Owner and Artistic Director
Nawal Motawi (pronounced No-EL Mo-TAO-ee) founded Motawi Tileworks in 1992. After graduating from the University of Michigan’s Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, Nawal moved to Detroit to learn tile-making at the renowned Pewabic Pottery. She later returned to Ann Arbor, where she began creating historically inspired tile in her garage and selling it at the local farmers market.
As demand grew for her handcrafted tile, Nawal formed The Tileworks, which came to specialize in Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts and Midcentury Modern aesthetics. In addition to its own unique designs, The Tileworks is also licensed to produce art tile based on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Charley Harper. Motawi art tiles are now sold in more than 300 locations in the U.S. and Canada, and Motawi tile installations grace homes and public spaces worldwide.
In 2011, Nawal purchased The Tileworks’ clay supplier, Rovin Ceramics. Also located in Ann Arbor, Rovin Ceramics provides clay, pottery tools and supplies for schools, potters and ceramic artists and organizations. Together, Motawi’s companies employ more than 40 people.
Nawal is a Michigan native and an Arab American; her father was a first-generation immigrant from Egypt. She enjoys travel, dance (especially salsa, swing and folk dance), playing the melodeon (the diatonic button accordion) and spending time with her son.