Joe Taylor, Sheila Menzies and Riley Doty have returned from the Coverings exposition in Orlando,
an impressive event under new management, National Trade Productions, and held in the newest section
of the Orange County Convention Center. From set-up to takedown the whole feeling of the event was
one of calm, good planning, with an enjoyable atmosphere. A massive display of both tiles and stone. For a full report see www.coverings.com.
As we mentioned last month, the Foundation attends Coverings as a special guest of the Tile Council
of North America and is a co-sponsor of this international event. We thank TCNA wholeheartedly! It was
uplifting to have a presence where the flags of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. were flying overhead. The
café setting at TCNA drew a multitude of visitors each day. Of course we had plenty of competition from
the Italian, Spanish, Turkish and Chinese pavilions, purveyors of exceptional hospitality and many fine
exhibits of tiles, mosaic and stone.
Congratulations to THF member Michelle Griffoul, www.michellegriffoul.com, who received the Grand
Prize for a fabulous pool and spa project in Daytona Beach; she also won First
Prize in the Spectrum commercial tile installation category for the beautifully designed
Longboard’s Bar and Grill in Santa Barbara.
THF member Eric Rattan of Santa
Fe Design Studio took First Prize in the Spectrum residential ceramic tile category with an Arts & Crafts
stoneware fireplace surround in Minneapolis. Congratulations Eric!
See www.santafedesignstudio.com. Matthew Stokes Redabaugh (see below)
of the International Masonry Institute was a project team member of the Grand Prize Prism Award,
Stone Curtain "Masonary Variations" Exhibit. And the prize for the best exhibit went to an Italian company called
Trend for its magnificent, traffic-stopping, mosaic installation in 3-D, which one could experience by walking inside
it a glittering tribute to this ancient and contemporary art form (see below).
Tile Partners for Humanity
Another stellar happening was that for the first time, through fine organizing by Ally Fertitta, Tile Partners
for Humanity and Freeman Exhibits, six truck loads of tiles were donated to the local Habitat for Humanity program.
This was brand new, never installed “overage” that was salvaged after the expo was set up. Materials that in the
past have been lost to the dumpster will now enhance Habitat, “sweat equity” and volunteer-built homes in the Orlando
area. We encourage everyone with products to donate to email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tpfh.com for more information.
Many American studio tile makers, producers of artistic tiles, had booth space or exhibit suites at Coverings.
These people represent an ever-growing, innovative presence and are in fact being recognized as a significant
part of the tile industry in the U.S. This is unique in the international marketplace of tiles. With few
exceptions, most countries are represented at the expo by any number of large producers, while in the United
States we have hundreds of studio and small factory producers complementing a comparatively smaller number
of major manufacturers.
At Tile Heritage we spend most of our time on the floor of the convention engaging our visitors with membership
information, encouraging people to visit the THF website and our store of old tile catalog reproductions and
current tile books. California Tile: The Golden Era 1910-1940, double volume, was extremely well received as
was John Sekora’s Ceramic Tile in 20th Century America. And many old favorites like
Handmade Tiles by Frank
Giorgini continued to be ordered as well.Once again, a special thanks to our friends at the Tile Council!
From Orlando, Joe and Sheila took their leave and drove north to St Augustine for a few days of r&r, poking
around in the “oldest” city in the U.S. – established in the mid-16th century by Ponce de Leon in his search
for the Fountain of Youth. What we found made us FEEL youthful: an architectural wonderland in a community
conscious of the importance of preservation. There is a staggering array of monumental 19th century buildings
that sprung up between 1886 and 1888, a short two year period, that changed the architectural face of this
once sleepy coastal hamlet into a major tourist destination. These buildings once housed gracious hotels for
the rich and famous. Facades consist of local coquina stone and cement enhanced with ornate terra cotta detailing
and mosaic ornamentation.
One such building is Flagler College, formerly the 540-room Hotel Ponce de Leon built
by industrialist Henry Flagler, whose ancestors have suitably endowed it. In 1888 it was the first building in
town to have electricity, elevators and en suite bathrooms. Of course they had to fire up their own electrical
plant to run it!
Today its grand interior of intact wood carvings, marble, and Tiffany glass windows enhance the
ballrooms and grand halls that are enjoyed by the 2000 students who call it home during their college days.
Each day we visited other historic sites like The Alcazar, another Flagler hotel, now home to both City Hall
and the Lightner Museum. The narrow, brick-cobbled streets intrigued us; a favorite pastime was photographing
the names of the different companies incised in the bricks. Horse buggies, leafy trees, Spanish moss, white
sand beaches and ocean breezes filled in the rest of the picture. It’s a great place for tile enthusiasts.