The Bee-Gees at Motawi: Bulb-Glazing 101

We hold weekly tours of our factory, allowing visitors to see clay being pressed and trimmed and our army of kilns firing. By far, the most enchanting stop is the bulb-glazing room—a sun-drenched, ethereal space where our bulb-glazers (we call them “the Bee-Gees”) sit in zen-like quiet, intently adding glaze to our polychrome tile.

Each tile can take from 5 minutes to as much as 1 hour to color. The process is not unlike a paint-by-number: The glazers follow a labeled map of their finished piece for specific colorway details. They use bulb syringes fitted with tips to pool glaze between the tile’s raised lines, a very old process known as “cuenca.”

The Bee-Gees are known for their surgeon-steady hands. Their art takes from three to six months to learn—and this is even with the art background that most of them have already. They all take a lot of pride in what they do. That’s why they sign the back of every tile they glaze. Turn your own tile over to see.