Handcrafted Tiles in the Arts & Crafts Tradition...
Nawal Motawi, founder of Motawi Tileworks, was first exposed to the tile of the Arts & Crafts Movement at Pewabic Pottery, which she visited during her first college ceramics class. “My professor had just completed a gigantic tile mural created with Pewabic Pottery, which he took us all to see,” says Nawal, “and I immediately began to fantasize about someday making tilework like that!” In 1992 she set out on her own, starting what soon became the Motawi Tileworks. Her brother, Karim, joined her as a business partner after graduating from college later that year.
In the beginning the pair spent many hours researching the ideas, aesthetics and production techniques of the period. Through their interest and continued study they have gained a keen understanding of the work of the Arts & Crafts period.
There are a few particular potteries of the period that are the lodestars for the Motawis on their artistic journey. Pewabic, Rookwood, and Grueby in particular inspire their glaze surfaces and palette of colors. Louis Sullivan, Ernest Batchelder, and Frank Lloyd Wright among others inform the sculptural work. The Motawi style is a fusion of influences that makes for a style all their own.