Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Handmade and vibrant- Athangudi tiles

When my seven year old son, was told that we are about to visit a tile factory, he wasn't a bit enthusiastic about it but the sheer experience of seeing deft hands at work left him mesmerized and then he wasn't ready to return! Such was our thrill of visiting the factory at Athangudi which is world famous for making handmade tiles.

Four tiles assembled to form one pattern!

A single colourful tile

 Since these tiles are handmade, each piece is unique. The patterns on Athangudi tiles are as a result of the design frames which have to be made first. The person in charge of the factory told us that there are very less number of artisans now, who make these design frames. As a craft it is probably dying a slow death.
Frame for making the design

Let me give you a glimpse of how these tiles are made in the form of pictures and videos.

Have a look at the video to understand how a plain tile is made...

The tiles are made from a mixture of cement and sand.All the impurities from the sand are first filtered. Then a running dough of cement,sand, water and colour is prepared by mixing these together.

Square glass slabs form the base for the tile. A metal frame is placed on the glass slab. For a plain single coloured tile, the above running mixture is poured over the frame.Sand, cement mix is sprinkled all over to absorb moisture.
Incase of design tiles, another designed frame is placed to form the design.Then the colour solution is poured in the different compartments of the frame.

There are skilled artisans too, who sometimes don't use these designed frames! Instead they pour the colour manually on the glass slab and stir it manually to create a design. But such is their expertise in this craft that batch after batch they churn out innumerable quantities of exactly the same tiles!

Now, the border frame is removed and the tile is left to dry at room temperature for a few hours and later cured in water by keeping it soaked in a water tank for about 6-7 days.

Watch another short video to see how the tile is seperated from the glass with ease and then the corners and edges are filed to a smoother surface.

Tiles left in a water tank for curing

Then  the tiles are dried in the sun. The glass eases out from the tile smoothly and a perfect glossy finished Athangudi tiles are created.

A well laid out floor with Atahngudi tiles

These tiles apparently are hassle free to maintain and remains glossy without any polishing. Am completely floored by the wonderful patterns and the eye catchy colours!

So how did you find this post? The next post is a small makeover that I attempted recently...So catch you soon.


Pentam Naidu said...

Excellent tiles.

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