Ceramic tile murals are artistic ornaments used to enhance a space. Art or decoration can be applied to the surface of ceramic tiles, or colored tiles can be used to form a mosaic. Ceramic tile can be installed horizontally or vertically on either the interior or exterior surfaces of a building. Ceramic tile murals have been used by man to decorate spaces for over 4000 years. Invented in the Middle East and developed by several cultures over time, ceramic tile murals can be found in ancient pyramids and ruins, or seen today in our homes, commercial spaces and places of congregation.
Ceramic tile is a hard, brittle material made from clay that is available with varying glaze options, in many colors, shapes and sizes. It is an extremely durable material that offers characteristics such as low water absorption and resistance to oxidation, abrasion, impact, and stains. Ceramic tiles are typically set in a bed of mortar or, depending on the application, they can be adhered directly to a substrate material. Tiles can be contiguous or separated; spaces or joints between tiles are typically filled with sanded or unsanded grout.
Ceramic tile is either used as a "canvas" or as pieces in a mosaic. A mosaic ceramic tile mural uses small, different colored, geometrically or irregularly shaped tiles in an artistic arrangement that defines a desired form or pattern. When used as a canvas, the art or decoration is applied to the surface of the ceramic tile, as either single motifs, where each tile has an isolated image or color, or as one of many, where each tile is a portion of a larger image. Artistic or decorative ceramic tile murals are hand painted, digitally printed or formed by baking decals onto the surface of the tile.
Throughout the history of ceramic tile murals, storytelling has been the core interest. In ancient times and in historic fine art, ceramic tile murals told stories of great battles, portrayed the wealth and riches of a person or people, or depicted some other event important to the time and/or the place. Similarly, ceramic tile murals today are used in our homes to define a style or decorative theme in kitchens, bathrooms and living areas or around fireplaces, patios and pools. Used in commercial spaces and places of congregation, ceramic tile murals welcome visitors with enormous installations that reflect the character of the space or define a message. They can be installed along an entire floor, wall or ceiling, or take smaller forms such as a vignette, scene, accent, or backsplash. They can be used to frame an opening, be inlaid on furniture, or be used as signage. Decorative ceramic tile adds visual interest to otherwise plain surfaces.