Look closely at the sides of the delicately hued tiles created by Craven Dunnill Jackfield for trend-setters House of Hackney and you’ll find fingermarks breaking up the colour, evidence of the maker who held the tile as they expertly hand-dipped it in a wash of colour.
It is this careful human process that imbues each tile with its beautiful graduation of colour. This, when placed on a wall, gives a subtle sense of movement and a tactility that a machine cannot replicate – and it is just one small example of why such exceptional hand-made pieces are enjoying a renaissance in our homes.
Craven Dunnill Jackfield has been making tiles in its Shropshire factory since 1872 – the oldest surviving purpose-built tile factory in the world. It is one of a number of brands whose handcrafted skills are once more widely appreciated. No longer are sleek designer pieces considered the only expression of luxury – and today it is those crafted by hand, whether it be a statement dining table or even a mug for a cup of tea, that are perhaps the most special.
For House of Hackney, working with Craven Dunnill Jackfield was about “creating future heirlooms, which is at the very heart of what we do”, says co-founder Frieda Gormley.
“We’ve seen a real uplift and a huge appetite for more authenticity and provenance, which our tiles represent,” adds Simon Howells, managing director at Craven Dunnill Jackfield. “People have had far too much fast production, fast food and fast fashion. Now there’s a move away from conveyor-belt products and a yearning for inherently timeless ones like ours.”