29 May 2012

Molten Gold – Subway Stop

I’ve always liked the simplicity and casual style of subway tile.  In fact, I specified it for a spread that will be featured in Kitchen and Bath Ideas’ November/December issue. Had I seen this handsome Workshop by McIntyre rustic glazed brick collection from clé when I was planning it, this would have been that kitchen’s backsplash instead. Next time… 

So, what do I like about this offering? For one, it’s easy care and durable, both high on my Sensible Style priority list. Second, it’s got a ton of character while maintaining the simple appeal of subway tile. Glazed brick tile is not fussy, getting its good looks from soft edges, deep finishes and lots of texture, (like the bricks that inspired it). It’s handcrafted without being kitsch. And it’s made in the USA, not overseas. (Woo hoo for buying American!) 

About the Tile 

The process of creating this collection’s rustic brick tiles starts with the clay. It is mined in California (where I live and work) and purposefully left in a raw state. This allows metallic particles to bleed through the glaze, causing charming speckles, dimples and bubbles. The two-and-a-half inch by eight inch brick cladding is extruded in a long column of clay and then sliced into half-inch tiles with a wire apparatus, similar to harp strings. Dried and then fired up to 2400 degrees (F), the glazes are hand-sprayed, resulting in their slight variations. Workshop brick subway tile can be used indoors and out, (though is intended mainly for wall, rather than heavy traffic floor, applications), and has been fully tested by the Brick Institute of America for freeze thaw temperatures. 

About the Collection 

When working on a NYC Subway project, McIntyre Tile developed several hundred glazes attempting to match the original tile that had been weathering underground for 100 years. This led to the Workshop Series Liberty and New California collections, available exclusively on clé. Liberty is glazed in a palette of matte and glossy industrial whites, blacks and grays with cherry red added for drama. New California takes its visual cue from a cool mid-century rainbow of dark moss, oatmeal, rusts and tans. A cobalt blue pops against the vintage Neutra-inspired palette. 

About McIntyre Tile 

McIntyre Tile has been making tile in Northern California since 1972. The company’s inspiration comes from the love of ceramics, glaze chemistry, color and the desire to contribute to the vision of design professionals. 

About clé 

clé (pronounced, appropriately, like clay), is a new online gallery of artisanal tile from around the world. The power of the Internet creates wide distribution opportunities for these small, artistic pieces, often made in limited production from tiny studios. There is no minimum order when buying tile from clé. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with some of clé’s competitors; now you have a new small quantity resource. (Tell them Jamie from Gold Notes sent you!) 

The Facts 

Specifications:  On website

Web site:  cletile.com

Price: $16.50 Per Square Foot/No Minimums


  1. thanks, jamie for the lovely article! the glazes for these tiles are addictive. the new problem; how to choose one color!

  2. Thank you, Deborah. I entirely agree... Can't wait to use them in a project!


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