Jackfield Tile Museum is one of ten museums that make up the Ironbridge Gorge Museum trust. While you may roll your eyes at the thought of going to a tile museum, it is our favorite museum out of the ten. The museum is set on the site of a working tile factor. The exhibitions are set up to include a scene of fairy tale tiles that were preserved from a 1930s hospital that was going to be demolished, an Edwardian Tube Station, a pub, butchers, typical 1930s front room and the original office, including the large accountant and order books used to ensure all orders were filled. This is next to the show room, where they would sell their products via prime examples of the complex tiles created.
Jackfield runs a drop in tile workshop every Tuesday with more sessions available during half term and summer months. We have been making tiles for about three years now, usually twice a year. You can find the information online or follow them on Twitter @TileWorkshops.
The workshop is the perfect balance between fun and educational. First you’re shown how to use the pipe bag first. This is the most complex part of the tile making as this is the material that keeps the paint from running into each other. You’re then encouraged to find a design that you’d like to have on your tile. I tend to draw my own with something relevant to my family at the time, while Charlotte prefers to stick with the patterns in the books.
You then use carbon paper to trace your design onto the tile using a pencil then you paint! The fun is because red looks orange and yellow looks grey! Little kids need help with this but those that can read have great fun working out the colours.
Once the tiles are completed, they are placed in the kiln (usually that day but not always). This process usually takes less then a week, depending on the time of the year. We are always excited to see our tiles as even though we created them, you are never sure how they will look until you see them after the kiln.
I highly recommend Jackfield for a very fun day out with the family or with friends. The prices range from £6.50-£25 per tile depending on the size. We usually have the £7.95 tile. It takes approximately an 1 ½ hours to make the tile, but this depends on the detail.
Before and After Kiln: