We're pleased to share a beautiful new collaboration between Clay Imports and Austin-based designer Rohin Bhalla inspired by the ever-enchanting, mystical state of Oaxaca. While working in Mexico, Bhalla became fascinated with how simple shapes of wood could be rotated and intersected together to create a piece of furniture. He couldn’t help but use the same approach when creating this collection for Clay Imports. The Artist Series encompasses three patterns, Xochitl, Etla, and Penacho. Read on to enjoy Rohin's inspiration behind these significant names for his Oaxaca inspired tile series.
The Oaxaca Series features three patterns, in three different colors: Seaweed, Burnt Orange, and Navy. All tiles are square 8 inch by 8inch sized and have a matte finish. Tile artisans screen print each piece by hand. Then, they fire the tiles, which makes them more resistant to staining. The tiles are durable to use on shower floors, or in non-freezing outdoor applications. It’s one of our low-maintenance handmade tile options! We cannot wait to see this beautiful series used in your homes and projects!
“Oaxaca is a place where tradition persists, to the delight of anyone who visits. In awe of this timelessness, these new designs were drawn wondering what motivated the marvelous artisans that lived here hundreds of years ago … hoping to capture some of this spirit so it may travel here in these tiles..”
If you translate Xochitl from Nahuatl to English, the closest match would be “Flower.” Rohin, fascinated with the unique fauna one can admire in Oaxaca chose this name to honor the diverse and colorful region. For the artist, the Xochitl tile lets us enter into the unique expression of beauty in Oaxaca.
San Agustin Etla, a small town about a 30 minute drive north from Oaxaca City is the namesake of the Etla Tile. Here, artist tile designer Rohin found most of his inspiration for his tile collection. Rohin finds that “[..} Agustín is a place that’s not in a hurry. It’s calm, quiet, patient. There’s more trust in what happens, so less need to try and change things, or try and take advantage of every moment.”
We're loving the inspiration behind the Penacho tile as feather plumes. The vibrant headdress of Moctezuma II features the most famous Penacho. Moctezuma II was the Aztec emperor at the time of the colonization by the Spanish. One can consider it as an icon, juxtaposing the indigenous and the colonist. It can be a juxtaposition of culture that is quite visible in a place like Oaxaca. And further, it can be a juxtaposition that helps define Oaxaca. Rather noteworthy as well: the original headdress, along with other ornate Aztec artifacts, are not even in Mexico museums. They were taken to Europe in the 1500s and are still there, with no plans of them being returned to their original land – despite efforts.
About the Artist
Rohin is a designer from Austin who invents all types of objects. He received his degree from Elisava in Barcelona and has been fortunate enough to have work exhibited at the Salone del Mobile during Milan Design Week and at the Museo Franz Mayer in Mexico City. While working in Mexico, he became fascinated with how simple shapes of wood could be rotated and intersected together to create a piece of furniture. He couldn’t help but use the same approach when creating this collection.