Handicraft traditions of tiled stoves
Read more of the traditions of handicraft factories and tiled stove masters of 1700s.
THE PROCESS OF MAKING
The craftsmanship in the tiled stoves of HelsingeA constant aim for perfection, tradition and professional pride, together with the best raw-materials create virtuosity. All of these create the authentic Swedish Tiled Stoves of Helsinge.
VISION OF PERFECTION
The style of the Helsinge´s Swedish tiled stove is born at the end of a very special drafting process. Timeless beauty and elegance, a finished rhythm and well considered proportions create a balanced and harmonious impression that doesn’t have anything either too much or too little. Decorated tiles, the sizes of the tiles, the suitability of colours and shades, as well as the surface and the volume all create an unparalleled effect. It’s just this special care of details that lifts the Swedish tiled stove above the rest.
A special attention is paid to the layout as a whole, that essential moment in designing the Helsinge´s Swedish tiled stove, when the master designer’s strokes of pen give the breath of life to a traditional tiled stove. The end result is refined and polished, in one word, masterly. Every stroke and line in their place, ready to be converted from ink to clay.
A BRIDGE BETWEEN INK AND CLAY
Only ink on paper as his guide, a mold-maker harnesses his skills to create a three-dimentional object from strokes and shapes. It’s like a bridge between the designer’s pen, and the potter’s fingers. Like a two dimentional becoming three-dimentional.
The making of a clay mold seems simple In the hands of a form-maker. His eye is precise, his hand steady; for this is his matter, water, plaster and shape. This process is a combination of patience, and chemical reaction that will change a plaster-powder (grinded from french limestone) into a firm object when mixed with water.
After a week of drying, the mold has released its dampness and the tile-maker will take it to his table.
EXCELLENCE AS AN AIM
The sensibility of a composer and the understanding of a conductor is needed from the developer of the clay-recipe. Nothing is meaningless, everything affects everything, and that is why he knows the impact of adding and subtracting to a minute detail.
For hundreds of years the masters were looking for a perfect recipe for clay. One ingredient at a time the correct ingrediants were found, making the tile strong, but yet porous enough for the tiled stove master to grind it with his tools.
As a nurturer of the traditions of Helsinge, the artisan tile-master Jarmo Toivonen has a 25-year experience of mixing the the right ingrediants and amounts, to achieve a perfect harmony. In our countryside workshop, he moves from pot to another, adjusting the smallest nuances of the clay, according to the traditions of hundreds of years. Tirelessly he keeps up the style of Helsinge, accepting only the best.
UNIQUENESS BY BUILDING WITH HANDS
Building with hands is a way of working that exudes the almost forgotten customs of the past, lasting quality, aethetic harmony, and that uncompromising relentlesness that accomplishes uniqueness. We are proud to build by hand like our predecessors in their handicraft factories and workshops.
A traditional tile-maker knows the traditions and hundreds of years old skills of his trade by heart. His ancient tools becomes part of his hand when the tile-master works with seamless collaboration of his hand and eye, and the clay becomes a traditional tile.
Things could be done in a more simple way, but this is not our style. Only the best is accepted. This is the way that both the master and his masters have worked for as long as anyone can remember. Thankful to the chain that he too belongs to, he is uncompromising and resilient like a willow in the wind of time.
A the end of the day it’s proudness that unites us at Helsinge. We promise that the inconvenience, patience and love that we feel in our handicraft traditions, is transferred into the tiles that we make.
ON WODEN SHELVES IN THE DRYING ROOM
Commitment and tolerance is needed when the tiled-stove-master goes around the workshop at the end of the day, turning and inspecting the stove tiles.
He knows the conditions that must be kept at the drying room. The ventilation must be constant, and the temperature and humidity balances must under control, so that the traditional tiled stove tiles will dry just right. At the end of the day every tile must be turned and straightened. This is necessary as the tiles will bend and twist while they dry. We are passionated about our profession, and therefore make sure that the standard is high all the way through. When the tiles are dry, the tiled-stove-master will check every singe tile, and only the best will be accepted.
We pride ourselves with our traditional handicraft stove tiles, and all the stages of our work that are like they were before the age of machinery. One confession we have to make – it’s slow and prolonged to make them – like all that is good and lasting.
COLOURFUL AND LASTING BEAUTY
Glazing is one of the most important steps in the entire process. Through glazing the tiles get their lasting beauty. A living surface, variability, and slight diversity belongs to the beautiful, timeless 1700s spirit that we cherish at Helsinge. This is achieved by pouring the glazing by hand, just like they did during the old days.
The glazing recipes are individually created over the centuries for a specific clay-mixture, and to a specific firing temperature. The development process demands patience and enterprice from the masters, to get the required elements to be optimal. Apart from the beauty, one must take into account for example the changes in humidity and temperature, and the durability of the mechanical stress. The glazings at Helsinge are prepared from raw materials that are of the highest and purest standards, and carefully hand-picked. We don’t use ready-made glazings. Our old recipes still serve us well, as they are supreme.
FIRE TESTED TILES
A crucial part of the manufacturing process is the firing. After having had their struggle, fire, water, earth and soil accomplish a metamorphosis of the clay. The clay is tested, and only delicately created objects endure this ordeal intact.
In the heat of the kiln, the components of the clay stick together. The water evaporates and the feldspar attaches the quartz and kaolin together. The clay matures to be exactly how it should be, slowly in the heat of the kiln, making the tile harder and denser. This can’t be hurried. Everything proceeds according to the master’s carefully tested firing programme. Same way every time. A process that the tiled stove masters have mastered over hundreds of years of tradition.
Taking into consideration these requirements, we have built our low-firing (lower temperature) kiln, according to precise requirements of the tiles.
STRICT QUALITY REQUIREMENTS
A tiled-stove-master must hold a deep understanding over every step of the preparation process, from the clay mixture to the firing. Based on centuries of experience and inspiration, every detail has been made optimal. The end result is outstanding simplicity. With over 25 years of experience of Swedish tiled stoves, tile-master Jarmo Toivonen inspects and oversees every step of the preparation process tirelessly and patiently, to maintain the high standards of the handicraft tradion, and the artistic beauty, both of which we are all about at Helsinge.