Burgess Hill project support

COMMISSION 2: Emily Temple (1811-1874)

Burgess Hill Benefactress [Site B, Malthouse Lane Meadow] 

Madame Temple Monument Way-Marker:  A Concept in Clay

In the Burgess Hill Tourist office I collected maps and a document about the Burgess Hill Local History Society that showed a 3-D ‘Bee’ made in Terracotta Clay as the logo.

I was inspired by the common use of Weald Clay Tiles in the Burgess Hill area and thought I would look into the possibility of working in clay for this particular brief.

I spoke to Mr. Fred Avery, the curator of Burgess Hill Museum, which was a very informative conversation, and consequently I discovered much about the now defunct Keymer Clay Tile production facility in Burgess Hill, dating back more than 400 years. It has now moved to Ewhurst and the original site is being redeveloped.

emily-temple-2Reading the brief about Madame Temple and her interest in Ornamental Art forms suggested to me to look at clay ornament as a material and design concept.

In considering constructing an ‘aide memoires’ dedicated to Ms. Temple I need to reflect on her artistic life, as a maker of ornamental wax flowers and as a merchant of many other decorative objects and materials. I have no wish to merely illustrate Ms.Temples interests but to put the things she must have known and liked into a modern day idiom. I am considering how to use my own skills and modern technology and know-how to express this notion.

I feel the methods of making could be likened to ornamental brickwork, constructed in parts and applied together based say, in the style of an ornamental form of chimney, column or pillar as a way-marker.

I own two kilns and have experience of the material process and I think this is achievable. My own experience with ceramics was to have developed a manner of working that was precise yet flexible, using the natural colour and properties of the clay but with a very modern twist in manufacturing and technical terms.

For this brief I have researched a few ideas and construction and production methods that I may employ.

Above: A typical ‘Notebook’ study of the Chimney / Pillar idea with colours and text added. I now see that the form and text can be shown quite separately with ‘decals’ on prepared surfaces to add pictorial images to the surface. Note the ‘Rose’ inserts above and the brightly coloured tile sections.

One such notion was to gain access to firing techniques used in the local industrial ceramics factory.  I have arranged to make a visit to the Wienerberger factory in Ewhurst  where Mr. Alan Jupp, Tiles and Specials Manager, has offered to show me the facilities and discuss the when, how, or if they can assist me with my concept. At Alan Jupp’s suggestion I am attending a CPD day on 29 September with or without this competition in mind.


Done! What an excellent CPD day. Very informative and actually made a tile!  I have been offered the opportunity to work in the factory by Mr.Alan Jupp and Mr.Giles Simmonds.   I will certainly be taking up this option asap.


Stamp of the Heritage Range of tiles from Wienerberger.  

Stencils and Stamps will form a large part of the process.

I developed a method of low-relief tile making in the past and   will put that experience into the project. I am looking to apply designs to ‘leather hard’ clay and oxide colouring to give it rich texture and graphic definition. [See samples below]



Stencils are the starting point for the low relief method that I prefer. They have a similar visual impact as the Stamp [shown above Left]  applying oxide to the surface exaggerates the form or drawing quality of the relief and marks.


My ‘Rose Moon‘ artwork shown above is raw Terracotta Clay from a brickworks. It has been press moulded onto digitally cut styrene moulds. When ‘leather hard’ the tiles are painted with diluted Black Oxide which exaggerates the forms of the lettering. The ‘Rose’ decals are coloured transfers, screen printed and applied to the white glazed section and re-fired at a lower temperature. The decal blends in with the glaze and is a permanent quality printed image. This a decorative method I plan to use in my artwork proposal.


The ‘9 Moons Eclipse‘ artwork shown above is Terracotta Clay that is ‘Raku’ fired.  It was press moulded onto digitally cut styrene moulds.  The coloured bands are ‘Raku Glazes’ that changed from white to green to red and shades between whilst in the firing process.  The random effect is the joy of the method. The circular shapes passing through the tiles are cut into the clay. The transparency illusion is created by the relationship of the coloured wall and the white circle and lighter bands.  Each tile is approximately  20cms. in diameter.



Moulds are fundamental to the way I work. They can be hand-made in Plaster or digitally made in Styrene, Rubber, etc or any other process that will do the job in hand. The process I use is to have a lining in the plaster mould which can be changed to create new patterns in the same tile format. [See below]


Sample tiles from the Kings Cross Labyrinth mural


Above:  This sample shows low relief circles with decals added of Bird images and hand embedded type expressions from Peckham Co-op; now demolished!  The middle parts are cast from fridge magnets. The plaster mould is a single half-round form that uses different linings to create new patterns and relief forms. All the tiles are press moulded, put into the mould by hand, not cast. From only 2 types of mould 274 individual tiles were made.



Above: Circles of Rubber and real leaves were applied to the mould. Oxides were applied after the initial ‘biscuit’ firing.  After glazing and firing the insect and animal ‘Decals’ were added and fired at much lower temperatures.  These tiles were specifically made for children to see them and inserted in the lowest part of the mural.  The decals were made to order and are digitally printed.    All the long tiles are 42 X 17 X 5 cms post firing.


Below: A Railway Signal tile.    The making sequence:  

Based on an actual signal design that reflects on the Kings Cross Station location.  Low relief is essential for the artwork to be seen from the ground as the reflective glaze seen in daylight acted as a mirror and colour and patterns were hard to distinguish.

The original stencil type design is created digitally in Adobe illustrator, printed and fixed to the black DPC that precisely fits the tile mould. The white parts are cut out and the stencil is applied to the mould with a glue-stick. The mould ejects the semi-dry clay and the DPC is removed to expose the relief pattern. Colour and glaze are applied and fired at 1300 degrees.  All the tiles are made in a similar fashion. The ‘stencil’ may be organic matter, garments, objects, etc.  A ‘signal’ sketch-book page is shown below.

stencil-applied-copy                                      signal-50




 Original Signal Designs



Sketchbook page from the Kings Cross Labyrinth Mural:   adapted to form a starting point for ornamental designs for the Burgess Hill project. The same plastic lace can be seen in the finished tile below forming the background to the embossed name; Lynette. The real gold seems to be an obvious addition at this stage. An idea is forming as more information comes forward. The colour reference comes from the Emily Temple Cup & Saucer shown below.

LYNETTE Sample tile copy.jpg

Left:  The stencil method allowed me to write simple text and insert them into the mould within a collage effect as shown here. Real Gold works really well as a colour and material with quality.  My wife helped throughout the production process and has a tile dedicated to her.





Left:  This toy presents an idea about possible structural composition arrangement for the Emily Temple project, it’s tubular form idea derived from chimney pots, gate posts, chess pieces, etc.  Layers of circular tiles applied in-situ about a central column, each ring decorated and finished and finally assembled in-situ. 

I am considering the idea of stacking the ’tiles’ from a single mould that is adjusted to create all the other patterns, texts and forms as demonstrated in the Kings Cross mural. They would be constructed around a central column for stability and strength. There are various ways of doing this.

The concept of the sculpture being a direction finder and containing the legend regarding Ms. Temple and her importance to Burgess Hill, and other data is a priority for the artwork. 



A Porcelain Figure Group by Madame Temple 1857?

The group support a basket like structure. The basket contains a removable Ruby Glass Dish for fruit or flowers.

The design has character and pattern and may       provide notions of surface decoration.








A Cup & Saucer:  

The first actual objects I have found by Madame Temple, stamped with her name   and that of the manufacturer. From this I have a colour, ornamental gold design, and a ceramic material.     A good starting point.



The Saucer:  seen in plan view.

The concentric circles add to the design potential for the project. There are a variety   of methods to apply design and colour.

Trial & error is the simplest way to be certain.












Chimney Design:   Variations on a theme? A single method and process for design and construction. Only the pattern or aesthetic form changes. I want to combine this strategy to create an object for the project.

Left: Made in the Keymer Tile Company?   Right: An ornamental object?  Artist unknown

Studies of Possibilities: Digital sketchbook studies of a possible concept for the method and appearance of forms and relief patterns and using printed images on the clay cylinders. Together they will form the columns. There would be details about her life and work seen as images that should reward scrutiny by passers-by.  The brick or tile work would be in keeping with the environment and support the notion of the visible environment in the area. The artwork and Burgess Hill habitat share the same basic materials.

After visiting Keymer Tiles in Ewhurst I committed myself to working in clay.  I want to use the specific look of the traditional sand-tile surfaces I saw in production. In contrast to that I want to produce singular cylinders that would be smooth and prepared to accept graphic patterns and pictorial images to express specific notions about or interpreting the enigma that is Emily Temple.  So far there are no known images of her and only the one real product in ceramics that I discovered in a web-search. I have details of her life in Burgess Hill and some other factors, her place of birth, shop in Regent Street, London, Brighton, her family, Grave stone, etc, but no actual images of her.

Below: There are visual ideas shown as drawings that bring colour and images together. None of the items shown are designs but simplified notions of the methods juxtaposed with each other in no particular order. So you may have to imagine how it might be as a design technique. The clay production process is known and is all possible as shown. The real issues lie in the detail, particularly in structural terms.  Here the images are not shown to scale but simply a generic idea of their ‘cotton reel’ shape, the hollow centre part for construction purposes, and the changeable colour ‘banding’.

Sample 1. [Top left]: the image of Sea-food on Tiles is from Sainsbury’s Vauxhall, as it uses the exact same process for images on Ceramics. I have a lot of experience in the use of “Decal’s”, as they are called.

Shown below on a fictitious cylinder design. The ‘Green Circle Network’ is the name of the area for the artworks and their purposes as way-markers.




Sample above : The colours are derived from Emily Temple’s own design for a Tea Cup and Saucer produced in 1857 as Porcelain ware. The colours are separated by fine bands of gold enamel. The outer Pink colour are flexible and can be derived from any point on the available colour spectrum within the firing range of the colours.

EMILY-ON-YER-BIKE!..jpg     villas-in-burgess-hill

Any image is a distinct possibility! 


Brick Type ‘Pots’ with internal support.   Cylinders are placed over and resin-bonded to the substructure and the Brick ceramic ‘Pots’?


A image of how it could develop.

Below:  The sculptural column, as a signifier and guide may provide the metaphorical language for the finished ceramic artwork.


The ‘Kodittampam‘ [Flagpole]       London Sivan Kovil Temple,         Lee, London.

Inspiration can be found anywhere! Note that the ‘Flagpole’ is made in sections which gave me a clue as to how to form the object I may propose.  Think ornamental Chimney Pots!

I do not wish to present drawings nor commit to any specific design without discussion. I want to remain flexible in my approach and attitude. Here you see a way of thinking and a concept for doing.

I feel I have the experience and structural language and technical know-how to rise to the challenge of making a ceramic ‘monument’ dedicated to the enigmatic Ms. Temple for the Burgess Hill Green Circle Network art trail.