During my Porto trip I took part in a tile painting experience with the lovely Francisco and I can’t rave about it enough! You’ll have no doubt seen all my Porto posts over the past week on instagram, giving daily updates. I’ve been feverishly editing photos and putting together 2 fab posts… Starting with the not to be missed, tile painting workshop!
Making my way up to Francisco’s studio I stopped so many times to photograph the buildings, covered in the most beautiful tiles! In an array of colours, patterns and detail/3D additions, I was glad i’d left extra time to get there! You can see some of these tiles in this post, as well as in the next one… coming soon!
Once inside Francisco gave a tour of the space, it was great to be taking the class in a working studio. The energy in the room is great for getting the imagination going! He gave us a brief history and showed us several books. All filled with examples of all the beautiful tiles you can find in Porto/Portugal. Then he showed us examples he had in the studio, including a fun one that included a 3D ear!
For the workshop we would be creating 3 tiles using a variety of techniques. He had so many stencils to choose from, the difficulty was in narrowing it down! I settled on a couple floral designs for two of my tiles. For the third one we had the option of creating a free hand piece!
Using a couple [top secret!] techniques, including: Direct stencilling in layers, and another process where you use a small charcoal filled muslin bag and gently tap the dust through onto the tile to act as a guide for painting, we began!
You definitely need a steady hand for tile painting and it blows my mind! The thought of artisans creating thousands of the same design by hand is incredible. So much patience and skill is required for the consistency in the mass production of tiles. Even walking about Porto you can see the slight variations in the hand painted tiles that adorn the buildings. I love this element as it really highlights the craftsmanship and skill involved!
Back to the class…
After the first tile where we made a basic stencilled design that we then touched up with a brush and corner detailing… it was onto the second! Here I used the charcoal transfer technique and then built on the original design. I used a slimline paintbrush to create my unique take on the traditional motif! This tile had a far more painterly feel to it and I really enjoyed the process. I can’t wait to see how it came out after firing!
Of course the workshop duration doesn’t include the firing of the tiles, as this takes hours. However, Francisco can post your tiles out to you when their ready. Or, if you’re smart about it you can take this experience at the start of your trip and collect the finished tiles before you head home! I waited till the last day to take part (too much exploring and port tasting kept me busy before hand haha!).
For my final tile design I decided to go rogue and use the free hand scratch method. Drawing my inspiration from the Porto harbour-side.
I loved the process and spending a few hours in the studio was a great end to the trip. I can’t wait to see my finished tiles – see bottom of post for update!
Planning a trip to Porto? Or are already there and looking for something to do? I can’t recommend Francisco and this experience enough! Indulge in the local traditions of Porto and take home a reminder of one of the prettiest places you’ll visit!
Let me know your thoughts on Porto in the comments below. If you end up taking this workshop, get in touch and share your creations with me, oh, and say hi to Francisco for me!
Francisco’s Instagram – @pessegueiro_ceramic
Facebook – @F_Pessegueiro
They arrived!! Here are my tiles. They survived the perilous journey from Porto to Edinburgh… 😊
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