A river of tile

by Ian

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Powered by vending machine coffee and Fleetwood Mac, we’re casting 19 molds, twice a day. Which means that every day there are 38 tiles to cast. And there are 38 tiles that we cast the day before to clean up and load into the dryer. And 38 tiles cast two days earlier to load onto the kiln. And 38 tiles cast three days earlier to unload from the kiln, sand and prepare for shipping. 38 tiles at each stage of the process, every day. It’s an unending flow and it’s not overwhelming as long as we get them through each step every day. In other words, as long as we work all day, every day, for the next seven weeks.

Thankfully, Andrew Hayes has arrived on the casting floor to help for the month of February. He got up to speed approximately immediately and has helped make the process clean and efficient.

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Here Andrew carefully cradles (like a newborn babe) a freshly cast tile and sponges the seams. We have to pick up each tile exactly five times from the moment it’s cast until it is ready to be packed up and shipped to Penland.


The most important thing is to keep casting each mold twice a day. The river must not runneth dry.

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Care and focus at every step is what it takes to produce a final product that we’re happy with. This is the first load through the whole process and we’re liking them so far. Other highlights from this past week included a visit from my dad and a tour of the labs at Kohler, where engineers and analysts get really deep into the material with electron microscopes and particle accelerators and sundry other gadgets.