February 23 – National Tile Day

Posted on February 23, 2018

Tile? Is this something we want to celebrate?

Actually, tiles can be an important part of homes and other buildings. 

Whether they cover floors or counters, shower stalls or walls, tabletops or roofs, tiles can be cooling or warm, easy to clean, long-lasting, and decorative. They can go indoors or out.

Tiles are pieces of ceramic, stone, metal, or glass that cover furniture or building surfaces. 

One of the fun things about tiles is that they can be different shapes that fit together like a puzzle. Fitting-together tiles are often called "tessellations."

Escher drawing with tessellations

When I think of tessellations - shapes that fit together rather like puzzle pieces - I think of the artist M. C. Escher (who did not work with tiles) and of the gorgeous Alhambra in southern Spain, which has many surfaces covered in gorgeous tiling, including many examples of tessellations!

Above and two below, tessellated tiles in Alhambra,
Spain, an example of Islamic tiling...

Hexagonal and square tiles are more common than the diamond- and star- and other-shaped tiles seen above.

There is almost endless variety in colors and patterns of tiled surfaces. A few different colors of tiles can make striped or more complicated patterns.

Tiles can also be used to display a building's address or to prevent hot dishes from scarring wooden tables.

Check out some of the variations of tiling:

The Alhambra isn't the only example of Muslim tiling. Many mosques and other buildings are decorated with amazing tilework:

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