ceramic tile studio and factory in Portland.
Who or what inspired you to pursue tile design?
I draw much of the inspiration for our work, and even our Company name, from the Bauhaus movement and mid-century architecture and design. I am often asked how I get tile design inspiration, but it is more the process of making the tile that gets my creative juices flowing. I was very inspired by the experience I had working in a tile factory and it fueled me to discover my own passion and love for the creative process of tile making.
Where does Clayhaus Ceramics draw inspiration for the tile designs you create? And how about all of the bold colors!? How do you come up with them?
We are particularly fascinated with the pop art movement that emerged in the mid-1950’s; and influenced by artists such as Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns. A source of inspiration that we refer to as our “Bible” is a book by Lesley Jackson called, “The Sixties-Decade of Design Revolution”. It is a fabulous reference with a broad overview with everything from clothing, textiles, lighting to furniture, ceramics and home decor, all with an emphasis on simple geometric form and bold colors.
What are a few ways that Clayhaus Ceramics stands out among tile makers?
Our love for color and simple tile design. We are personally attracted to simple combinations of bold color and minimal geometric shapes and the emotional responses they evoke in us and in others. To us, there is nothing more visually striking than a large field of mosaic tile with undulating color and texture. This is what Clayhaus is all about.
Do you have any childhood memories of yourselves – interests or activities – that you now see as clues to who you’ve become?
I grew up on a small farm in Canby, Oregon and my childhood consisted of hanging out at home watching my mom and dad work in their home-based pottery studio. I didn’t have parents working the typical 9-5 job, so I just thought everyone had parents that worked from home as artists. Turns out it was pretty much just mine and our family was known around town as the “weirdo hippie artists”. This was in Canby, after all. Point being, is that I was never interested in working a traditional 9-5 job. DIY is the only way.
If you weren’t running Clayhaus Ceramics, what would you be doing?
Making music as professional musicians. Both my wife and I are passionate about making and recording music. This is actually what I used to do for a living in Las Vegas, NV.
What are a couple of distinctive ways that people implement your tile in their homes?
Our tiles are mostly installed as kitchen back splashes, shower surrounds, bathroom vanities and fireplace surrounds. Sometimes bathroom floors, but mostly we recommend a vertical install.
Can you give us a sneak peak or hint of anything that’s coming for Clayhaus Ceramics?
We are developing a vitreous tile, which has a more Earthy, organic look and feel. We are excited to release this because the tiles will be suitable for all applications.