This was a commission completed in 2020, and is a mixture of three ranges: British Wildlife, Colour Birds and Wildflowers. It has now been turned into a new range: Flora and Fauna tiles
It is a good example of a customer choosing a mix of tiles from different ranges, along with two corner motifs, and then choosing one colour (CN Green) to unify the tiles. Everything we make is painted to order, so every commission is different.
We enjoy working with our customers to make sure they get just the tiles they want.
These tiles were recently featured in Country Life magazine.
We regularly paint flora and fauna from specific parts of the world. At the moment we are painting some tiles for Ontario with beavers, deer, moose and bears. Below is a panel of Scottish creatures for a castle on the east coast of Scotland. Thistle corner motifs were designed specifically. Coincidentally the customer also went for a green theme.
We are currently working on a commission for Ontario, so will soon be adding Moose, Caribou, Beavers and Racoons to this range.
This is the fourth tile panel I have painted with the tree in black and white, and splashes of colour on the fruit. Lots of colourful birds, butterflies and insects liven it up. A friend suggested the title “Tree of Life” and I think that fits perfectly. I have another panel in the offing, but would love to paint a huge one. I have lots of ideas for some more – the leaves would look good in green, or perhaps in gold lustre, with lustre also on the insects.
These panels can be designed any size, and the birds, butterflies, insects and flowers can be specific to where you live, or what you love.
I am currently designing another tree based on an old English embroidery. I love Elizabethan and Blackwork and stumpwork. The naivety appeals to me. My mother taught embroidery throughout most of my childhood, so embroidery and needlework have always been part of my life.
Here are some of the other Tree of Life tile panels I have painted as commissions over the past two years:
This is a good example of the process of commissioning a hand painted tile panel.
We have just completed our 7th large scale Chinoiserie panel, this time for a bathroom in Cornwall. The tiles are being installed behind the bath. The clients wanted it based on the first Chinoiserie panel we painted:
Our starting point was getting the measurements and specific design requirements, then we sent out colour tile samples and a full colour design (this is included in the price for large tile panels). They chose to have their panel painted onto machine made 152 x 152 x 7 mm tiles.
Tile panel design
Colour tile samples
Lemons were included to mirror some of the fabric being used in the bathroom and adjoining room. Suitable yellows had to be chosen so the lemons stood out against the background. The flowers were also loosely based on the floral fabric, and transformed into magnolias and peonies. The client also wanted some butterflies – a particular favourite of ours, so we based them on the butterflies found in Cornwall: Silver Studded Blue, Brown Argus, Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper, as well as more widespread butterflies such as Fritillary, Red Admiral, Tortoiseshell, and Peacock.
Below are some pictures of the panel laid out on the table during painting:
Tiles in progress
The tiles are all numbered on the back before painting and carefully loaded in order. They are stacked in the kiln in order and then fired to 1060º Centigrade. Once cooled (the whole process takes about 36 hours for a full kiln) the tiles are all painted with the yellow background colour again – this gives a softer and richer yellow and makes a huge difference to the finished look. The tiles are then fired to 1060º again. (Colours other than yellow can be used for the background, or sometimes all the colour is in the birds, flowers and butterflies, and the background is left white).
Once out of the kiln they are carefully laid out in sections on the table and numbered again more clearly.
Some butterfly close ups:
We pack our tiles extremely thoroughly in order, with the numbers of the tiles marked on each box. We also enclose a photo of the whole panel and another numbered picture of the whole tile panel. We like to make things as easy as possible for the tiler. We are also responsible for any tiles broken in transit – an extreme rarity as we pack them so thoroughly.
This is the last commission completed in 2019. Birds and flowers are two of our favourite things to paint. This tile panel is for behind a cooker, for a lovely couple in Hereford. The birds and flowers are all from their garden. Even down to their one legged blackbird they call “Hoppy”. The commission was on 12cm handmade tiles made to fit the space.
The tiles were finished with gold and coloured lustres on all the insects.
A commission for some lovely customers in Herefordshire, for a dark area of the kitchen. The before and after pictures show how much brighter and larger it makes the space. We mixed up a special yellow glaze for the commission. We unloaded the tiles from the kiln on a very dark Winter’s day and it was like letting sunshine into the studio.
WE are slowly getting back to normal after a great time at Handmade at Kew, held in Kew Gardens in London. Lots of sales and plenty of interest, so we are hoping to get some Chinoiserie commissions from it. Our dearest wish is to be able to tile a whole room one day! The next show we are doing is Made By Hand in Cardiff City Hall 2 – 4th November 2018.