Handmade encaustic, glazed and printed ceramic tiles, Natasha Russell
Above are a series of encaustic tiles made during a training placement with Craven Dunhill Jackfield. In making Encaustic tiles, coloured clays are pressed into carved plastered molds. Through this, the design is embedded into the tile, instead of being applied to the surface. This process, alongside the use of high firing, porecelainous clays, means that encaustics are paricularly suited to hardwearing environments like floors or outdoor surfaces. In the historic buildings where this kind of tile is often found you can sometimes see areas where the tile has become warped over many years of footfall, yet the embedded pattern remains.
The tiles were designed to playfully explore the carving, pressing and patterning methods used within the process. In addition testing different methods through these designs, the designs draw inspiration from the interlinking and formalised, nature based patterns found in historic encaustics.
Craven Dunhill Jackfield is a historic tile making factory and museum based in Ironbridge in the UK. They have been making ceramics and tiles since 1872.
This Placement was supported by QEST and the Princes Foundation as part of the Building Arts Program in 2020.
Above, a series of Glazed and pressed tiles designed for this shepherds hut.
The designs were based on the interlinking structures of Moss species found locally to the hut, and to echo the corrugation of the hut's exterior.
Below are backsplash and hearth tiles designed to softly compliment the textures of the hut's interior.
The hut was designed and built in collaboration with students on the building arts program in 2020.
Above and right, Test tiles for pressed and smoked patterns ( 2020 ) and fabrication for concrete architectural panels ( 2019 ).
My interest in tile making grew from a desire to make printed and patterned work for outdoor and public environments, and to embed decorative designs into materials with wider functional qualities. This has lead to a fascination with the many different tile making techniques found throughout history, and the possibilities of combining these methods with other printmaking, carving and casting processes.