The Brick Directory Blog. Articles mentioning 'bricks' - brick making, Articles and Words taken from news agencies and newspapers, magazines and books about brick and other building materials including reference ('how to') and sometimes amusing 'brick related' stories. The blog is linked with helping you get in contact with every brick, paver, tile and stone manufacturer in the UK and Ireland.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Video Bricks

Videos relating to bricks at ClayClay including mini bricks. For films made on the Isle of Wight or independent music made on the Isle of Wight, click on links

Green Bricks

US brick manufacturer, Boral, has released a white paper entitled "Building With Brick: Sustainable and Energy Efficient: A White Paper on Performance Benefits of One of Man's Oldest Building Materials." The paper cites a 4000-year old arch in the Middle East made of brick that still stands today. "All too often, newly invented materials are not only disproportionately expensive, but also lack a time-tested track record that can provide reassurance about their expected performance,” the paper read. Brick’s durability - it's not compromised by decay- contributes to its overall long life with little maintenance. “In fact, because of its durability, the US National Institute for Standards and Technology has rated brick masonry as having a 100-year lifespan,” the report read. By all environmental impact standards, brick is one of the best choices for sustainable eco-friendly construction. Why? 'The efficiency of the manufacturing process, use of alternative energy sources, recycled content, minimized waste and efficiency of transportation because clay and shale used to make brick can be found almost everywhere in the world and they are easily removed from the ground without the damaging effects that accompany the mining of more elusive resources,' the report stated.
One of the notable qualities of brick is that very little waste is produced in the manufacturing and building process because the materials are inherently recyclable “A kilo of clay material yields almost a kilo of brick," states the report. "Any materials that are left over after one run of bricks has been fired can simply be re-mixed into the next run.” Additionally, leftover brick material on the construction site can be recycled in a number of ways, be it crushed for landscaping, reused for other projects or added to concrete aggregate.

Monday, 9 June 2014

How to pick up a genuine Picasso Terracotta tile for £400

Owning a work by Pablo Picasso would seem beyond the dreams of all but the world’s wealthiest collectors. But a forthcoming auction will allow fans of the artist to pick up a Picasso for as little as £400 – albeit for a terracotta tile measuring 5x5 inches. The tile is among 170 lots in a sale of Picasso ceramics that also includes plates, vases, jugs and bowls designed by the great 20th century artist. The sale will take place at Sotheby’s in London on Wednesday, and offers an “exceptional” selection of the artist’s clay work. Eighteen of the lots can be had for £800 or less if they achieve their low estimates, although chances are they will fetch rather more. The highest estimate of £60,000-£80,000 is attached to a vase decorated with bullfighting scenes. The prices are a far cry from the £70 million commanded by Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust in 2010, making it the most expensive painting ever sold at auction. The works are made affordable by the fact they were produced in runs of up to 500; and while the artist painted the designs, he left the actual pottery-making to others. All of the pieces were created during the last decades of the artist’s life, in collaboration with the Madoura pottery on the French Riviera. Animals, birds, nymphs and mythological characters are featured in the designs, including the minotaur, a recurring motif in Picasso’s work. The Spanish artist first visited the pottery in Vallauris in 1946, where he struck up a friendship with the owners, Georges and Suzanne Ramié. The appeal of the artisan lifestyle and the opportunity to work in a new medium prompted Picasso to ask the couple if he could work with them, and in 1947 he began creating his own pieces there. A corner of the workshop was duly set aside for him, and he was treated like any other employee – although his fellow workers did not have Brigitte Bardot, Gary Cooper or Richard Attenborough drop by for a chat. Customers who approached the elderly employee looking for sales advice were astonished to find themselves face to face with the celebrity artist. In all, Picasso spent 24 years at Madoura, producing 633 designs in limited editions ranging from 25 to 500. He died in 1973. It was also the place where he met the final love of his life. Jacqueline Roque was a cousin of Suzanne Ramié and employed there as a sales assistant. Despite the age difference – she was 27, he was 72 – they began a romance, and she became his muse and second wife. Sotheby’s said: “Beginning with his first trip to Vallauris in the summer of 1946, Pablo Picasso remained enchanted by the freedom and expressive nature of the ceramic medium throughout the last 25 years of his life. “Working with the Ramié family during these years, Picasso found great satisfaction working with clay – the alchemy of working with slips and glazes, the effects of texture and colour, and the daily life of the artisan attracted him greatly. “In these works we truly see Picasso’s freedom of thought and creative powers, and the sense of playfulness for which he was so renowned.” In 2012, the son of Georges and Suzanne Ramié sold 543 items which had remained at the Madoura pottery since the artist’s death, including pottery, prints and photography. It fetched £8 million, over four times its pre-sale estimate. Daily Telegraph 5/5/2014

When is a handmade brick not a handmade brick?

Handmade made bricks are made by hand - a brick moulder chucks a clot of clay into a mould to form the brick - each brick is therefore unique and different with subtle folds and smooth and rough bits depending on how hard the moulder has chucked the clot in. However some brick manufacturers label their bricks as handmade when they are not, they are made by machine and are therefore rather uniform, regular and quite frankly unattractive even at their relatively low prices - a case in point is some Dutch simluated hand made bricks which they label as 'Handmade' and are for sale as such in many southern UK builders merchants such as Travis Perkins. Bricks are imported by All About Bricks and their Managing Director says it doesn't matter they have a 'handmade look' well I'm afraid it does. One is deceiving the brick laying public if one hopes to get away with selling a machine made brick as a handmade one at half the price.

'Machine made' bricks are being sold as 'Handmade' bricks

There are so called 'handmade' bricks in the building market which are not 'handmade'. A handmade brick is made by a handmoulder chucking a clot of clay into a mould thus forming the brick. Each brick is therefore unique and very different to the next one as they have rough and smooth bits as well as folds and bends that make a handmade brick so distinctive and quite franky expensive. See the York Handmade Brick web site for pictures. The use of genuine handmade bricks can make any boring, mundane design of a building look good and welcoming and stylish. A machine made handmade brick however does not, they are flat, boring in texture and would give a handmade brick a bad name if allowed to get away with it. One brick importer All About Bricks is doing just this, their cheap Dutch machine made bricks are being labelled on their web site and in their merchants, such as Travis Perkins, as handmade. Despite their Managing Director Alan Young admitting to Tim Bristow of Brick Directory they are not 'handmade' but actually 'machine made' they seem to have made no effort to re label the bricks as 'simulated handmade' or similar. The Brick Development Association CEO Simon Hay takes a very dim view and would like to broadcast the message to all importers, factors and merchants that if their brick is not handmade ie actually made by hand, it should not be labelled as such.