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What in Southern California is commonly known as Catalina tile, or also Malibu tile, comes from the California revival movement of the early 20th century. Using a technique centuries old from Europe and before from the Middle East, a design of lines is applied by screen to a pre-glazed body. The oily substance used, called wax-resist, allows for a thick layer of glaze to be applied between the lines by rubber syringe without crossing the lines of the design. Upon firing, a high relief, perfectly symmetrical design remains. Traditionally, a black line is left by the wax resist, but in our more subtle designs, we have chosen for the line to disappear.
Once produced in a factory on Catalina island, 22 miles off shore from Los Angeles, Catalina tile adorns the serpentine wall that snakes along Crescent Avenue, the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens, the old Bird Park aviary, benches, storefronts, fountains and numerous homes and buildings around the town.
For only a decade, from 1927 to 1937, functional tile and decorative pottery were produced by residents at the Catalina Clay Products Co., where as many as 70 workers were employed, doing everything from collecting red clay from pits in the rugged interior to designing shapes and mixing colors, forming the clay into square tile or distinctly shaped pottery, firing it in kilns, and selling it at local tourist shops.
Today the pottery has become a collector’s item, prized by aficionados for its distinctive glaze and colors. Around Avalon, most of the tiles are authentic but some, succumbing to age or the elements, have been replaced by high-quality reproductions.
Typically, Catalina decorative tiles depict pastoral island scenes or animals, most commonly brightly colored fish or birds, as in the murals at Bird Park. Other tiles are molded into abstract or Moorish-style patterns, in rounded or star-like shapes. Many emulate the Art-Deco style in vogue in the 1920s.
Los Angeles Times, September 17, 1989
Talavera tiles have many creators among Mexican tile companies, but only Latin Accents offers both artistic handcrafted porcelain tile and traditional clay body ceramic tile for use in all climates and all installations. Porcelain pool tile that is tested to be frost resistant or for stair riser accent tile, outdoor kitchen tile decoration, retaining wall tile or for use in fountains are possible with our unique exterior tile creations. Similarly it can be used as decorative tile for kitchen backsplashes, bathroom sink and tile, and as floor tile accents. Latin Accents’ traditional ceramic clay body for use indoors or in mild climates, are made of handcrafted tile bodies for a more rustic look. Our talavera tile designs are almost entirely uniquely ours. Latin Accents’ Catalina tile line has been created to complement as accent tile, patios of natural stone, terra cotta and earth toned ceramics, bringing a new direction to the Mexican talavera tile tradition.
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