president's letter
What it means to be an
Sam Bruce,
NTCA President
What does it mean to be an artisan? Some may believe an artisan is solely an artist who creates extravagant pieces of art. By definition, though, an artisan is a person who does skilled work with their hands. This means our work of tile installation qualifies us as artisans. However, just because someone lays tile, does not truly make them an artisan. There is an emphasis on the word “skilled” in the definition. Artisans do not simply just lay tile; they are artistic, value quality, and know their product’s worth.
Being artistic can mean having the talent to put together tiles, and sometimes even make the tiles, needed for true pieces of art. It also means having the vision to make sure installations achieve the desired design purpose.
Artisans also hold quality to the highest standard. The quality of the installation and what is behind the tile is just as important as the final product. Using the proper materials and installation methods, set artisans apart from those who are just trying to get the job done, not applying the proper standards, and using the cheapest materials. Artisans know their value, as they do not price their projects by the square foot. They listen to what a client’s needs are, they identify the types of tile or stones to be used, and then they decide what materials and methods will be best suited for the project. Artisans address the uncertainties or additional details that will need to be answered before they can give a price for the project. Once this is done, they will be able to properly estimate the amount of time expected for the work, as they are pricing more than just a tile a job – they are pricing a system that will look and perform as expected.
Just as artisan breads, cheeses, and chocolates are not the cheapest, it is the same for the work of an artisan of tile. An artisan knows his or her worth, knows how to correctly price a project, and knows the quality of their product may not be the cheapest, but it is the best value.
Being an artisan does not mean you must be an artist. Artisans are well knowledgeable and highly skilled in their trade. They are familiar with all the products they use and they know how they will perform. Artisans are true craftspeople that keep standards high and the industry moving forward. Thank you to all the artisans who show what the tile industry has to offer and for bringing quality and beauty to our trade!