It's been a while since I've updated the blog on Margate Tile Works and how we've been getting on. This only reflects how consistently and intensely busy Fiona and I have been since then. We moved into our new studio a few weeks ago and have been ploughing through getting it set up with all of our equipment whilst also being mid-production and fulfilling our customer's orders.
Our new studio is a former mechanic's workshop just off Northdown Road in Margate. It is an ideal industrial space for our tile making studio with plenty of room for our kilns, large equipment and to dry square metres of lovely tiles - we're really happy with it ! We're at 12 Clifton Place, Margate, CT9 2BJ so do knock on to say 'hi!' if you're local. We would love to do a launch party at some point once this nasty Covid business is over.
Through our continuing research, we have finally come to a conclusion on which clays we prefer to use for our tiles and the methods to apply in order to get them looking the way we want them. Whilst our tiles definitely have a 'handmade' finish (when compared with machine made ceramics - for example), we wanted to achieve a clearly design-led, cleaner finish than the heritage, old English 'farmhouse' aesthetic that is typically produced by other UK tile makers.
So a LOT of time has been spent experimenting with multiple clays, many different glazes applied in alternative ways, exploring methods of cutting, modifying clay drying times and working over multiple kiln firing ranges - all of this impacts on the outcome of the finished tile when it comes out of the kiln. And we're nearly there thankfully. We have our first ranges coming out in the next couple of weeks so watch this space and our Insta @margatetileworks for updates.
In the last couple of weeks, we have started to get our first finished custom orders out to some very happy customers. Working along with our clients to produce a custom design is always a fun process and we enjoy translating their dream designs onto tile form using a wide range of glaze application methods, such as stencilling, air-brushing and painting by hand. If you have a custom tile design idea in mind or would like us to work with you on creating something entirely bespoke, then please do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss making your tile dreams come to life.
We also offer a tile restoration service and we are currently undertaking projects where clients with missing shop front tiles, garden path tiles and kitchen floor tiles require replacements. Whilst it is typically only a few tiles that need replacing, it is quite a complex process that involves mixing and testing glazes to match the original tile colours and finishes (you can only see the finished colour once it is out of the kiln) and using artistic blending techniques.
Looking back, it feels like a huge achievement to have got this far, with Fiona and I only having developed Margate Tile Works together over lockdown and it now being an actual, proper functioning business with premises, customers - the works ! And whilst supporting each other through careering the rises and pitfalls of running a start up business together, the vast majority of the time has been spent having a laugh and enjoying ourselves. I'm really glad we did it and proud of the huge amount of hard work we have put in. We're producing some really beautiful work.
Looking forward to the coming months :)