Drawing and working with clay led Frauwein Soenveld, perhaps inevitably, to tiles. Since 1970 working from Atelier Het Blauwe Hek (The Blue Fence Workshop) she has become one of the world’s foremost tile artists, designing and producing hand-made tiles and tile tableaux.
Born in 1944, Soenveld now sees clay as her drawing paper. She does not use industrial pressed tiles, but rather red-fired chamot clay. Her work is notable for its use of colour and design. Her tiles are instantly recognizable: a contemporary face to the artisan tile making tradition.
Soenveld’s tiles vary in size and the design can be on a single tile, or carried across multiple tiles. The tiles are also suitable for outdoor use. Today her work is exhibited and sold in galleries and museums, has won many awards, and she also undertakes a number of large commissioned projects.
One unusual creative inspiration is the history and rich tradition of Dutch costumes. An intensive study of this subject resulted in a series of styled carpets on tile that fuse simple design with complex detail.
Soenveld’s tile collections can be divided into Insekten (insects), Bloemen (flowers), Dieren (animals), Vogels (birds) and Viertjes (celebrations). In addition she produces metal and ceramic sculptures, as well as tiles inspired by national costumes from The Netherlands, Germany and other countries; plus some striking Portuguese and Spanish inspired tiles.
Soenveld describes her working methods as: “This is hand-made ceramics. The still wet clay is used as ‘paper’, where lines are drawn. The lines, figures and models that are created do not depend on the size and size of the tile. However, shape, colour and size must be in harmony. I use red chamotte clay, to keep red warm lines in my work.
The first fire (biscuit) is at 1,000oC degrees, while the second fire (glaze) is at 1,100oC degrees. This makes my work suitable for indoor or outdoor use.”
Atelier Het Blauwe Hek eigenwijzetegels.nl
Netherlands Department of Ceramics nvk-keramiek.nl
The Cultural Round, Wageningen culturele-ronde.nl
The Dutch Tile Museum nederlandstegelmuseum.nl
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, May 2017.