Heat coloring zelligeThe heat coloring and the making process of zellige - Morocco Zellige

Mosaic Tiles

Heat coloring zellige

First of all, finding a good quality clay is an extremely important step to produce a good quality zellige tile, we are in luck to have a factory in Fez, Morocco where we can get our hands on the best clay there 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 has 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. Then it is shaped into squares (this step is crucial because the clay must be compact with no air bubbles) and is sundried in a natural way, that’s why most of the tile production takes place in the summer, but at our company, we make tiles all year, the next step is keeping the clay in a cool place to be ready for a first bake, the first bake is simple and is usually done in traditional kilts with fire, the second bake however is more complex where the craftsmen use ovens that run on gas to use heat to color them and each degree is used to bake a color into the tiles but it can take from 2 bakes to 10 bakes we don’t for sure whether it’s green, blue, purple we don’t have an issue if you can name it we can make it.

This oven is like a well where a craftsman can go down to the bottom of it and start putting tiles next to each other and he goes all the way from the bottom to the top in this manner. And every position in this said well gives a specific color that only the best craftsmen have the ability to tell which story gives which color, and here at Morocco Zellige, we work with the most experienced craftsmen to make sure we can get the specific colors our clients ask for. And you may see all our colors from here.

Subsequently, 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. Afterward, 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 whose specialty is precision cutting. This whole process results in a number of various types of tiles that are used to create the beautiful Zellige that you have come to know and love.