president's letter

The Beauty of Tile

Tile artists and artisan tile setters are a rare group of specialists. These artists are gifted with both artistic abilities and technical skills and must be able to interpret a client’s ideas and develop them into a one-of-a-kind piece of art. They may be commissioned by individuals, contractors, designers, architects, or builders. These artists work to create art using a variety of materials such as glass, stone, porcelain, and ceramics. Some tile artists handcraft the tiles that they use on projects. A recent Artisan Edition NTCA Roundtable Live! showcased the work of tile artists including Joshua Nordstrom, Chris Stover, Lisa Bustamante, Mark Clyburn, Angie Halford Ré, Nadine Edelstein and Lee Callewaert. The discussion highlighted their unique approaches to working on commissioned projects.
by Martin Brookes, NTCA President
The NTCA sponsored Roundtables Live! allow these artisans to share their techniques, methods, and approach to creating unique pieces of art. The monthly events teach viewers how to cut and fit tile, use cutting tools, install tile, and work with allied products. The roundtables also cover the business side of the craft focusing on common mistakes that artists make when pricing labor intensive projects. These events also serve to attract new tile artisans to the craft and educate the lay public about the process of working with a tile artists and artisan tile setters.
My company, Heritage Marble & Tile Inc., has been fortunate to be recognized by some San Francisco Bay Area artists as a company that can expertly install their unique creations of art. As installers, we work collaboratively with the artist to help them select installation materials and use appropriate installation methods and best practices. Working with one-of-a-kind pieces requires a high level of attention to detail, establishing partnerships with material manufacturers and reaching out to them for advice on how to successfully install such unique pieces. I have found that manufacturers are willing to consult on these projects and specify the correct materials to use to ensure that these pieces are preserved for a lifetime of viewing.
I was pleased to discover the Tile Trade Artisans Guild Facebook group that promotes work done by these artisans. This group is committed to keeping the artisanship alive by sharing information about the development of their artwork and supporting one another through this platform. I feel the NTCA has been the incubator for such collaborations, and by recognizing these artists have given them an opportunity to be able to meet each other and form collaborations. This type of dissemination activity is rewarding to observe and can contribute to the growth and success of our industry and association. 
I would like to thank our TileLetter Editor, Lesley Goddin, for having the idea for this publication and spotlighting a corner of our industry that does not always get the recognition it deserves.