J Kay Aplin – Architectural Ceramics
The Ceramic House is a fantasy land inside and out. Everywhere you look, there are treasures to behold. J Kay Aplin has spend several years cladding every available space with gorgeous ceramic and glass installations.
Llanbradach Spires bathroom. Wall of relief tiles above bath, wall of flat green tiles behind shower and sink, bath panel with combination of relief and flat tiles.
The bathroom was the first piece to be completed in The Ceramic House. The Llanbradach Follies in Wales (2009) is the biggest public realm commission I have completed to date; two turrets in Llanbradach town centre, covered with approximately 2000 tiles. Surplus tiles for the spires of the Follies, clad with green spiral and blue chevron-designed tiles now line the bathroom wall installation and the lines of blue and green tiles in the main body of the two towers have provided a bath panel.
A window comprising of leaded slumped glass and ceramic pieces provides beautiful coloured lighting between the bathroom and the bedroom. This glass/ceramic window was reconfigured from a piece of work I made at Cheslea College of Art for my degree show in 1995.
I designed this piece for the Twisted exhibition at Phoenix Brighton in July 2011, with the intention of permanently installing it into The Ceramic House thereafter. It is in the hallway and is the first thing you see when you enter The Ceramic House. A collage of voluptuous spheres and undulating curves all rendered in a rich palette of reds and blues provides a wonderful tactile sensory experience. The title refers to the location where this piece was first created – at the City Lit College, Bolt Court, London, in 1996 when I designed a small wall piece using these forms and I wanted to recreate the piece on a larger scale.The Tudor Kitchen featuring relief tiles on two walls (backsplashes), tiled worktops, kickboards and feature end panels.
The Tudor Kitchen is so called because I used some tiles left over from a private commission for a client in Lewes completed in 2011, whose personal history relates to Hampton Court Palace, so all the designs were inspired by the palace and gardens.
Several more pieces complete the overall design of the kitchen. Two fused glass and ceramic lightboxes that I made whilst at Chelsea College of Art and Design in 1993 provide ambient lighting. A circle relief panel that I made when I was living in Copenhagen in 1997 presides over a table that was designed for the room which has been tiled with (part of) my collection of antique tiles.
Utility room. Tiled wall reliefs (backsplashes), tiled worktops, kickboards, window sills and skirting boards.
The utility room is what became of the old kitchen. Part of the plan to keep the new kitchen uncluttered and spacious was to leave the sink where it is in the old kitchen, and the appliances. Obviously this presented another opportunity to create another tiled room, so I chose a theme very different to the bright colours and business of the Tudor kitchen, and opted for a calming, undulating design in shades of green – both more fitting for a small space – that moves across the walls and leads you into the garden.Stained glass cupboard doors are custom built into an alcove in the living room. The glass is recycled from one of my degree pieces – a doorway for the Textile Museum in Barcelona – and this element is screen-printed leaded stained glass. I reconfigured the glass to fit the doors and the antique glass creates a distorted effect through which it is just possible to glimpse the shelves full of books.
Bar Facade, Ceramic and stained glass applied to resin/fibre glass with internal light fitting. Dimensions: 1.6 x 1.4m
One of my degree pieces created whilst at Chelsea College of Art was the façade of a bar designed for Beach Blanket Babylon restaurant in Notting Hill, brought back to life with new oak housing. Simone Perrotte’s “Camouflage” was displayed in this photograph during the exhibition in May 2013.
This bathroom is called the ‘Portuguese’ bathroom because it is decorated with blue and white tiles I brought back over three years from my travels to Portugal. The relief white tiles covering the wall above the bath are inspired by the tiled facades found all over Portugal. The bath panel is tiled with hand-painted tiles with motifs inspired by the tiles I brought back.
This bathroom existed in my head for several years after completing the Utility Room. I wanted to make a vertical version of the undulating relief extrusions on the green utility room tiles, and produced a design by looking at bamboo canes. Two walls in the wet room have the relief designs and two more walls are clad with hand-made white tiles.