Just how much tile making could we cram into one day? That was our thought when we were asked to put on a Godwin inspired encaustic tile workshop for Hereford Archives in November. The answer we found was that our 26 students could have really used an extra hour each, on top of the two that we had allotted – but no one complained and you can’t blame us for wanting to give as many people as possible the opportunity to create their own encaustic tiles, in either a traditional medieval or a Godwin inspired design.
Hereford Record Office were our hosts and we thought it was incredibly brave of them to allow us to bring so much potential for mess making into the rooms where normally you are only allowed a pencil! They are moving offices in 2014 and that may have helped them to throw caution to the winds, but we did notice they had encased all of the bookcases in sheets of plastic…
All of the tiles survived the journey home to our workshop in North Leicestershire (via a short stop in Loughborough to enable us to see Dr Who in 3D at the cinema!) and we’re busy fettling and drying the finished tiles, ready for firing and glazing.
Focusing on the Godwin Victorian tile makers felt incredibly modern and cutting edge for us as we normally find Tudor tiles rather racy. It was some comfort to find that because of their methods, the company was considered to be the closest match to the original Medieval tiles and was favoured by many Victorian architects when choosing suppliers. We used our back issues of ‘Glazed Expressions’ to help with the research and we were glad that we’d taken the time to read up on the Godwin family when we found we had not one but two Godwin descendants amongst the students!
Our day at Hereford brings their year long exhibition on Godwin to a close, after other activities including a talk by an authority on the Godwin Tile factory and a creative embroidery crafts session based on the tile patterns.
The Archives Office at Hereford will reopen in the new premises late in 2014 or early 2015 but the research facility will still be available on request.