The beautiful Zellige of Morroco (it means “tile” in Arabic) made their appearance around the 10thcentury. Zellige making is considered an art in itself. The art is transmitted from generation to generation by maâlems (master craftsmen). A long training starts at childhood to implant the required skills.
Assiduous attention to detail is needed when creating zellige. The small shapes (cut according to a precise radius gauge), painted and enamel covered pieces are then assembled in a geometrical structure as in a puzzle to form the completed mosaic.
During the Marinid dynasty in 13th-15th century Morocco, it was further elevated and popularized, ornamenting walls, fountains, tables, floors, counter-tops, ceilings and sometimes even entire mosques.
Today Zellige is still practiced and are laboriously baked, hand cut and painted by designers just as they were 1300 years ago.
The process starts, as all traditional ceramics, by extracting clay from either underground mines or open pits. Then letting the slurry settle and dry to a shapable consistancy.
After thoroughly drying, the tiles are ready for firing. This is done in a traditional shaped beehive kiln fired by the waste of olive pressing.
In order to seal the Zellige so that it will resist water, the tiles are glazed. The glazing materials will be suspended in a water slurry and each tile will be dipped face down. This is done by hand. Colour is the result of metal oxides being included in the glaze.
Moroccan Zellige gets shaped after the glazing. The intricate designs are made from small pieces of tiles that have been chiseled and chipped into shapes from the glazed tile blanks.
Design and formats
Zelliges come in a variety of forms, colors and designs.
What about zebra tiles.
The zebra series is a modular set of ten different formats. The glazes are placed manually on a terra cotta surface. Especially the zebra ‘black’ and zebra ‘white’ are used together. The zebra series can also be glazed with other colors as they appear in the zellige program.
Zebra are placed with a 3 mm joint and are irregular in shape.
The hand-finish and irregularity give a distinctive character to these tiles, used both in a rustic and modern interior.
Zebra Black – White
Heritage hand panted
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