Ceramic tile painting

Does anyone have experience of painting on ceramic tiles? We recently bought some second-hand fireplace tiles on eBay, a floral design which I thought was going to be highlighted in red. Unfortunately it’s difficult to show colour on a computer screen and in real life the bits I thought were red are actually brown. I like the yellow, and the background is a lovely deep bottle-green. But brown is probably my least-favourite colour. I’m wondering if it would work to use a ceramic paint to highlight the brown bits with a hint of red? They are fireplace tiles so I think the paint could be ‘fixed’ in the oven without cracking the tiles.

The reason I originally liked the tiles is that the ‘tube-lining’ that outlines the areas of colour reminds me of the white lines of a silk-painting, so I have an idea to make a silk painted picture to hang above the fireplace that echoes the flowers in the tiles. It’s a long time since I did silk-painting except to make mottled backgrounds for stitch. I did some last year when I made a silk painting of Jeremy Fisher sitting on his lily-leaf for my God-daughter. Unfortunately when I fixed the silk I must have got it too hot because the gutta outlining came out scorched. Although the scorch-marks could have been incorporated into the design I thought it would weaken the silk in the future, so I abandoned it and did the same design on cotton with fabric paints instead. It would be fun to get back into silk painting as it’s a lovely technique.

Projects like this have been on hold for a while. My mother-in-law was desperate to leave hospital, so we found her a place in a care home while bones mended. Sadly the care home wasn’t a great success and there was ‘much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth’ (and that’s just the relatives!) There was a notice board in the entrance with the heading ‘Activities This Week’. The board was always empty. I was tempted to add ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’. My normally positive outlook only just withstood mother-in-law’s cheery reminders of ‘Not long til you’re old and in this state and who’ll look after you’? But I guess if you’re looking over The Edge then you can be forgiven for commenting to other people that it looks like a long way down. Anyway, at the weekend we effected ‘The Great Escape’ from the care home and took mother-in-law back home with a lovely live-in carer, so fingers crossed that things will look up for everyone. Perhaps we’ve left the twin towns of Much Weeping and Much Wailing behind and moved to Little Hoping. Maybe one day we can move on to Great Hoping?

Ah well, if you haven’t got youth, faith or children to protect you, then art provides some kind of hand-rail and fairy-lights along the edge of The Abyss. Art, and also the wonders of nature; moorland streams, secret mossy places, sunlit uplands, flowers, silence. And cuddles. And being connected to people. And old polished wood. And cats sleeping in the sun. And tiled fireplaces!  So if anyone has any experience of ceramic painting then I’d be grateful for your thoughts. Do you think it would work?

2 thoughts on “Ceramic tile painting

  1. Janice

    Hi Jane,
    Don’t get too excited – I’m writing from Little Hoping and know nothing at all about painting on ceramic tiles, but I hope you find a way forward on it. I wonder if the easiest way might be to ask a ceramicist to do it for you. After all, they have the know-how and the technology, and from your perspective is it such a delicious creative project that you’d feel like you had missed out if you got someone else to do the paint job….? The tiles are lovely and I hope, one way or another, you get them looking just the way you want them.

    As for the passage about your mother in law – well, aside from the fact that it made very entertaining reading (and I’m not sure that was the primary intention!) I understand exactly where you’re coming from. I know two people who have had recent experience of placing people in care homes for the elderly, and in both cases there were break-outs – one of them single-handed, semi-naked and in the middle of the night. There needs to be far more done to to ensure the standards of care and dignity in these places.

    1. Jane Post author

      Greetings to Little Hoping. I’ll post some photos of the tiles as and when I find a solution.

      Ah yes, clothes are probably recommended for an successful escape!

      I think one of the issues in care homes is what people do with their time. Even if you get a daily visit from a relative there are still alot of other hours in the day. I’m sure there are places that do manage to help people be as active as they are able, and using their brain or creativity in some way. I’ve heard of all sorts of projects that link people in care homes with local primary schools for example, or take animals in to spend time with residents, or run creative classes or book groups. There’s a limit to how much TV you can watch in a week.



Your comments welcome here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *