Medieval Tile Making


For Historic Properties, Museums, and Events.

In role as Kate Tiler I offer a demonstration of medieval tile making, using  replica tools and equipment and traditional materials with which the public and children can join in and learn about the methods used by helping me to make a tile.

During my demonstration I talk about the life and times of the medieval and Tudor tile makers, I bring the past to life by telling how ordinary people were affected by the large events in history such as the Reformation of the Church in Tudor times.

I have a tented workshop which I bring to work in, or I can work inside in a museum setting,, a marquee or a market stall in the High Street – where ever I set up to work, people gather to find out what I am doing and are soon persuaded to come closer and to join in. I can work at an event for a day, for a weekend, or week-long  in conjunction with a summer holiday event or schools discovery visit.

Tile making works both as a short display or a means of  introducing many other subjects in Medieval and Tudor history, including design and technology, religious symbolism and church reformation, politics and economics.

I love my work as a tile maker – what I enjoy most of all is helping people make connections between their lives now and the people of the past. I have been demonstrating tile making since 1996 and learn something about it every year, often from members of the public while at work.

I am interested in the interpretation and exploration of the hidden meanings of  medieval tile designs and images and as I make a tile I talk about the patterns and the messages concealed in many of them, which helps me to place them in their wider context in the medieval world.

My demonstration is supported by a very popular children’s tile making activity which enables them to create a mini-tile in air drying clay to take home and paint. Using elements of tile designs children of all ages and abilities can create their own unique interpretation.

This activity is very suited to Family Learning, where the whole family can join in together.

Pictures from top:

  • Kate Tiler at Bede’s World, Jarrow, Newcastle in 2004. Picture copyright Critical Tortoise.
  • My Medieval trader’s tent and workshop, at Lanark, Scotland, August 2008.
  • My fired tiles show a variety of patterns
  • Use wooden pattern blocks to stamp the tile
  • Making mini tiles to take home



Kate Tiler at Bede’s World

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