Friday, 17 July 2020

"Wat er op de vloer omme-gaet" All that goes on on a floor. (encaustic tiles)

Hello my friends,

The title of this post 'wat om die vloeren omme-gaet' refers to the title for an article written by Eloy Koldeweij. It can be found on the site of the Dutch national Library and a very interesting read. (‘Wat er op de vloer omme-gaet’: poppenhuisvloeren en de realiteit

Medieval encaustic tiles
It focusses on Dutch flooring materials and fashions from the middle ages into the nineteenth century. The emphasis lies on the question if the cabinet houses from the 17th and 18th centuries are reliable contemporary sources for the variety of floors and (simulated) materials that they have. A very interesting read indeed! I have used this article as a reference while choosing the types of flooring for Huis ter Swinnendael.

My first attempt at encaustic tiles
If you have read my blogpost on the start of the build I start with the east wing of the house. The cellar of this wing will house the Stewards office and the cooking kitchen. Both rooms will have tiled floors with clay floortiles. All the rooms on this floor of Huis ter Swinnendael will be tiled. Only the servants entrancehall will have white marble on the floor.

While the stewards office will get a floor in two tones, grey and red, the kitchen floor will only consists of grey tiles.  But which pattern will I use for the Stewards office? As you can see in the picture above I have narrowed the choice down to four types of arrangements. Feel free to give me your opinion. 


 I made the different tiles out of terracotta or grey coloured airdrying clay. I rolled out the clay between two spacers to get an even thickness and let it dry until the clay is leathery but not yet hardened to a point where you can't cut it. It is a tip I picked up in one of my books on miniatures. Cutting the airdrying clay when still soft does not give clean lines because the thin sheet of clay tend to cling to the knife and come up of the table when you lift up the knife.


When all tiles are ready I will place them on the floor arranged in the chosen pattern. When the pattern is made to fit, I glue them on the floor of the room. When all has dried I will grout them quickly with filler and clean the excess filler right away as to not damage the tiles.


The fireplace in the rentmeesterskamer (Stewards office) will get small glazed tiles on its floor. These tiles will have slipware decorations and are called encaustic tiles. By 1675, when the house was built, this type of tiles were no longer fashionable and therefore no longer made. So these are likely to be recycled from the previous house which was destroyed in 1672. Encaustic tiles are best known from floors in churches and grand house from the midle ages and grand houses.

Various designs of encaustic tiles
Truth is that I like the real ( medieval/ renaissance) slipware tiles/ encaustic tiles so much that I wanted to include some of them in Huis ter Swinnendael. But I remained hessitant. 

When I found the posts of Daydreamer in her Blog (http://aboutmydollhouses.blogspot.com/search/label/Encaustic%20tiles) I saw that encaustic tiles look great in miniature. I then knew that I simply had to make some myself. She has made over 1300!!! encaustic tiles for the floor of the Great Hall of her castle. I have made a much smaller amount of tiles. 

I may make more though. I will likely use some of them for the floor of the larder too. But the larder lies in the West wing and will have to wait for now. 

First I drew some decorations to scale after some original tiles on pictures I have sourced on the internet. It helped me to make a choice between the many possible decorations that were made through the centuries. 

The encaustic tiles are made out of airdrying clay in the same way as the other tiles. They are 1x1cm in size. For the decorations I used white paint. The original tiles would be decorated by pressing it into the clay and then filling the indentations with white clay, sometimes coloured with pigment. 

Finaly the tiles are glazed with a satin gloss glaze with some cadmium yellow mixed into it. This gives them a realistic yellow hue. You can see the difference this glaze makes. For this picture I glazed only a small part of them and placed them between the still unglazed tiles. As these are recycled tiles I do not make all matching decorations but a nice range of different decorations. And not every tile is decorated. I am very happy with the result. I will glaze all of them twice berore installing them. That will deepen the colours even more. 

By now I also have made most of the larger floortiles for the rest of the floor. But that is for a next post. I hope that you have enjoyed reading this one and till next time. 

Huibrecht 

20 comments:

  1. Prachtig je tegels waardevol geworden door je versieringen erop!
    groetjes van Marijke

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    1. Dank je wel Marijke. Wil je ze kopen? Hoe waardevol acht je ze? ;-)

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  2. These tiles are going to make amazing floors Huibrecht! I admire you (and Betsy, too!) for the commitment it takes to achieve such a labor of love. Your hand painting amazes me and the glaze really does bring out the fine details. I am looking forward to seeing which patterns you decide on for each room and also to the next post with the larger tiles!

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    1. I am glad that you like them. It takes some time and testing but in the end it is very Zen to scribble away on those tiny tiles. :-)

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  3. Wat een prachtige tegels heb je gemaakt, Huibrecht, wàt een werk, maar ze zijn echt schitterend! Wat een interessant boek heb je ontdekt, ik heb er nog nooit van gehoord, maar dat geldt voor veel dingen, een mens is nooit te oud om te leren ;).
    Wat de keuze van leg patroon betreft: persoonlijk vind ik de twee patronen bovenaan het rustigst. Het 'verspringende' patroon is, mede doordat ze tweekleurig zijn, misschien ietwat onrustig aan de ogen...? Want er komen nog meubels etc in de ruimte te staan. Hoe dan ook, ik weet zeker dat je het patroon zult kiezen. De encaustic tegeltjes die je gemaakt hebt, zijn echte miniatuur kunstwerkjes, erg mooi beschilderd en ook het verschil/vergeelde 'lak'-effect is mooi. Excellent werk!
    Blijf veilig, zorg goed voor elkaar! Fijn weekend.
    Groetjes,
    Ilona

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    1. Hoi Ilona,

      Als je er een keer tijd en zin voor hebt kan ik jou aanraden om het te lezen. Het is gratis te lezen op de site van DBNL. Het hoofdstuk van Eloy Koldeweij is voor ons het meest interessant en is in een uurtje wel gelezen.

      De onderste twee patronen gaan het niet worden voor deze kamer. In de kookkeuken komt hoogstwaarschijnlijk het patroon rechtsonder te liggen. Vanwege het 'onrustige eraan wordt dat een volledig grijze of rode vloer.

      Ik was zelf niet echt overtuigd van de encaustische tegeltjes totdat ik ze ging 'glazuren' met vernis. Toen klopte de kleuren opeens wel. Ik ben blij dat ik Betsy's blog helemaal terug gelezen heb en zo haar post hierover tegen kwam.

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  4. If you use a spreadable grout, make sure you waterproof your air-dry clay tiles first! I use at least 3 coats of matte waterproof varnish on my tile floors, making sure it gets into the cracks between the tiles, before I grout them with spackle. See the Tudor Apothecary or the Tudor House on my blog. After all the work of painting, you do not want your tiles to melt, and your paintwork is very fine indeed!

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    1. Thank you for the tip on waterproofing the tiles! I was going to glaze them with varnish, but now I'll give them a few extra coats to be sure. I moistened one tile and indeed the paperclay can dissolve alarmingly quick when not waterproofed!

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  5. Un trabajo muy minucioso. Me encanta.

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  6. Wow, this is absolutely amazing... especially the decor of the encaustic tiles blows me away. So good you were inspired by Betsy... although this means a lot of work... ;O) But I also like your "simple" tiles - and whatever desing you're going to choose it will look terrific in the end. Happy tiling! *grin*

    Hugs
    Birgit

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    1. Thank you. It is quite some work, but the result is worth it. The simple tiles also take quite some work to get them aproximately the Same size. ;-)

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  7. Dear Huibrecht, your tiles look wonderful! (They are so precise... mine were all a bit irregular!) I love that your "story" for your house could make the tiles have a place, even after they are out of fashion! This house you are building is going to be magnificent! And clearly, you are just getting going, but the floors already show so much promise! I can't wait to see which pattern you will choose... I assume the "working" corners of the house usually were simpler in design, saving the fancy stuff for the show rooms! Keep up the great work! And thank you for the kind reference to my (disorganized) blog! :):)

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    1. Thank you for the compliment. But I do not agree that your tiles are a bit irregular. Making 40 small matching tiles is so much more simpler than 1300! If I had made that many, you would see not less irregularities in my tiles than yours. Probably more I'm afraid. :-0

      You are correct. The 'work rooms' get simple floors covered with clay tiles. the Stewards office will be the most decorative of all, yet simple compared to the rooms upstairs.

      That is also why the walls on this floor will be whitewashed and not panneled or papered. :-)

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  8. I love the tiles. As for the pattern you choose for the stewards office, I do like the one on the lower left - only because it is very different to anything I have ever seen and I like the staggered horizontal lines rather than a pattern that goes on the diagonal of the room. I am sure no matter which one you end up using, it will look amazing.
    The patterned tiles are just fabulous! How curious that the original method for making them was to stamp them and then add light clay to fill the indentations - very clever.
    Anna x

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    1. Thank you Anna, I like the lower left too, but when I layed it out on the entire floor for comparison it looked very restless.
      I will use this pattern for a smaller room/closet because I do like it a lot. The choice will be between the two upper designs.

      The advantage of using slip/ liquid clay over paint was that the pattern did not easily rub off due to people walking on the floor. The othe advantage was that whit using these wooden stamps thy could work quicker than hand decorating every tile individualy.

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  9. These tiles are Absolutely SUPERB!!!
    I am totally impressed with your painting skills when it comes to translating patterns into miniature. You precision and lightness of touch are skills to be envied Huibrecht, and are a testament to your research and patience in getting every single project you tackle- EXACTLY RIGHT!

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    1. Thank you Elisabeth. that is quite a compliment. I hope I can keep up this standard on everything I do. I will do my very best! I do however hope that the rooms, when finished, feel lived in and have a character of there own like your rooms. I still have a lot more work to do. :-)

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  10. Deze tegels zien er geweldig uit, knap werk!
    De schoonmaak zet vindt ik ook prachtig

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  11. Hallo Gonda, dank je wel. Fijn dat je ze mooi vindt. Zo beetje bij beetje kom ik steeds een stapje verder. :-)

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