The Ceramic House

J Kay Aplin – Architectural Ceramics

Permanent Architectural Ceramic Installations New Site

The Ceramic House is a fantasy land inside and out. Everywhere you look, there are treasures to behold.

The Ceramic House is no ordinary dwelling. It is a personal story reflecting Kay Aplin’s taste in art and her desire to be surrounded by beautiful things, and not just objects, but the whole house as the artwork. Since 2010, Kay has been gradually covering surfaces throughout the house and garden with  extraordinary tiled installations, creating a very rich, tactile, fantastical space.

Trained as a public artist, Kay has spent over twenty years creating site-specific commissions for the public realm working predominantly in architectural ceramics. Often her work is sited in remote places and only viewable in photographic form for the majority of the population. The idea to create a showcase of her installations was to offer the opportunity to see, touch and feel her work in a living and lived-in context, as Kay considers especially important the sensory tactile experience of her trademark relief tiles.

Insert galleries from kayaplin website here (The Ceramic House page) and delete the rest.

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Link to page

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.

81935©MatthewAndrews2013The 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.81920©MatthewAndrews201381921©MatthewAndrews2013

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.

Bolt Court ceramic wall relief, hallway. Dimensions: 2.2 x 1.2m81974©MatthewAndrews2013

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.81977©MatthewAndrews2013The Tudor Kitchen featuring relief tiles on two walls (backsplashes), tiled worktops,  kickboards and feature end panels.81677©MatthewAndrews2013

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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.

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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.mounted with table

Utility room. Tiled wall reliefs (backsplashes), tiled worktops, kickboards, window sills and skirting boards.

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81565©MatthewAndrews2013The 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.81842©MatthewAndrews2013Stained 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.81818©MatthewAndrews2013

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.

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Portuguese Bathroom

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.
portuguese-tiles _bgm0179-version-2portuguese-bathroom-overview

 

Bamboo Bathroom

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.

wall reliefs

The Ceramic Garden has been evolving since I started this project five 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!Ceramic House garden

Gorseinon wall relief copyGORSEINON tiled facade on exterior wall
Approximately 250 relief tiles
Dimensions: 1.8m x 3.5m

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.

LLANBRADACH FACADE wall relief

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.

Completed in April 2012, the garden terraces consist of 25 square metres of tiled surfaces, including walls, floors, steps, a bench and a lighting feature.

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.

bench oblique resizedAt 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.

butterflies

wall reliefs

The Ceramic Garden has been evolving since I started this project five 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!Ceramic House garden

Gorseinon wall relief copyGORSEINON tiled facade on exterior wall
Approximately 250 relief tiles
Dimensions: 1.8m x 3.5m

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.

LLANBRADACH FACADE wall relief

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.

Completed in April 2012, the garden terraces consist of 25 square metres of tiled surfaces, including walls, floors, steps, a bench and a lighting feature.

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.

bench oblique resizedAt 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.

butterflies
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