Life Video

By Hannah Phillips


This to-TILEY mad ceramic artist has turned her home into a living artwork by decorating it with 10,000 tiles she designed herself.

Since graduating from the Chelsea College of Art where she studied glass and ceramics, Kay Aplin, 48, originally from Glasgow, became a public artist, decorating bathrooms, kitchens and garden features.
So when decorating her own four-bed 1920s terrace in Brighton, it seemed natural the 48-year-old would reach for a medium she already knew well – her leftover tiles from other jobs.
More than 10,000 tiles and 11 years later, Kay’s nine-room property is a pottery eutopia which welcomes around 2,000 visitors from all over the world every year.

Pic by Darren Cool/Mercury Press

Kay said: “I’m inspired by colours, I love colour.
“I really like anything sumptuous, exuberant, spectacular and over the top. My home is just a really nice place to live.
“Everyone that comes in expresses amazement, they are just like ‘wow’, they want to move in.
“I thought it would be nice to turn my home into a showcase of what I do, so gradually I started turning it into a ceramic house.
“It started off as a very ordinary, 1920s terrace house and now it’s got this life of its own.
I looked through leftover stock and gradually did a wall, then a whole space, then a room, now you come in and it’s like a ceramic fantasy land.”

Pic by Darren Cool/Mercury Press

Having lived in Denmark, Guatemala, Italy and Spain, Kay decided to open up her home for exhibitions 11 years ago when she moved to Brighton, after picking the seaside town out of a hat.
She discovered an artist open house and decided she would make her house a visual representation of her own artwork.
Kay uses tiles she has leftover from previous work she’s carried out at people’s homes around the world or creates new ones at her studio in the centre of Brighton.
She said: “I love the colour of the glass and working with it but apart from the fact you can cut yourself, it’s not forgiving at all. It’s a rigid material.
“I love clay and the versatility of it. You can make anything out of it.

Pic by Darren Cool/Mercury Press

“With clay, you can model and shape it, you can create whatever you want.
“I like the relief and the fact that it’s tactile, and I want people to be able to touch my work because a lot of the time you can’t touch art.
“The play between light and shadow, how light affects colour and the reflective qualities of the surface fascinate me.
“My aim is to evoke a sense of movement within the inert material through this interplay upon layers of clay, glaze and texture.
Kay and her sound artist partner, Joseph Young, 59, share their home with guests who want to stay overnight and says because of this, her home is kept looking ‘immaculate’.

Pic by Darren Cool/Mercury Press

The couple have now begun collaborating and travel around the world to showcase their work, to places including Poland, Korea, Berlin and China.
Around 2,000 visitors from all over the world pass through Kay’s home every year since she began renting out rooms on AirBnb, and she has even thought about turning it into a museum.
She said: “I have thought about turning it into a museum, but it would just be impractical with it being my home.”
Kay’s next event is in May 2020 and her home is available to visit or stay. http://www.theceramichouse.co.uk/