Casting tiles – Saturday session

On Saturday 21st January, PLACED held our first Academy Saturday workshop of 2023. Based at Western Approaches HQ, a restored wartime bunker in central Liverpool, this session was based around casting decorative square tiles out of plaster. Participants enjoyed learning this highly practical and fun skill, useful for many art and design subjects, crafts and careers.

We began with a discussion surrounding examples of tile designs, including patterns, symbolism and styles favoured across historical periods, cultures and geographic regions, to inspire participants prior to designing their own unique tile. Using a range of tools and found objects, each then made the negative imprint of their design in clay, which became their mould to pour the liquid plaster into.

Our fantastic volunteer Beth Houston offered invaluable demonstrations and advice on the plaster mixing process. While we waited for the plaster to set, participants were tasked with imagining their tile ‘in-situ’, on a specific internal or external surface such as a façade, tiled floor or paved area.

Once the moulds were removed, the set plaster tiles were cleaned and admired. We had a range of designs, including forms inspired by nature, geometric patterns, mythology and plant life.

Huge thanks to Beth Houston (LUC) and Jennifer Shields (AEW Architects) for their time and support, to Western Approaches HQ, and to our participants for their continued enthusiasm.