Have you heard of Smink Things? I must admit to casting a glance their way at a trade show last year. I think I even picked up a few tiles and popped a card in my bag. And then other things grabbed my attention, as they do. Things that shouted louder. And I must confess the card was lost, and my attention was lost too. Fool that I am.
But you can’t keep a good product down, and when I received a press release about the latest collections, my interest was piqued again. And again. And again. Marianne Smink, founder of this artisanal tile brand has once again brought her Dutch influence to her screen printed tiles, murals and digitally printed wallpapers for 2016. I so wish you could pick the tiles up, as I did, because the images on this page do not do credit to the stunning glazes used or the colours. You’ll have to take my word for it.
Two of her latest designs are Going Overground, which takes one of the largest tiling projects ever created in Britain, the London Underground, and breaks it down to just a handful of the iconic, tile colours by re-thinking their patterns, and finally creating something totally new.
Re-cubed re-imagines the Vasarely Op Art icon; cubes, deconstructed and allowed to live again with irregular possibility. Like a rough, untouched emerald, the jewel-like qualities of the green and blue glazes bring a new and alternative dimension to this classic pattern.
‘After Lowry’, concrete floor tile
All this from a ex-fashion designer who developed a desire to create her own screen printed tiles for her New East London home. This led to a local ceramic course, learning the basics of ceramics and glazes and when it proved more difficult than originally thought, Marianne was undeterred and Smink Things slowly turned from a hobby to a profession.
Her love of the glaze, screen prints and the hard, imperfect surfaces of the tiles, resulted in different end products every time.
“imperfect and flawed in their own individual way and more beautiful than I intentionally planned; the endless possibilities of shapes and colours and how arranging tiles in the context to each other create completely new possibilities, and the liberation of working with materials, products and methods that made perfection and neatness unnecessary and even undesirable.” Marianne Smink.
Her passion for this, together with lots of enthusiastic reactions to her work, has inspired her to keep creating new ideas.
And I can’t wait to see the next collection.