Hand painting tiles in the Delft tradition, West Sussex
What are Delft tiles?
Delft, the widely-acknowledged ceramics capital of Holland, hardly needs an introduction. Not only famous for the production of pottery though, the huge variety of charmingly decorated single-décor ceramic tiles and decorative panels originating from Delft have been universally popular for centuries, with many of the classic tile designs dating from the 16th century. Delft tile designs and techniques can also be seen, over the centuries, to have had a major influence on the development of traditional styles in other countries famous for their tiles such as Portugal and Spain.
The blue and white colour way, using natural cobalt on tin-glaze, is the most widely known but other colour ways, using a range of soft, natural pigments including copper oxide (green) are also common.
What will the tile painting course cover?
Starting with blank, unglazed ceramic tiles, you will learn all the techniques you need to create single-décor tiles in the Delft tradition whilst taking in a brief history of this fascinating and enduringly fashionable craft.
Skills taught include, glazing, pricking out and transferring designs and the fairly exacting demands of painting onto raw glaze using the traditional natural pigments. A huge range of designs is available to choose from, many in the most recognisable blue created by cobalt on white tin-glaze, and some in a wider range of soft, natural colours which are also traditional.
What do I get to take home?
Everything you can paint! The Bespoke Consortium confidently expect everyone – whatever their former experience and skill – to be able to finish one tile by the end of the first day. An overnight firing will mean you can take this with you when you leave. On the second day, you will be honing your new found skills. Work completed on Sunday can be collected later or can be carefully packed up and sent on to you for just the cost of postage and packing.
Bear in mind, a single, good-quality reproduction of an old Delft tile will cost you anything from around £18 each, so if you manage to finish more than eight or so during the weekend you’re in the money! You may want to come to the Bespoke Consortium with a particular project in mind. One tile makes a great teapot or casserole stand. Six is plenty for a basin splash back. Manage a few more and - mixed with some plain glazed or corner-decorated tiles – you have enough for a charming fire surround, a stove back or even a small bathroom.
Who is this tile painting course suitable for?
Absolutely anyone who appreciates ceramic tiles and enjoys a challenge will enjoy this course. Numbers are strictly limited to allow for plenty of individual support. Once the basic techniques have been thoroughly explained, demonstrated and tried out step-by-step, individual help and tuition will be given as required.
Competent painters, with or without previous experience of painting onto raw glaze, may want to tackle some of the more complex designs and might be more ambitious about the number of tiles they decide to produce. The Bespoke Consortium are also confident that complete beginners will take home something they can be proud of.
When does the course start and finish?
You will need to arrive for 10.00am on Saturday morning. Overnight accommodation can be arranged for those travelling long distances.
With breaks for coffee, lunch and tea, the aim is to down paintbrushes at or around 5.00pm on Saturday afternoon, allowing time to wind down and get ready for supper and a glass of wine (all included in the tuition charge). The Bespoke Consortium hope very much that those not staying the night will also be able to join them.
On Sunday, the course begins again at 10.00am and wraps up at 4.00pm to allow for long journeys home.
Where does it all happen?
You will be working in a listed cottage in Walberton – a charming village near Arundel in West Sussex and eating mainly in the lovely village pub which is right next door. Barnham railway station and Arundel railway stations are just a few minutes away by taxi and, for those accompanied by non-participants, the course is close to both the coast and south downs with plenty to entertain in the cathedral cities of Arundel and Chichester.
What happens when I book?
Full details will be sent to you upon booking, including directions. Accommodation is not included, however, details of a range of accommodation options available locally will be provided on request. Please note carefully that we cannot reserve places on the course without having received payment and that – regretfully – we cannot offer a full reimbursement if you subsequently decide not to attend.
This highly sought after weekend tile painting courses takes place on 28-29th July. Course places are available for £160 per person including all equipment, materials and refreshments.