What We Do
Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Motawi Tileworks makes handcrafted ceramic tile as art pieces and for residential and commercial installations. More than 30 years ago, Owner and Artistic Director Nawal Motawi began creating historically inspired tile in her garage and selling it at the local farmers market. Demand for her work grew, and in 1992 Motawi 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 tiles 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.
The Tile-Making Process
Motawi Tileworks makes three tile types:
- Art tile: Glazed, multicolored tile for display or installation.
- Field tile: Glazed, single-colored tile for installation.
- Relief tile: Glazed, single-colored tile with a sculpted surface (primarily for installation).
First, tile designs are etched into plaster molds. Clay is pressed into the mold, trimmed and bisque-fired in the kiln. Each tile is then glazed by hand and returned to the kiln for a final firing. With the intricate art tiles, Motawi glazers employ the centuries-old Cuenca technique, carefully filling glazes into the “basins” created by thin, raised lines in the clay.