Inspired by the book ‘The Willow Pattern Story’ local ceramic artist Jasmine Simpson was commissioned to craft a custom tile mural of the Willow Pattern that would wrap around her client’s bathroom, located in a contemporary town house in London’s bustling high street. Having worked with Johnson Tiles previously on the handmade ceramic poppies ‘Weeping Window’ installation, produced to commemorate the centenary of World War I, Jasmine approached us again to help her bring the project to life.
Working closely with the JT Design, Development and Production teams, they discussed the best way to create the tiles, and began with their initial trials and tests before Jasmine could commence hand painting the entire mural.
In a nod to traditional blue and white ceramics, and to match with the commissioned design the go to material was Cobalt Oxide. Jasmine and the development team tested a few different blue underglazes, but none had the depth of true Cobalt. Similarly to watercolour paint, you can see the layers of pigment and the delicate strokes of the brush using Cobalt, which fits perfectly with the desired aesthetic of the scheme. Jasmine also used Chinese pottery brushes in a range of sizes to paint the mural, she noted “their ability to hold lots of water and pigment made them perfect for painting washes and areas with lots of detail such as this.”
Jasmine came and worked with our production team every day for several weeks on the production belt, where she laid out and hand painted each tile, ready for them to be initially fired. Once the tiles were painted, it was imperative Jasmine and the team thoroughly checked each one to correct any tiles with blemishes, as it became apparent that Cobalt Oxide could contaminate very quickly. The tiles were also hand dipped and glazed by our production team before being fired once more in one of our giant belt fed kilns. Once they had passed quality control and been twice fired, the tiles were packed into boxes for shipping. The mural tiles were then carefully despatched and fitted into the bathroom of the London townhouse and paired with luxurious gold fittings for an opulent and unique finished look.
Client Joseph A. Farrell stated “This project was a labour of love and creativity, both scientifically and artistically from start to finish. It involved painstaking curatorship of the artwork within the space, from the exact measurements of the walls and where the images would cross corners, to the detail required in the brushstrokes and the science behind how glazing and heat fluctuations can affect the colour. Despite this, working with Jasmine was beyond simple. She understood the brief immediately but checked in regularly for feedback. Johnson Tiles were equally as pleasurable, accommodating and professional to work with. I have seldom come across a group of different professions all working in harmonised concert to get a project absolutely right!”
See below an interview with Jasmine where she details the whole process from start to finish, with never before seen images/videos and more info on the inspiration for the whole project.