Tile Heritage-ENEWS

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Here’s What’s Below:

Smart Cards Fund NPOs

Tile Factory Closures

National Tile Conference Taking Shape

Minnesota Tile Makers

“Historic Tiles in Architecture”

Playing with Clay…Words

“Mangling” Thunder

Coming next month: History of Brickmaking

By March each year enough water has saturated the earth here on Fitch Mountain to expose the natural flow above ground. Directly above us on the mountain, when we’re lucky, there’s a cascading waterfall about 30 feet in height. It’s a delight to experience, yet always a bit too chilly to step under!

Smart Cards Fund NPOs!

COMMUNITYsmart is a national organization that enables you to contribute dollars to your favorite non-profit (Tile Heritage!) at absolutely no cost to you. Whenever you shop at a participating merchant, paying with cash, check or credit card, you simply hand over your Smart card with your payment. The rest is taken care of automatically. Tile Heritage received its first check ever this week ($36!) so we can vouch for it. Go to www.communitysmart.com and “sign up.” It takes about 10 seconds; your card will be sent to you in the mail. It’s that easy. Whether you choose to designate Tile Heritage as your NPO of choice or some other group, the benefits remain the same. It’s a win win win! And in advance, we thank you!

                                                                        Tile Factory Closures

We reported last month that the Hans Sumpf Company would be closing after 70 years of fruitful operation. In recent days we have heard that Handcraft Tile in Milpitas, California, north of San Jose, will close its doors as of the end of April. Handcraft has been in business since 1926 and continues to make tiles today as it did 80 years ago under the skillful management of Shirley Dinkins and Frank Patitucci, who have each decided to take different directions in their lives. It is a tragedy when companies must close, all the more so when they remain steeped in tradition. Visit www.handcrafttile.com.

We understand as well that Anna Salibello, founder of Terra Designs Tileworks in Dover, New Jersey, is seeking a buyer for her business that has been producing a wide variety of beautiful tiles of her design since the early 1980s. We have no particulars, but I’m sure she would happily entertain a call from anyone who may be interested in details. Phone 973 328-1135.

For these companies whose fate is still in the balance, we would like to put out a clarion call for potential buyers, future owners or investors, anyone with interest wherever you might be. In the not too distant past we witnessed the demise of several larger American tile manufacturers; now it seems that more moderate-sized companies are being affected. We realize that the crisis has much to do with world economic forces, especially with the larger operations, but now for the first time there is a serious question as to just how many handmade tiles can be profitably produced in the U.S. We are reminded of Michael Golden’s presentation at Coverings last year where he declared that, looking down the road, handmade tiles were not in the picture.

Tile Heritage has one of the best tile networks of connections and communication in the country. Take a minute and let us hear your perspectives.

National Tile Conference Taking Shape

For all of you who’ve been tempted to join us in September for “Tiles of the Northern Plains: Building on Tradition” here’s some exciting news. The first half of the program will be held in Duluth, from Wednesday morning, September 13th until the afternoon of Thursday the 14th when we’ll return to Minneapolis for a reception hosted by Clay Squared to Infinity, the location of a major contemporary tile exhibition. The program in Duluth will feature an after hours special tour at Glensheen, complete with special tile tours and an in-house dinner. Glensheen, now a museum and historic site, is the former estate of Chester and Clara Congden. On the shore of Lake Superior the home was designed by Clarence Johnson of St. Paul and completed in 1909. We won’t tell you how many tiled fireplaces there are; we’ll leave it up to you to count them!

At this point we can safely recommend that you can book plane reservations into Minneapolis on the 12th with an expected departure of Sunday, the 17th. You may have to rent a car to get to Duluth or we may have a bus; you’ll have to wait and see about that. But you may want to arrive earlier or stay later if you have the time and want to see more than our program offers. There are incredible tile sites to see in Owatonna, Rochester and Winona to name just a few. Just remember that in mid-September it probably won’t be necessary to bring your snowshoes or carry chains! More details will be forthcoming….

Minnesota Tile Makers
& Mosaic Artists

The Handmade Tile Association has released its sixth annual 2006 Tile Directory, a free guide featuring full color images of twenty-nine handmade tile makers, mosaic artists and other tile resources in the Upper Midwest. The directory is designed to help designers, architects, contractors and the public at large exposed to a wide array of creative and original ceramic art work and quality resources. For a free copy contact the Handmade Tile Association, 34 13th Ave. NE, Suite 109, Minneapolis, MN 55413, call 612 781-6409 or email josh@claysquared.com

"Historic Tiles in Architecture"

Coverings is right around the corner (April 4-7), and we’d like to encourage you to take a nice long look at our “big” screen presentation, “Historic Tiles in Architecture.” You’ll find it in the main lobby of the convention center either adjacent to the escalators that take you down to the convention floor or beside the Coverings store (we’re still negotiating with the Fire Marshall). There are 23 sites pictured in 7 different countries; 163 images in all. Sponsored by Coverings with the technical expertise of Audio Visual Innovations (AVI), the show is likely to distract and dazzle even the most preoccupied among us. In the meantime, we’ll be “surfing” with hot dogs at Booth 2816. Let us know how you like the show!

Playing with Clay…Words

The challenge: flocculate. In a recent issue of Ceramic Industry magazine we read “Epsom salts added to the clay body increase the attraction of clay platelets in the moist clay state and cause the clay to become flocculated.”

What’s flocculated all about (admittedly NOT a word one would commonly use at the dinner table!)

The answer: to flocculate means “to form masses.” Well, we learn something new every day.

“Mangling” Thunder

From Irène de Watteville, Solana Beach, California

I just purchased an Axner slab roller with the wonderful name of “Rolling Thunder.” My daughter Chloe one evening, after she had just hand-washed a wool sweater, commiserated about the fact she needed it to be dry for the next morning. So I laid it flat on a nice thick bath towel, rolled it as you would a jelly roll, carried it to the bed of “Rolling Thunder,” placed it in a perpendicular position to the rollers, adjusted the height of the rollers so that it would fit gently, pulled it out 2 inches (enough to grab), increased the pressure of the rollers on the “jelly roll” to a fine squeeze, and cranked it through lengthwise. The result was marvelous: a peachy dry sweater inside a very wet towel—yes, dry enough to place on a hanger and wear the next morning. Crisis solved. Am I hearing thunderous applause?

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