J Kay Aplin – Architectural Ceramics
The Ceramic Garden has been evolving since I started this project seven years ago. The two biggest wall reliefs in The Ceramic House went up in 2011 and were an ambitious project to start off with! They cover most of the wall space facing the garden. The garden terraces were completed a year later in time for the 2012 opening and the butterflies and dragonflies wall decoration at the same time. In 2014 I added the turquoise wall containing lights above the Blackberry Hill bench and the lower pathway. There are still a few more things to do in the back and front gardens including a grand entranceway so keep your eye on what’s going on!
In 2004 I created ceramic panels and sculptures for the town of Gorseinon in Wales, collaborating with a team of landscape architects who had been employed to regenerate the roadside corridor outside Penyrheol Secondary School. The floral theme of the tiles relates to their planting scheme. Originally there were three panels consisting of three columns; here I have condensed the whole into one.
Ceramic relief tiles, approximately 400
Dimensions: each panel 1.8 x 1.4m
The curved façades of the Llanbradach Follies in Wales are decorated with relief tiles inspired by the interior decoration of Castell Coch, a 19th Century Folly not far from the village of Llanbradach. The surplus tiles from these sections have taken on a new life as the façade on the wall of the garage at the end of the garden.
Over one thousand hand-cut tiles, glazed in colours complementing the Llanbradach Façade Wall Relief on the garage, cover the surfaces of a series of low walls around the edge of the rose patio. Bright yellow, orange and pink walls compete for attention but provide a sunny, Mediterrean feel.
A set of curved steps lead up to the breakfast terrace, the only spot in the garden that catches the early morning sun, which is paved with black limestone and a streak of yellow hand-made ceramic guttering running across the middle of the floor and feeding into the yellow wall below. The Mosaic Steps are described more fully on my blog.
There are 3 levels within the floor piece to provide a flat area for a table and to account for the sloping site.
At the back of the breakfast terrace is the feature piece; a bench with lighting feature in blue relief. The mosaic steps are also made in shades of blue and the rims are glazed in the same glaze as the bench, leading the eye upwards to the outlandish bench at the top. A full description of Blackberry Hill bench is on my blog.
A full description of The Garden Terraces is on the blog and also the process of making it all from beginning to end. The Making of The Garden Terraces shows the “before” and “after” and all stages in between!
BURDON MOOR butterflies and dragonflies garden wall decorations.
Common blues, small coppers and damselflies. Average dimension of each: 15 cm across
Gateshead Council commissioned me to create a piece of public artwork for Burdon Moor (2004), a plot of land previously used agriculturally, which was purchased by the council to turn it back into traditional moorland. I applied small ceramic pieces – butterflies, dragonflies and wildflowers – to two boulders, representing flora and fauna that will eventually populate the moor.