These are some freshly pressed raw tiles, waiting to be trimmed, signed and washed with slip, before glazing and firing.
I’m doing new designs all the time or could do something for you, please have a look at my website, http://www.helenbarontiles.co.uk
This is a new heraldic tile design, depicting a gryphon rampant.
The design is in low relief, cut in detail into a block and pressed into red earthenware clay, then washed with white slip, glazed and fired. I follow traditional heraldic designs for family crests. These are 10cm squares to fit with standard tiles and they are all signed on the back. I have made tiles for several other heraldic crests and will happily undertake commissions.
I also make tiles of animals and birds – http://www.helenbarontiles.co.uk
Sometimes in a very good pot the four elements of earth, water, fire and air join together with a sense of humanity in perfect balance and create a pot that has a “rightness” to it. A pot with soul. And it seems to me that a lot of English medieval jugs have this soul. It might be that their age, history and wear-and-tear lend an extra dimension, but much is to do with their proportions and their rightness for purpose. The potters who made them didn’t overthink it (as I am here!), they made the most of the materials and technology to hand to make useful pots for their customers.
So I have looked at lots of medieval jugs in my ongoing quest for the quintessential English jug. I don’t want to make copies, the pots I make should be for now, but there is a nod to the medieval in some. The largest jug here (pictured on its own) holds just under seven pints. The other large jug holds about six and a half and the baluster jug about one and a half pints. Some of my pots are for sale on ebay or you could contact me directly if you are interested.
Experimenting with settings for these 10cm tiles has been great fun and very exciting. These days there is such a wonderful range of materials to use in our homes and contemporary design makes the most of them – whether granite or slate, travertine, wood, mosaic, ceramic, glass, marble – the selection is staggering. But in all this sleek perfection I wonder if there has been a sacrifice of the personal. I’m hoping that these tiles might bring a little humanity back, while completely co-ordinating with these fabulous natural materials. There are lots of settings to see on my website, http://www.helenbarontiles.co.uk and more to come! I’d love to hear what you think or if you have any other suggestions.
This is as close as I’ve come to making the jugs I want. I tried a while ago to home in on the characteristics of the pots that I am drawn to in museums and galleries – pots with “soul”. Of course this is a subjective judgement, but to me the best pots
- look as if they’re made of clay
- are in the English tradition
- are functional
- are thrown
- are earthenware
- are straightforward and a pleasure to use
- are timeless
- retain the life and energy they have when first thrown
- have decoration which seems like a part of the pot
Pots often have energy when they’re first thrown, but lose it as they pass through the processs of turning, decoration, glazing and firing. One of the significant changes in my approach last year was to turn to lead glazing. Ridiculous that it has taken me so long, when almost every potter I admire uses lead glaze, but lead glazing over loosely applied slip over red earthenware gives a wonderful quality of depth and colour to a pot’s surface and enlivens it in an extraordinary way. Confidence in glazing then passed back and enabled me to throw pots with more confidence and vision. It is a strange preoccupation, but when a good pot comes out of the kiln….there’s nothing like it!
This is a red earthenware tile depicting a goat. The block is cut carefully, with the aim of making low relief impression on soft clay – so I have to think in reverse relief. Once I’m satisfied with the impression made by the block I can produce a run of tiles. The impression remains the same but each tile looks slightly different as the white slip applied to the hardening clay moves differently across each tile.They work well set among standard 10cm x 10cm glazed tiles. They are available on ebay (under “handmade tiles”) and also feature on my website http://www.helenbarontiles.co.uk
I have some new tiles to show you (four hare designs coming soon) so please keep checking my blog and please pin anything you like.
If anyone would like tiles depicting specific animals, birds or other images I’d be very interested in cutting a block for them, please get in touch…. email@example.com
Two earthenware tiles depicting deer. Though the white clay wash on these earthenware tiles makes them all look slightly different, I like to cut different versions of any animal for variety and interest. They work well set among standard 10cm x 10cm glazed tiles. They are available on ebay (under “handmade tiles”) and also feature on my website http://www.helenbarontiles.co.uk
If anyone would like tiles depicting specific animals, birds or other images I’d be very interested in cutting a block for them…..please get in touch.
Handmade glazed earthenware tile by Helen Baron depicting a cockerel in low relief.
100mm x 100mm to fit with widely available inexpensive background tiles.
It was made by cutting a detailed block and pressing it into red earthenware clay. The low relief blocks are quite a challenge to make, and need to be tried out and adjusted repeatedly to get the flattened three dimensional designs right, carving the block more deeply where the marks come further forward – it takes quite a lot of concentration! Once pressed it was washed with white slip which picks up the pattern, emphasises the intricacies of the impression and makes each tile slightly different. The tile was then glazed.
More tiles like this are available and others depicting various animals and birds – please look at my website at http://www.helenbarontiles.co.uk (yahoo search)
I really enjoy making new blocks, so please contact me if you would like bespoke short runs of tiles depicting other animals, crests, house names, pub names etc.