The making process of Zellige tilesThe meaning and the process of making zellige - Morocco Zellige

Mosaic Tiles

The making process of Zellige tiles

Zellige means simply the word “tile“ in arabic. But, with a subtle shift of the true meaning of the word the usage of this word has been reduced to the traditional hand-cut tiles made in Fez-Morocco. There is no actual secret to it’s creation, but an ancient technique that has been passed on through the generations of craftsmen, this technique is very artisanal and likes to show all the manufacturing defects that the industry hes been trying to eliminate.

In opposition of this industry the small Fez zellige with all it’s imperfections and dents touches us in way no other material can, it’s like we’ve sought something that represents us and our nature.

With that being said we’d like to inform you that we work with the most experienced craftsmen from Fez to have the best quality of Zellige on the market that you can use for your own home to give it a traditional or andalusian aesthetic .

This leads us to how this beautiful zellige from our brand “ More Zellige“ is made and the most important element in this process is the clay, the clay existing in no place other than Fez is from the Miocene period and has the perfect chemical stability and adaptation to temperature changes and humidity , which allows the creation of an amazingly sustainable and environmentally friendly product , once the clay has been found, it is soaked in water until it reaches a soft texture, after the perfect texture hes been reached, comes the filtering part of the process which means that the craftsmen use their hands to filter any unnecessary or hurtful elements that may reside in the clay, then they put this clay into molds and leave it in the sun to dry.

Sunbsequently, three kinds of craftsmen intervene at this point, the first one’s job is the selection of the shape of the tile then he draws his desired shape onto the tiles, afterwards a second craftsman comes in to do their job which is to roughly cut the Zellige tiles into the shape requested using the menkach (menkach is a medieval tool that looks like an axe but only used in the making process of Zellige tiles) , Following the second craftsman comes the crucial part but the master craftsman who’s specialty is precision cutting. This whole process results in a number of various typrs of tiles that are used to create the beautiful Zellige that you have come to know and love.

As soon as it dries and becomes enamelled, the tiles are placed into natural wood fired kilns (in Moroccan kilns the fire circulates unprecisely to give the Zellige tiles different colors and tones when dried which makes each and every tile you lay your eyes on is unique and one of a kind, furthermore an experienced craftsman can tell which position in the kiln gives which tone and color) , this clay can be cooked from two to three times depends on the color the craftsmen would like to produce.