More tiled Ortelius

The bathroom will now be a place where you can lie and journey to places which indeed exist but not in our time. A time when Papua New Guinea was massively out of proportion, when ships were firing cannons at each other (oh, wait, they still do), when the Suez Canal had not yet been dug, and strange sea creatures surrounded Iceland. Magellan had just failed to return on his journey on the Victoria, pictured below. Or rather, the Victoria returned with all the information, but Magellan himself didn’t. You can’t have everything. The imagined coastline of Terra Australis in yellow underneath the Victoria, which connected with Tierra del Fuego in South America. Of course.

maptiles5iceland iceland2 iceland3There are explanaitons covering Iceland and it is needed. Such a complex place, with danger in volcanoes, poral bears on icefloes, animals which will kill you if you eat them, glaciers, seacows. Rudimentary knowledge of latin helps here. Pour more hot water in the bath, the perpetual nives is making me cold!

And no, I haven’t made any of it up. It is all a gridded copy of Abraham Ortelius maps, with maybe just a little rearranging of ships to fit, and cropping. The little fat thing with horns below, for instance. I take no responsibility, blame Ortelius. It is possible that I am repeating myself, I have written about the maps before and it will probably not be the last time either.

maptiles3 maptiles2 maptiles

tile map…


This is what I am working on at the moment, can’t wait to see the space finished. There are several medieval maps done in tiles as an overglazing. I have copied a selection of Ortelius maps, there is one of Magellan’s final voyage in the ”Victoria” (pictured, see Terra Australis on the bottom, connecting with South America. Note how huge PNG is!), one of the Kingdom of Valencia (Spain, really), and one of the north of France with the Channel. Nearly forgot Iceland, it is full of seamonsters, volcanoes, monasteries and polar bears on icefloes. Due to the awkward shape of that wall I had to split Iceland in two, and put one half above the other. The carved wood is a part of an old fireplace surround, and the coppar is the last bit of the hot water tank I ripped apart for the kitchen floor details. The masking tape is my own, and won’t be a feature for long. I imagine candles instead reflecting a flickering glow in the warmth of the coppar. Or maybe the masking tape is JUST the finishing feature the room demands!

map2I should probably say that the tiles are painted with an overglaze, then baked on, then reassembled (I number them on the back). It works best on low grade tiles, as really expensive glazing on tiles will be less receptive to the overglazing. It is just too much fun to do. I want the whole world! Give me a bigger room… I bought seven square metres of matte white tiles on ebay, they are high quality but fine to use for the purpose. If you are uncertain of what tiles to use, should you fancy giving it a go yourself, buy one of each tile available, paint and bake, then see which tile worked best. I can show you the products I use, can even give a workshop if you wish. I think that for maps, a matte finish is the most convincing.

Here are a few shots of the Ortelius tiles.