Zellige tiles are traditionally handcrafted with non-refined natural clay extracted from the Fez region in Morocco. The clay is kneaded with water, moulded by hand, dried naturally and fired in a kiln. Glass enamel is then applied to the surface of the raw tile called “biscuit”, in multiple semi-transparent shades creating a pearlescent, metallic, volcanic or opaque finish. The enamel is melted and vitrified during a further firing in a kiln. The final step of Zellige production involves cutting the enamelled pieces into an endless collection of tile shapes and sizes. Zellige, also known as Zilij or Zelij, is characterised by variations of tone, shine, flatness, transparency and depth of the glazing as well as a surface texture with irregularities. Each Zellige tile is unique. MOSAIC Factory, based in Tangier, has gathered a team of over a hundred specialised craftsmen – known as Mellems – to manufacture Zellige tiles and compositions according to clients’ designs and projects.
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