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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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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