[laNeva News] Announcing Beetlekill Pine Tile

In our quest to provide the coolest, most unique artisan-made tile in the USA, we approached Ryan Schlaefer of Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture in Loveland, Colorado to partner with laNeva to produce tile using an uncommon material: waste wood killed by the Northern Pine Beetle.

Before we get into the details of the wood, we have to tell you about Ryan: A graduate of the Art Institute of Colorado, Ryan’s contemporary furniture pieces have a sense of scale and artful mix of materials that can only come from an artist’s eye. Not just a furniture maker, Ryan uses the beauty of form to create one-of-a-kind (as well as ready-to-ship) pieces using beetlekill pine and an array of other woods.

Now back to the tile.

Beetlekill 1"x 2"

 

Wood tile? Wood killed by beetles? Yes and Yes.

Beetlekill wood is a waste product in many western states in the USA. Instead of letting the wood go to the chipper or providing unwanted fuel to forest fires, it is gaining a unique following and being cut and milled for everything from furniture to building materials.  Artists like Ryan Schalefer have developed a love for the look and story behind this unusual wood and incorporated this waste-wood into gorgeous contemporary furniture and fixtures- and now decorative wall tile.

The extraordinary detail about beetlekill pine is the streaking left by the beetles. The beetles leave an enzyme in the wood that turns the graining blue, gray, purple, or even rust colored. Each piece is an incredible act of nature, completely unique and available only through laNeva Artisan Tile.

For accent walls (non-wet locations), our Beetlekill pine tile can be applied with an epoxy straight to the substrate with butt-joints. No need for grout. Our pine tile is composed of 1/4″ beetle-kill pine with a backer of 1/4″ plywood, attached using a high-pressure lamination process. Before leaving the artists hands, the pine is sanded and edges smoothed, then a clear polyurethane is applied. We are currently offering 1″ x 2″ , 1″x 4″, 2″x 2″ and 2″x 4″ sizes. Additional sizes and finished edging pieces can be produced by request.

Our beetlekill tile has a very low expansion and contraction rate due to the plywood backer and as a result, it can be used in conjunction with our ceramic or SK8 tile and either butt-jointed without grout or grouted (using a flexible grout) to create a dynamic multi-media tile installation. If using in a damp location such as a backsplash, we recommend using a grouted installation with a sealer applied after install to both the grout and wood tile.

laNeva’s BEETLEKILL PINE TILE IS made from reclaimed waste wood in Colorado. This is beautiful, unique, functional tile with quite a story!

 

For more info about this or our other tile collections such as GLASS, SK8, Modico or our original Handmade Solid and Rift Glaze ceramics, contact us! [email protected]

To learn about the wood artisan, Ryan Schlaefer, please visit the Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture website, like their page on Facebook or read about his work in the Vail Business Journal.

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laNeva Receives Houzz’s 2012 ‘Best Of Remodeling’ Award

houzz interior design ideas

First-Ever Survey & Analysis of More than 1.2 Million Members Reveals Top-Rated Professionals and Current Design Trends from Across the Country

[MINNEAPOLIS, MN]  –  May 2, 2012 – laNeva Artisan Tile of Minneapolis, MN has been awarded  “Best Of Remodeling” 2012 by Houzz, the leading online platform for residential remodeling and design.  The custom tile studio, specializing in ceramic and mixed media tile designs was chosen by the more than 1.2 million registered members of the Houzz community.

The Houzz “Best Of Remodeling” award for 2012 is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction award winners are based on homeowner members who rated their experience working with remodeling professionals in 12 categories ranging from architects, and interior designers to contractors and other residential remodeling professionalsDesign award winners’ work was the most popular among the 1.2 million members, also known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 16.5 million professional images to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site and iPad/iPhone app.

We’re excited to receive the Houzz Best of Remodeling Award for 2012.  Houzz has been a great resource for our work and for the field of Interior Design in general.  We’re thrilled to be listed among such great companies!  ~Lisa La Nasa, founder of laNeva Artisan Tile

“With 3.5 million monthly unique users and 80 million monthly page views, Houzz has rapidly become the largest community of active remodelers, providing homeowners and design enthusiasts with first-hand advice from Houzzers who have been through the renovating and decorating process,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of marketing for Houzz. “This is a real stamp of approval for laNeva Tile from the Houzz community and we’re thrilled to welcome them to this elite group of ‘Best Of’ winners.”

With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like laNeva Tile, but also those whose work visually aligns with their own design goals. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and evaluating their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

 laNeva Artisan Tile, established in January 2008 by Interior Designer Lisa La Nasa, has developed an aesthetic and product line like no other. Specializing in the design and creation of handcrafted ceramic wall tile, laNeva Tile has expanded to offer artisan-made glass tile in bold sizes and shapes, along with 100% recycled materials such as skateboard tile and reclaimed wood.  Custom designs are the specialty in this boutique tile studio and can incorporate one or many materials into mixed-media tile installations.

About Houzz

Houzz (www.houzz.com) is the leading online platform for home remodeling, providing inspiration, information, advice and support for homeowners and home improvement professionals through its website and mobile applications. Houzz features the largest residential design database in the world, articles written by design experts, product recommendations, a vibrant community powered by social tools, and information on more than 1.2 million remodeling and design professionals worldwide who can help turn ideas into reality. @houzz_inc

 

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Thanks for everyone’s support!  We love what we do and couldn’t do it without you!!!

 

 

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Zelle Glass Studio for laNeva Artisan Tile

Zelle Glass has an incredible history creating commissioned glass sculpture, countertops and gallery pieces.

Peter Zelle is a master of the glassmaking process and the head of a studio with whom we are very proud to partner. We’ve attempted to illustrate the laborious process of making the laNeva GLASS Collection here.  While intriguing, it does not truly convey the time and attention that goes into making every tile.

Read on to learn how each laNeva GLASS tile is produced:

  • The first step is to create a silicon mold in the size of the desired tile.  A mixture of plaster and silica powder is mixed with water until it is a slurry, like pancake mix, and then poured into the silicon mold.
  • When the plaster/silica hardens, the mold is pulled off. Now there is a 4”x4” space where the glass tile forms.
  • Colored glass frit, like coarse sugar, are sprinkled into the plaster/silica mold. This 1/8” layer of color is then covered with chunks of clear glass. These chunks are irregular shapes which create beautiful shadowy lines in the tiles where the chunk edges melt together.
  • Once all the glass is put into molds, they are loaded into the kiln.
  • The tiles are heated slowly over 12 hours to 1250° F and held there for 3 more hours. This allows all the bubbles to reach the surface. Next the kiln is raised to 1550° F and the glass pools and flows like honey.
  • Glass needs to be annealed, or cooled slowly. This relieves any stress in the glass so no cracking will occur. This process takes 12 more hours.
  • Once the tiles are cooled they are removed from the plaster/silica mold. The plaster/silica just breaks apart and is discarded.
  • The second half of the glass tile making process involves grinding the edges of the tiles and then fire polishing them in the kiln.
  • The grinding is done on a water fed flattening wheel with a 200 grit diamond pad. This is a semi coarse grit which will smooth out any imperfections from the mold. Then the tiles are placed back in the kiln at room temperature and heated over 1 hour to 1000° F.
  • Now the fire polishing takes place. The kiln temp is then raised to 1450° F. At that point the edges of the tiles start to round just a bit and the coarse ground areas gloss over and become smooth and shiny.
  • The kiln is then quickly cooled by opening the door a bit until it is back down to 1000° F. The pieces are annealed again over 12 hours.
  • Finally they are removed from the kiln and the back sides are hand painted white to give the brilliant colors a background to glow against.

To learn more about laNeva GLASS options, colors and specs, see the collection on our website and blog launch post.

 

 

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Environmental Statement

Green?  Eco?  Environmentally Friendly?

There is much information in the news about “Green” products.  We hate the word “Green” (since there is no tangible way to measure a “green” product) and prefer not to define ourselves by that term.

What’s important  to us is the overall environmental impact of a product, evaluated by the life cycle costs involved in a products’ production, maintenance and ultimately, its disposal.

laNeva Artisan Tile was founded on the idea that tile glazes should NEVER contain lead. Since we’ve been manufacturing tile, we’ve developed other ways to minimize our environmental impact through creative reuse of waste and reduction of extraneous materials. Everyday we do what we can and continually evaluate and improve our processes. We care about the world and want to see it stick around for our children, grandchildren and beyond.

Read laNeva’s environmental statement here or click on the “Environment” tab above.

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5 Myths of Handmade

There are many myths (or rather half-truths) about handmade products and those who produce them. We wanted to dispel some of these stereotypes and set the record straight (at least about our product!)

1.) We are dirty hippies

Absolutely not! While we love the unique nature of all things handmade (and we do own Birkenstocks),  we generally do not consider ourselves hippies. Well, maybe sometimes.  I do have a hippie skirt that I love… but I digress.

2.) We DO love the earth and want to help it any way we can.

Yes, very true. Handmade products often have a smaller ecological footprint, utilize more recycled or upcycled materials and a benefit from smaller shipping radius than their mass-produced counterparts. Plus, in buying handmade, you support the local economy and the artisans who produce these unique products.

3.) We produce tile by hand as much for the art, process and personal enjoyment, as the green attributes and final product.

Yes, we LOVE what we do!  Tile are like puzzle pieces. You need to find the correct fit to create the desired overall picture. Through the design, production and layout of tile, we keep our hands in the mud (quite literally) to produce a very personally satisfying product.

4.) We sell our product everywhere –  art fairs, block parties, boutiques, you name it and we’re there.

No. We have great relationships set up with the vendors of our tile and laNeva is NOT available everywhere.  We have an exclusive product line that is available through Designers, Architects, select showrooms such as Christopher’s Baths and Kitchens and our representatives, Spacial Adaptation.

(So instead of hippie, your going high-end with this “Exclusive” thing??)

Well.. in a sense, yes. We create a luxury product by hand and it is not intended to compete with the cheaply made $5/sf machine-made tile out there – Just as a hand-knit sweater with New Zealand wool targets a completely different market than an acrylic sweater from Target made in China. Different markets, traits, aesthetics and buyer motivation.

5.) We urge everyone to consider handmade instead of machine-made products when possible.

Yes!! While we know you can’t purchase handmade for everything, the intrinsic warmth, character and care put into development and production of a handmade product cannot be rivaled by machine-made products. We all need to be aware of this energy and help to support those who create (either products or jobs for those who create products) for a living.

We love (did we say love?  We mean LOVE) all things handmade and we are thrilled that there are so many people out there who “get” the value of handmade.

As a colleague, Carter Averbeck of Trompe Decorative Finishes put it during this holiday season:

“Bring cheer to your holidays by shopping local small businesses. Not only are you supporting the economy, you are supporting a small business owner who also is in need of a wonderful holiday season. Without Mom & Pop shops and their spectacular approach to customer service, we’d all suffer from lack of a true community and connectedness to each other. Shop local and your impact to make someone else’s holiday special will not go unnoticed!”

Thanks Carter, and thanks to all of you who have supported laNeva Tile in our quest for a beautiful, functional handmade product that will last for many years to come.  Now maybe I should change out of these Birkenstocks…

May your holidays be warm and bright!

(or if you prefer, Have a Happy Hippie Holiday!)

from Lisa, Jodi and Leslie for laNeva Artisan Tile


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Top 6 Reasons laNeva Tile is NOT For You

Although we’d love for everyone to have laNeva Artisan Tile gracing their bathroom, kitchen backsplash or reception  area, we know that our tile is not for everyone. How do you know if laNeva tile is not for you? We have a few pointers:

1.) You want tile that is uniform in color, texture and size. You need a machine-made tile rather than the inherent variation that comes with a handmade product like ours.

2.) You need tile yesterday, or today and can’t wait for it. laNeva Tile is made by hand for every order and is not pre-made or stocked. It takes time to produce and while many times it can be shipped earlier, our standard lead time is 4-6 weeks.

3.) You would like to color-match existing tile or design elements. laNeva has a solid color palette of 12 glazes.  It is possible that one of our colors may be a close match to what you need but we cannot create specialty glazes.  Please order a sample pack of 4 tiles (or our full-line sample pack of 16 tiles) to see examples in person before ordering.

4.) You are looking for a raised-pattern tile or an historic reproduction piece. While laNeva Tile fits into many different architectural styles, we do not produce molded or carved tile. There are many other handmade tile makers who do so beautifully.

5.) You need a floor tile. laNeva tile is approved for all interior wall uses and can be used as an accent on a low-traffic floor such as a residential bathroom or powder room.  Please note that our many high-gloss glaze colors can possibly scratch if used on any floor or if improperly cleaned.

6.) You need to meet a $5/SF (or less) budget. While we work with many different budgets, there are times when not even a decorative border or dot accent of handmade tile can fit the bill. We understand that our tiles are not for everyone at every time, so we hope you come back to us next time you need tile or  refer a friend who may be interested in a unique look. (Really though, our 2×2 “dots” are under $5 each.  Anyone can afford a smattering of gorgeous handmade tile!)

Please contact us with any questions or to see if laNeva Artisan Tile is the right fit for your project.

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The Dirt – Glazes

#84 Siren showing brush strokes on 2x2 tile

Many of the glazes in the laNeva tile line create a fabulous watercolor-like finish on the tiles. This is in part due to our use of 100% lead free glaze and is even more apparent on the larger size tiles. Lead-free glaze does not move or melt as much in the firing process as leaded glazes do, and since we brush all of our glazes on by hand instead of spraying them on, the character of the brush strokes is apparent in some of our final tiles. Colors that have more obvious brush strokes are Oregano, Siren, Dune, Curry and Café.

The nature of the brush strokes all depends on the thickness of glaze application. Thinner coats of glaze show brush strokes more than thickly applied coats. Since laNeva tiles are all handmade, there will always be variation from tile to tile and order to order.

Contemporary Ceramic Tile, color green sage oregano

laNeva's #90 Oregano with Overglazed edge

**laNeva Tile also offers overglazed edges when you need a tile with a finished edge. This overglazed edge is our version of the bullnose tile. We add an overglazed edge to create a finished edge at the side of a backsplash, shower wall or top of wainscoting, just to name a few applications. The tile edge remains square and the glaze color wraps all the way around the side thickness of the tile to create a uniform, finished side.

See more examples of our Solid Color glazes and our Exclusive Rift Series tiles where we combine two colors on one tile for a unique, contemporary appearance.

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The Dirt – Installation

Want to learn more about the specifics of laNeva tile? You can be-in-the-know about all the dirt (because that is all that clay really is) and behind the scenes stuff.

More about glazes, grout and our clay body later, today is all about installation.

Installation of laNeva Tiles:

We’ve created the perfect system to make install a cinch.

laNeva Artisan Tile offers any of our solid colors, Rift Series and sizes mesh mounted. In fact our tiles can be mesh mounted in sections up to 12″x 12″, numbered and shipped with an installation map of your personalized tile design. This ensures that mesh sections fit together as planned and you get the final design that you desire.

Mesh mounted tiles make installation a snap for your professional tile installer. While we always recommend hiring a professional tile installer to get the most uniform installation and best possible look- our mesh mounting can greatly ease the stress for a do-it-yourselfer as well.

If you really want to install yourselves, it can be done with amazing results. Check out this fantastic owner-installed fireplace of laNeva’s LOOSE #90 Oregano tiles in 2×4, 1×2 and 1×1 sizes. Great job Mr. S!

* We also offer overglazed edges for any outside edge/corner. These were used on the fireplace where the tile overlaps the fire box insert. More info on these specialty pieces to in our post about Glaze and overglazed edges.

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How is LaNeva Tile Produced?

LaNeva Artisan Tile is produced when we receive your order. It takes a little longer to get to you than just pulling items off the shelf, but it is worth the wait. We can produce a design perfectly for you using our many unique sizes and colors.

Making handmade tile is a detailed process with many exacting steps:

  • First, the raw clay needs to be rolled out into a precise thickness: Our standard thickness is 3/8″ which is the perfect thickness if you are matching our tiles to stone tiles or many other handmade tiles. It also makes a great thickness for creating drama when used with machine made tile. Order the overglazed edges and you have a great play of height differences….but I digress.
  • After the clay sheet is rolled, the tile shapes are cut for exactly the size, shape and quantity ordered.
  • The raw clay shapes are then moved onto trays and placed on racks to dry. This drying can take up to 10 days.
  • For our larger sizes, once dry, the fragile dried clay is carefully stacked into an electric kiln and fired. This makes the clay body solid and easy to handle. This is called a bisque firing. We do not bisque fire our smaller sizes.
  • After cooling, we paint the glaze colors onto the clay body by hand. In our larger tile sizes, you may see our brush strokes from how we applied the glaze. This is a look that machine made tiles cannot reproduce.
  • Then the tiles have to dry again.
  • After the second drying, the glazed tiles are carefully stacked and fired again at temperatures between 1800-1900 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The tiles are allowed to cool, removed by hand and examined for quality.

Because LaNeva tiles are handmade, and each tile is a work of art, each tile will have variations in color, shape, and texture.

We then lay the completed tiles out to verify the quantity of the order and mesh mount if needed. All of our tiles are then packed carefully in recycled shipping boxes along with recycled packing materials and sent out to their final destination via UPS. It’s a process that takes us between 4-6 weeks, but we are sure you will be thrilled with the result.

If you have additional questions, check out our FAQ page or contact us at [email protected]

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