What Makes Terracotta So Timeless?

Terracotta isn’t just a material, it’s an entire aesthetic encapsulated in a piece of clay. There’s a mood that terracotta conveys that cannot be replicated by any synthetic imitation.

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09 / 20 / 2021

The deep, rusty tone is unapologetically warm and evokes imagery of balmy Mediterranean nights. With the oldest terracotta figurines dating back to 3000 BCE, this is truly a technique that has stood the test of time. The beauty of terracotta is that while it may be traditional, it can easily complement a contemporary interior. Cotto is our current interpretation of the classic terracotta, and we have made it accessible for the modern homeowner! Without a doubt, terracotta is a wholly unique, clay-based art form that isn’t going anywhere any time soon. 

Hot stuff

With a direct translation that means “baked earth,” it doesn’t get more natural than terracotta. Terracotta is a distinctly vibrant neutral, utilizing earthy tones without sacrificing radiance and intensity. From muted pinks to rich oranges, terracotta can be crafted in an impressive range of shades. Although the colors may be consistently warm, there’s something soft about the tone that comes from an earthy origin. We’re constantly captivated by the magic of this historic material, and the versatility of its capabilities. Although terracotta tiles have been most commonly used as flooring, terracotta itself has been used for statues, roofing, and occasionally entire structures. There’s really nothing terracotta can’t do!    

A Clay-Based Story

Because it’s so widespread and versatile, it’s difficult to assign a simple definition to “terracotta.” Broadly put, terracotta is a form of ceramic clay that usually falls under the typical span of shades.  While terracotta may evoke images of sunny Spanish architecture, it has been present in the Middle East and parts of Asia for much longer.  With terracotta remnants found in Ancient Mesopotamia, it slowly made its way west to Ancient Greece and east to India and East Asia. Simply put, terracotta found success everywhere!

Magic Mud

If we still have terracotta-based art from 3000 BC, it’s pretty good testament to its durability. Natural clay is historically praised for its ability to look even BETTER over time. The natural variation and texture that develops over time are both part of what makes terracotta one-of-a-kind. It can be used in high trafficked areas and it’s sturdy glazed OR raw. We might be biased, but our favorite interpretations of terracotta are Cotto and Moroccan Zellige. Zellige is a glazed, handmade tile offered in a rainbow of vivid colors. Also handcrafted, Cotto is a more rustic, traditional tile that comes in the classic terracotta colorways.

Zia Tile Cotto

At Zia Tile, our mission is to make the highest quality clay-based tile available for everyday homeowners. Cotto has been a favorite since we launched the line. With typical terracotta shades and several avant-garde shapes, Cotto is in a class of its own. Once you see your first sample, you’ll be hooked too! From your kitchen backsplash to your patio floor, 

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