Tiles: “An Evening View of the Empire State”

Trying Something New

In December 2016, the friend who inspired me to create this blog and I went to the Jackfield Tile Museum for an afternoon.

Jackfield gives you the chance for a small fee to design and paint your own tile by hand, which they will then bake and either post it to you or pick it up a few days later.

It was a lovely day out and I found it very relaxing to do.  We spent the morning drawing our designs before my friend and I took the short trip to Jackfield (only getting a little lost, which was for us nothing short of a miracle!), and spent the rest of the morning and the afternoon creating our tiles.

I chose a simplified design of the Empire State Building, whereas my friend was for more ambitious and planned to create a bonsai tree.  Whilts at the museum we met one of her friends who was a regular tile creator himself, who had become quite the expert.  An invaluable resource for us first-timers!

The lady at Jackfield who taught us helped us understand the basics, and we quickly set about the process.

Firstly, you transfer your design on to the tile of your choice, and then “draw” over the design using a kind of drawing clay from a little pouch-like bag.  Slow and steady hands at this stage are key, and it’s important that all the areas you intend to colour are enclosed to stop colours from running into one another.  I would describe the process being kind of like precision piping of icing on a cake!

Once these outlines are dry, it’s a case of painting between the lines.  The “paint” is very strange to use as really it’s just coloured clay, and the colour whilst using it looks nothing like the final colour.  Good job they had labels.  I wish I’d taken a few work in progress shots to show you what I mean!

Once all coloured, they are taken away to the oven to bake.  You don’t quite know how they’re going to come out until you see them.

I was satisfied with the final result for a first attempt, even if it was a little messy…

You can see that there was some overrun in the bottom right windows (the effect almost looks like intentional shading, but it isn’t), but it’s mostly OK.  I particularly like the grey cloudy storm I was going for as this was what I was looking to do by using only thin layers, and it came out well.  I think I’d have been better doing something else other than the lettering on the right hand side though, as I think that’s probably the only part I dislike about the tile.

This one hangs on the wall in my living room now.

If you’re creative, like painting, or have kids at home on a school holiday on a rainy day, I’d really recommend a visit.

Thanks for stopping by,

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