An artist from a young age, London-based Helen Beard has made a living observing life and translating it into ink and watercolour. With bespoke pieces ranging from bowls and vases to decorative ornaments, Beard’s hand-painted ceramics offer joyful scenes with unusual, quaint themes.
Transferring lightly pigmented and delicately detailed paintings into ceramics is no easy feat. The process begins with freehand outlines, created using a relief-print method of Helen’s own design, which uses paper containing black ceramic stains. The layers of colour are then added as washes of underglaze stains.
Among these unique artworks are our treasures – the tiles. Large, one-of-a-kind, hand-rolled porcelain tiles measuring 305 by 305mm depict swimmers and bathers, and a peaceful allotment scene full of character and charm.
A series of dailyware items were developed to meet the demands of consumers and daily life, with pieces made to withstand dishwashers, microwaves, and continued use. Moulds of hand-thrown wares were created to maintain Beard’s touch and signature. Once formed, these items are then bisque-fired, glazed and glaze-fired before being decorated with special lithographically printed ceramic decals of Helen’s hand-painted illustrations. A third and final firing melts the artwork into the glaze to make it hard-wearing.
A selection of smaller tiles (125 by 125mm) are among these dailywares, with each piece handcut, hand-decorated and glazed in Stoke-on-Trent. Currently all of these designs are part of Beard’s London Life series, with titled pieces as varied and quirky as ‘Hackney Cab’, ‘Kids on Scooters’, ‘Urban Fox’, and ‘Bermondsey Antiques’.
A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, April 2022.