The Stoke-on-Trent companyFotoCeramic, a specialist in digital decals (transfers), has successfully risen to the massive challenge of providing all the tile transfers for a major piece of public art in Glasgow, Scotland’s Hillhead Subway station. The art piece is a 12-meter-long mural which has just been unveiled to city travellers.

The ambitious artwork, which dominates the back wall of the station, was created by the well-known Scottish artist Alasdair Gray and was commissioned by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) who own and operate the system.

The project included fellow artist Nichol Wheatley and his team from Perfect Circle Art developing a pioneering method of working with ceramics to deliver Gray’s artistic vision. It has been the most complex work yet undertaken by the FotoCeramic team.

“We were delighted to be chosen to supply the tile transfers for this 12- x 2-meter decorative panel,” commented FotoCeramic Director Howard Quinn. “We worked well with Perfect Circle Art and, in terms of both scale and color, this was a job that required very close attention to detail. I think they realized that the expertise to deliver on this project was to be found here in Stoke-on-Trent and everyone involved up in Glasgow is delighted with the results.”

Technically challenging, it is thought that this is the first time a work on this scale has been attempted in quite this way. Alasdair Gray – a favourite cultural son of Glasgow – attempted something novel in often having complete buildings in his giant artwork cut around as individual tiles. This resulted in a large ceramic jigsaw rather than a standard piece of repeat tiling.

In total, the mural took two years to complete. And producing the transfers to perfectly fit each hand-cut porcelain tile set new standards in accuracy of fit and consistency of fired color for digital ceramic technology. It is thought that nobody has ever made digital ceramic transfers on this scale before for application to polished porcelain tiles.

Wheatley, who is Director of Perfect Circle Art, said: “It was a hugely difficult technical thing to try and translate Alasdair’s incredible drawing into the tiles.”

“This is by far the most difficult and time-consuming contract that FotoCeramic has worked on but it’s all been worth it -- especially when you consider that the fruits of our work will be seen by thousands of commuters every day for many, many years,” added Quinn.