Get floored – Menaka Valliappan

----Click above to know more about Athangudi & Floor Art----

Colourful and attractive, an Athangudi floor can stop you in your tracks…

Truly local, eco-friendly and the fruit of loving labour, a colourful floor with geometrical or intricate designs and earthy colours at their best, an Athangudi tiled space is a conversation piece.

Athangudi, a village in the Sivagangai district of Chettinad is where these unique cement tiles are made and freighted carefully to ma6ny a distant home.

The artisans brag that their sand, water and traditional skills handed down through generations are the key reasons for the beauty of the tiles and challenge the quality of any replica manufactured elsewhere!

Known for their colourful designs that seem to exude a subtle appeal of tradition and heritage, these tile designs are usually repetitive from a set of popular, preferred intricate patterns and colours. They can, however, be customised too at a cost – of time and pricing. Handmade, the tiles are labour intensive but totally ‘green’ or sustainable in their use of resources, especially, power – unlike their close but dramatically different associate, the cement-mosaic tile.

Athangudi tile acquire additional natural sheen and polish over time. However, being porous, they cannot handle excessive water soakage or oil spills over prolonged periods of time and are best suited for indoor spaces and protected verandas and balconies.

Handmade and eco-friendly, Athangudi tiles are a classic and elegant option for homes and office spaces. Their slow process and need for skilled labour make them a precious commodity that’s worth the wait!

 

The process:

  • A cast iron frame design stencil is chosen.
  • The stencil is placed on a glass plate of the exact same size. This is the mould.
  • Colour oxide (choice of colours are varied but fairly limited) is mixed into a standard cement slurry which is poured into the moulds.
  • A layer of the ‘special’ locally available sand is sprinkled on top.
  • Then, a final layer of cement mortar with cement, sand and aggregates is added.
  • Once set, the frame is removed carefully and a layer of dry sand and cement is sprinkled on top. The tile is set aside and cured in water tanks for 8-12 days
  • After curing, the tiles are dried and the glass plates are removed. 
  • Finally, rice husk is spread on top of the tiles to absorb remaining moisture and hold the sheen.

We would like to acknowledge the awesome work Mrs. Menaka Valliappan has been doing to keep this century-old traditional handmade Athangudi floor alive and bringing it to those who love to have an old-world charm in modern contexts too.

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