Thinking Outside the Box
by Martin G. Brookes, National Tile Contractors Association President
This year’s Coverings trade show was a special event that highlighted design projects created by notable artisans. Mark Heinlein, NTCA Training Director, organized a live installation demonstration via video, which was on display each day of the three-day event. It featured two artisans, Lee Callewaert of Dragonfly Tile and Stone Works, Grafton, Wis., and Joshua Nordstrom of Tierra Tile, Homer, Ak., along with hands-on help from Maria Meyer of Dragonfly and Seth Ready of Ready Set Tile & Mosaic who traveled from Broomfield, Colo., to support the effort.
Lee, Joshua and helpers collaborated on the installation of the now-famous stone and porcelain alligator mural. The livestream gave the audience insight into their approach to the design, selection of materials, and installation methods used to create their artwork. This live installation not only highlighted the significance of these artisans in our field but will also contribute to the education of future tile installers. The alligator mural will be auctioned to support the work of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. I came to know about Joshua’s artwork at the 2019 Coverings trade show in Orlando, Fla. At this event, Joshua displayed his artwork for the tile community. We are proud of his NTCA membership and accomplishments and pleased to have been part of his journey.
Lee, however, was already known within some circles of the tile community, and his nomination and receipt of the NTCA Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award at Total Solutions Plus gave him visibility at a national level. Both Lee and Joshua have now become social media influencers and are being rewarded with the recognition they deserve for their years of hard work.
Martin G. Brookes, NTCA President
Martin Brookes
These two accomplished individuals – as well as 2020 Tile Setter Craftspersons of the Year Leo Reynaga of Visalia Ceramic Tile, and Ferid Hasic of Grazzini Brothers & Co., – are not alone. There are many other artisans to whom we have yet to be introduced. Please reach out to the NTCA to submit your work for the NTCA Five-Star Project of the Year, and the annual Coverings Installation and Design (CID) Awards. Showcase your installations on social media so we can all enjoy your work and participate in your success as artisans. And one of your peers may nominate you for the NTCA Tile Setter Craftsperson of the year!
Another mosaicist featured at the 2021 Coverings trade show was Cheri Bosela of Luna Mosaic Arts, Ivanhoe Village, Orlando, Fla. She presented the “Sandhill Cranes” mural, which was created in person to give the attendees an understanding of how mosaics are assembled. In addition, the Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA) exhibited the work of mosaic tile installers. The exhibition featured "100 Moments in Mosaic", a non-juried collection of work representing the full spectrum of SAMA’s membership; some of the 6"x6" featured work was offered for sale. SAMA also showcased select works from the annual Mosaic Arts International exhibition in a separate Coverings exhibit. The show proved that mosaic tile art is thriving, and the tile community is now giving this segment of the industry the recognition it deserves. Next year’s Coverings show is scheduled to be held in Las Vegas. It will be a great time to network and meet fellow artisan tile installers who have the passion and drive to create these unique art pieces. I look forward to seeing you there to discuss the benefits of joining our great association and how we can mutually benefit from the contributions of this important group to our industry. This is how we stretch our minds and think outside the box to make the impossible possible.