Tag: exeter

  1. Painting Summer Fruits – Q&A with Angie, an Original Style Hand Painter

    Painting Summer Fruits – Q&A with Angie, an Original Style Hand Painter Since our beginning in 1986, Original Style has become renowned for its tile manufacturing which includes a vast range of production techniques, resulting in truly original product for a variety of styles and settings. Amongst such skills in our Devon-based factory, you can find our team of talented painters, who craft designs, by hand, directly onto tile bisques creating an assortment of beautifully unique, artisanal tile collections. Within our hand painting team, belongs one of Original Style’s most experienced members of production – the wonderful, Angie. Having worked at Original Style for over 25 years, Angie hosts many technical skills and for 18 of those years she has been an integral part of the creation of our hand painted products, including the revival of our new Summer Fruits collection. Summer Fruits previously belonged to Original Style’s La Belle Collection, which was first launched in 1988. Although La Belle is no longer a part of our tile range, our designers decided to reinvent Summer Fruits through modernising its glaze colours and applying the design to a larger base tile – making the collection perfect for those who strive for country-cottage charm within their interior décor. Being such an historic collection for Original Style, we decided to speak with Angie to provide you with a glimpse of ‘behind the scenes’ into the creation of these tiles as well as her story as one of our talented hand painters.    Question: How long have you been a hand painter at Original Style? Angie: Oh a long time! I’ve been at Original Style for over 25 years but have only worked in our factory for seven of these, and 18 years before that I worked from home as a hand painter. This was perfect for me at the time as it fitted in great with raising my children – I used to have a set up in my conservatory where I would sit for hours just painting, it was wonderful. The production team would send out the bisques to be painted alongside a list of directions, a recipe card, pots of colours, etc. and I would paint it as per the sample tile design before sending back to the factory for the final processes. However, I have actually been a hand painter for longer. Before my time at Original Style, I worked in a collectable tea pot factory where I painted product and also fettled, although I never actually formally studied art, design etc. I just love painting and was fortunate enough to pursue it as a career. In fact, at one point, I used to work in a factory crimping pasty’s which isn’t ‘arty’ at all! Question: What is it that you love about hand painting Original Style tiles? Angie: I like that when I’m painting a tile, I know that somebody’s going to eventually have it in their home and that they’re going to look at that product every day and it’s something that I painted - I created that! And hopefully it’s going to bring a little joy to somebody’s life and they’re going to love it as much as I loved painting it. I also like having the opportunity to be creative. If I have any hand painting ideas, I’m able to go to production and the design team to see if it’s of interest and they’ll archive for reference for future product designs. My skills are very much in hand-painting and it’s lovely to work alongside these teams and showcase any ideas I do have. It is amazing to see a product come to fruition with the design team coming to us initially saying ‘this is what we want’ and seeing how the product develops throughout the different processes, there’s so much involved. Question: Can you take me through the process of creating one of the Summer Fruits tiles? First of all the moulds for each tile design needs to be made which is a process in itself! But once the mould is ready to go, the Slip (liquid clay) is poured into the mould and casted – by the talented Danny! Next, once the clay has dried out enough, it is moved over to the fettling/sponging booth. It’s then sponged over gently with water to remove any imperfections on the surface. They’re then fettled – this is where you take the rough edges off and if you have any dinks or rough bits on them you can smooth them down so they look nice and neat. The clay is then put into the gas kiln to be fired into bisque (the first of many firings) The bisque is then coated with engobe which makes up the base colour of the tile before being fired again. After its second trip into the kiln, the bisques then come to me and I paint them. Once painted, they’re fired again. And, finally, once they’ve been glazed, they then receive their final firing in the kiln! It’s quite the process. Question: How long, on average, does it take to paint one of our Summer Fruit tiles? Angie: Well, I don’t actually paint just one tile at a time. I usually line them up and carry out each painting process simultaneously as it’s more efficient that way. For example, you might get an order for 20 pieces and I’ll pre-mix my paints so they’re ready to go and then paint the first colour on all of them and then the second colour and so on. However, as a rough guestimate, I would say it would take around 30 minutes to paint just one piece and that’s with lots and lots of practise! Question: What’s the most difficult aspect of painting these tiles? Angie: Trying to get the colours the same as much as possible. Even though I pre-mix my paints in larger quantities, you still run out and have to make new batches all the time. From a quality perspective we really have to be vigilant about this, so we follow recipe cards very closely to ensure consistency. We also test the paint colour on the back of a duff tile to ensure it matches the sample ‘standard’ guide colour. Even with all of the quality processes in place, the nature of hand painting and how these tiles are produced means that there’s typically some variation amongst final pieces made. The Summer Fruits tiles really are little pieces of art and being individually hand-painted, this means that no two tiles can ever be exactly the same but we find that this adds to their story and provides a really nice quality.    Read more...
  2. Creating Our Living Murals by Becca Keenan, New Products Designer

    Creating Our Living Murals by Becca Keenan, New Products Designer  Creating a large-scale mural was something that the New Products team had dreamed about creating for a while. As a team we have a passion for wallpaper and interiors and had picked up on the trend for wall murals and large-scale wall coverings. The idea of creating a design that really takes you on an immersive journey, allowing you to get lost amongst the trees or flowers – our creativity levels were bursting! Initially, I’m not sure that any of us really thought that the idea was anything more than a pipe dream. Within the Design team none of us had previously worked on a project of this magnitude – where would we start? Would It even be possible to make it work on tile? There are often many hurdles when working with ceramics, so there were many things to consider before we proposed the idea. We presented a range of design ideas to the New Products Team and decided on two concepts to work on; Tropical Oasis - A tropical rainforest with an abundance of exotic flowers, plants and animals, and English Garden - A quaint countryside scene filled with British blooms and wildflower meadows. As the Biophilic trend is still going strong, we thought that both botanical themed concepts were perfect. We started to think about how we wanted the murals to work. We wanted to make sure that the designs were versatile and could be used in several different ways. We were conscious of the fact that not all projects would be suited to a huge mural, so a big part of our planning process was making sure that the designs would translate well into smaller spaces too. Then we got to the fun part – the design work! Every element featured has been created by hand; sketched out and then painted in watercolour or painstakingly created digitally on our iPads here in the Exeter Design Studio. The process consisted of (a lot) of; researching, drawing, painting, scanning, and artwork prepping, building up a collection of elements that we could then use to begin the big mural build. As we had never worked on a project like this before, it was a learning curve for us, but we absolutely loved the challenge and problem solving – which made it even more rewarding when we reached the point of having finalised murals! Once we were ready to see the murals on tile, we then worked alongside our skilled production team, printing the design onto the tiles using the latest inkjet technology. Our high-quality inkjet printer has an incredible colour space, allowing us to achieve the bold, bright colours that feature in the murals. Unlike traditional murals, that tend to be a stand-alone piece, our murals are designed to repeat infinitely. The design works in three parts; Panel A, B and C, each consisting of eight tiles. Together they make up the full twenty-four tile mural. The full mural repeats on both sides, so the longer your wall, the more panels you can add. For a smaller area, a downstairs WC for example, you could choose your favourite panel of eight and use it as a small feature wall behind your basin. If you were working on a larger project, say a family bathroom with a freestanding bath, you could use three or four panels to create a statement. If you have a corner shower – you could use two panels wrapped around the corner to create a zoned area. We also considered the height variation between projects – the murals have been designed to work even if you take off the top and bottom tiles, so no need to worry if you have lower ceilings or wanted to use them above a built-in bath. We are so excited to finally share this amazing project – seeing it tiled in our brand-new Exeter showroom was a proud moment for the New Products team, it's been an incredible effort from everybody involved. We hope you all have as much fun using them as we had designing them – we can’t wait to see how our customers have used them!   Read more...
  3. Our newly refurbished Tile Showroom in Exeter

    Our newly refurbished Tile Showroom in Exeter Our Flagship Tile Showroom in Exeter has had a huge transformation! Our renovated showroom seeks to take you on an inspirational tile journey, showcasing a series of room sets, from modern bathrooms and kitchens to colourful feature walls and even gorgeous, garden ideas. Our Exeter Showroom on Apple Lane opened over 30 years ago and we’ve since opened eight more tile showrooms across the UK. We’ve been glazing and firing tiles since 1986, as well as designing exclusive prints to create patterned tiles. Our heritage spans 30 years, with our story beginning in the development of tile sets for cast iron fireplaces. Today, we are renowned for their unrivalled glazes, market leading designs and innovative tile solutions; many of which continue to be produced in Exeter, Devon. The newly renovated showroom offers a distinctive and high-quality portfolio of tiles to suit all budgets. Whether you’re redesigning your bathroom or kitchen, or undertaking a larger renovation project, the refurbished showroom displays a wide range of tiles. Each of our tile ranges is displayed across the showroom in a variety of settings: Kitchen Inspiration; Browse a range of kitchen settings featuring modern floor tiles, colourful glazed options and patterned tiles for the ultimate feature wall or floor. Bathroom Inspiration; Be inspired by lots of tiled bathroom settings, from classic styles featuring our heritage Artworks and Winchester ranges to contemporary spaces featuring large-formats and natural tones. Hallway Inspiration; With a dedicated Victorian Floor Tile area you can find your perfect pattern and colourway. Flooring Inspiration; Explore our wide range of floor tiles, suitable for every room in the home including wood-effect and stone-effect options, parquet style flooring and patterned tiles. Outdoor Inspiration; Discover contemporary outdoor tile solutions with our range of 20mm porcelain tiles. From large gardens and open plan spaces, to smaller areas and terraces, there’s something to complement every outdoor living space. Our Exeter team have over twenty years of experience between them and are on hand to discuss your project and offer design support. Cut and full sized samples are available along with high stock levels and quick delivery, if required. Feeling inspired? Visit our new Exeter Showroom to kick start your tiling project. We look forward to welcoming you soon!   Read more...

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