How It Works
HANDMADE TILE. HANDMADE MOLDING
KMT/BCIA is an environmentally friendly company. We clean and or recycle our water, Spray booth air, clay and paper products. Our pigments are all water based. Our tools of choice are the human hand and our imagination.
The following information will give you and idea of the process we use to create the Ken Mason collections represented on this site. Welcome to our world.
A closer look at our main entrance.This facade was designed, manufactured and installed by our own craftsmen. Custom decorative handmade tile and moldings are our specialty.
When orders arrive, usually by fax or e-mail, the office staff inspects them for necessary information and enters them into the computer system. They are then turned over to Information checker who verifies the work order is complete regarding all details needed to proceed. If the office staff misses anything, Information checker will catch it. If any information is lacking we will notify you by either e-mail or fax. Your quick response will help move your project along more swiftly. The work order is then forwarded to the production line. This forwarding of the information is done both physically (hard copy), and through our computer tracking system. This allows our customer service people to follow the order throughout the process. Any delays can be identified and dealt with at any time.
Each handmade tile team (Office, Sampling, Production, Art, Packaging, and Shipping) enters the status of each order they are working on into their computer and master server daily. If samples are required, or if you are sending samples for color matching, customer service takes over and requests the necessary samples from our sample dept or holds the order until your sample arrives. All the correspondence are kept together with the original order. We request that all communications concerning your order be in writing. E-mail, Fax or good old US Mail.
When the order gets to the production line, each handmade unfinished clay piece (we stock the clay body) is inspected and detailed to insure that it matches the standard of the particular handmade tile or molding bisque being used. Then, the material is ready for the glazing or the finishing process.
Handmade tile or molding to be antiqued, are stained (hand rubbed) which leaves the color predominantly in the recesses of each specific piece.
Hand Painted tiles are painted with ceramic stains one at a time. We have a full staff of very talented artists. We have our own designs but we will produce an original design you might request. Murals or groupings of handmade tiles to create a design or pictorial of your choosing, are available. Some of the handmade tiles are sprayed and some are brushed with the final finish of gloss, satin or matte glaze.
After the entire handmade tile order has had the finished glaze coat applied, pieces are taken at random and fired to verify accuracy of results. All the handmade tiles and or moldings are then loaded in tile setters for firing. (right side photo) Certain finishes that require special firing techniques, are loaded in separate areas. (Photo on left).
Carved Stone is in stock ready for staining and sealing .The natural variation in hardness and texture of this material makes color absorption vary from piece to piece and within each piece. Many colored stains are available. The staining enhances the details of the carved design as well as the natural beauty of the stone. The natural veining of stone also adds to the beauty of the finished product.
When the handmade tile or molding is taken out of the kilns it is inspected to assure color compliance. Each color has an acceptable range
When our handmade tile or molding is to be sealed (Colonial Clay, Patina Stone, Windsor etc) they are first bisque fired. Then the pieces are sealed with clear penetrating sealer, (some finishes require stain in the sealer) some get antiquing stain and wax over the sealer (500 system & Capistrano) and some get colors first, then the sealer & then antiquing stain and wax (Patina Stone and Patina Stone II).
Our Great Hall, (left) is usually reserved for celebrations. However when interior space is occupied with other projects, we temporarily convert the Great Hall to a work area.
Display boards are assembled here 12"X18" is the preferred dimension. Some handmade tiles or moldings make the preferred size difficult to achieve and make it hard to create an attractive and functional concept panel. Therefore some size adjustment, for some shapes, may be necessary. Handmade tile Color panels are generally smaller, Handmade tile floor panels are generally larger (we do not mount panels larger than 24x24 unless specifically requested).
We warehouse 100s of thousands of handmade tiles as well as approximately 300 different handmade moldings unfinished. We also stock 2 complete quick ship programs fully glazed (ship within 5 days) as well as several rapid ship systems, Estate, Chateau and Villa ( 2 week ship)
Fresco, Metal, Raku, and Lustres are some of the most unusual techniques we use to accommodate the most discriminating designers. Most of our techniques are briefly discussed in the Detail section of this site. For more photos of our large variety of our handmade tile and molding and information, check our Gallery section, or give us a call. We love hearing from you, and you are always welcome to visit our studio.