Don’t Miss Your Chance to Shine at Coverings 2016!
 
January 7th, 2016

Want to be recognized by the tile and stone industry for outstanding projects and rising all stars? Well, good news! Coverings is currently accepting submissions for two separate award programs designed to recognized the best talent in the tile and stone industry.

1. The Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards seek the finest expertise in craftsmanship, creativity and innovative use of materials in tile and stone projects for its. The CID Awards, sponsored by TileLetter and Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, honor projects that showcase exceptionally creative designs and demonstrate technical mastery in the use of tile and stone in residential, commercial, international and sustainable projects. The free submission process is open to architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, installers and other professionals who embody excellence in design and installation skills. New to the CID Awards program for 2016 is the “Scouting Shot” category, which offers outstanding projects with amateur photography the opportunity to be professionally photographed. Installers and designers of the Grand Prize winning projects will each receive $2,000 and a one-night hotel stay in Chicago. Additional cash prizes will be awarded in 12 other categories. For examples of wining projects, click here. To submit a project to be considered for the CID Awards, please visit the Coverings’ online portal.

2. Coverings’ Rock Stars – An Emerging Leaders Program is on the hunt for nominations for the best and the brightest young professionals in the tile and stone industry. A panel of industry professionals will determine the 2016 cohort—each winner is selected based on the individual’s contributions to the tile and stone industry, as well as previous industry recognition. To be eligible, Rock Star nominees must be 35 or younger, and must be currently employed by/or as an architect, designer, distributor, retailer, contractor/ installer, fabricator, specifier, trade association, or manufacturer in the tile or stone industry. The selected Rock Stars will each receive a one-night hotel stay in Chicago to attend Coverings, and along with their nominators, the Rock Stars will also be honored at the Awards Breakfast at the show on Tuesday, April 19, where they can network, share insight from their experiences and discuss their shared passion of the tile and stone industry. To see how being recognized as a Rock Star changed someone’s life – read 2015 Rock Star Phillip Belloff’s story. To nominate a qualified individual, or to nominate yourself, complete a submission form at coverings.com/RockStars.

Both the Rock Stars and the CID Award winners will be recognized at the CID Awards & Opening Night Celebration on Monday, April 18. The celebration will include a presentation of the winners with an interactive showcase and a Taste of Chicago themed reception. The CID Awards & Opening Night Celebration is free and open to all attendees.
Don’t miss your opportunity to shine – the deadline for all nominations is Monday, January 18, 2016. For questions or inquiries, please contact info@coverings.com.


Get lost in the maze with Refin’s new collection: Labyrinth
 
December 7th, 2015

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Labyrinth is the new collection by Giulio Iacchetti for Refin that transcends traditional square tiles, catapulting people into geometric patterns that create endless mazes.

The Cersaie Tile Fair 2015 concluded at the end of September in Bologna, Italy, bringing together some of the top tile producers and designers in the world, among them, Italian ceramic tile designer, Ceramiche Refin. This year brought the unveiling of their most innovative design yet: Labyrinth, created by Italian industrial designer, Giulio Iacchetti for Refin’s DesignTaleStudio. The new, innovative collection is a creative expression playing with geometrical patterns and 3D effects, with intricate zigzag, mirror-like and symmetrical effects for unlimited graphic possibilities.

Challenging the classic square tile and overthrowing boring standardized solutions, the Labyrinth Collection is divided into two families: Mirror and Angle. Mirror features a series of L-shaped patterns, while Angle expresses a multi-layered graphic concept, with a textured look that creates a 3-D effect. One of the most innovative concepts of the Labyrinth collection is that both the Angle and Mirror tile designs can be laid and arranged in a variety of different ways to create your own personal “labyrinth” and, therefore, your own unique design.

“For me, the concept is to conceive and design an element that is repeated all over the pattern, forming traces that wind around each other, marking patterns that are alternatively regular and complex,” explains Giulio Iacchetti. “In this way, it’s able to evoke a sense of depth, creating an authentic, three-dimensional, graphic labyrinth.”

The project derives from an original geometric construction generated within a square; lines that join mid-points to the opposite vertices until they form two opposing L-shaped elements, which– depending on the direction the tile is turned in- make it possible to draw orderly lines of squares, segmented zigzag lines, or never-ending graphic perimeters. “The idea of this collection was not just simply tiles,” says Iacchetti, “but rather to tell a story, while at the same time losing this idea of time and design.” Labyrinth was designed by industrial designer, Giulio Iacchetti, for Ceramiche Refin’s DesignTaleStudio, a team of professionals dedicated to innovations in state-of-the-art ceramic tile design. The creation of the Labyrinth Collection further experiments with new ceramic solutions, combining industrial manufacturing and artisan expertise and creativity with production. For more information click here.

Ceramiche Refin
Ceramiche Refin was founded in 1962 and over the years has become a point of reference for the ceramic trade both in Italy and abroad. In 1998 it became part of the Concorde Group. The mission of Refin is to create ceramic tiles for use in commercial areas subject to lighter loads and modern residential areas, and high-tech (furnishing?) flooring solutions with designs created in Italy. All this is achieved with the company’s ethical values and environmental commitment in mind. Cutting-edge technology and a large production capacity: Ceramiche Refin blends beauty with technology and creative design with tradition. Without compromising on the quality of its raw materials, the company has expanded its range to offer products that meet the most varied needs in homes and more modern tastes.
In 2005 Refin set up its own design laboratory DTS (DesignTaleStudio), an innovative, very unique project which brings together craftsmanship and art, innovation and experiments, to create artisan ceramic products that are truly unique.


Architects and Designers-Enter to Win a Trip to Spain Through Tile of Spain’s Passport to Creativity Contest
 
November 19th, 2015

Tile of Spain, the international brand representing 125 ceramic tile manufacturers belonging to the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER), is now accepting entries for the 2016 “Passport to Creativity” contest.

The contest gives architects and interior designers an opportunity to enter to win a free trip to Spain. Winners will participate in a February 2016 architectural excursion where they will earn four CEU credits and get a chance to visit Cevisama 2016, the International Ceramic Tile and Bath Furnishing Show in Valencia, Spain.

To enter, Tile of Spain asks architects and interior designers to be creative and submit a picture of themselves with Spanish Tile. The tile can be a photo, a catalog or even a sample of Spanish Tile. Photos can be downloaded from the Inspiration Gallery at tileofspainusa.com. Be imaginative, and have fun!

“Passport to Creativity is a popular contest among architects and designers,” states Rocamador Rubio Gomez, representative for Tile of Spain. “The submission process fuels the creativity of these talented individuals and often sparks visionary design ideas for future projects. We are very excited to witness fresh and creative ideas in this year’s entries.”

The Tile of Spain 2016 Passport to Creativity Tour, running February 1st to 7th, 2016, includes time to explore beautiful Spain while experiencing its world-famous culture including the culinary arts, historical sites and attractions with architectural and design significance. The trip also includes a guided visit to Cevisama 2016, factory and booth tours and an exclusive press conference. All participants will earn CEU credits.

For complete rules, and details on how to enter “Passport to Creativity”, please visit www.tileofspainusa.com/contest. Entries will be accepted through December 1, 2015 and winners will be notified the week of December 15, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.tileofspainusa.com/tile-of-spain-2016-passport-to-creativity-contest-is-open-for-entries/#sthash.gEXfFTq4.dpuf


Attendance at Cersaie 2015 exceeds 101,000 over five days Increase in numbers of international visitors to 48,235 (+3.5%), 47.4% of the total.
 
October 12th, 2015

The most significant statistic from this year’s Cersaie, the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings which ran from 28 September to 2 October in Bologna, was the attendance of more than 101,000 visitors. As usual, the commercial side of the show was complemented by events catering for the world of architecture, interior design, installation and end consumers.

Representativeness and international scope are always the key characteristics of Cersaie, which this year saw an even stronger presence of exhibitors from other sectors, especially wood. There were a total of 872 exhibitors at the 2015 show, including 319 foreign companies from 39 different countries (1 more than last year due to the addition of Sweden). At the same time the event attracted a total of 101,809 visitors (+0.8%), including 48,231 international visitors, 1,632 more than last year (47.4% of the total). The numbers of Italian visitors remained stable at 53,578. The media was also out in force with a total of 694 participating journalists, including 257 from outside Italy. There was a particularly sharp rise in numbers of Italian journalists (+27.4%), largely due to the fact that the International Press Conference was held from the first time in the Ducal Palace in Sassuolo.

These figures confirm Cersaie’s status as a key venue for developing global business in the ceramic floor and wall tile and bathroom furnishing sectors and its important function as an engine for international trade. This role was underscored by the more than 150 countries of origin of the visitors and the many visits to company stands made by international delegations, organised as part of the Cersaie Business programme in cooperation with the Italian Trade Commission ICE and the Emilia Romagna regional government.

Cersaie is a vital appointment for architects, interior designers, tile fixers and the general public. This year Glenn Murcutt became the seventh consecutive Pritzker prize winner to deliver Cersaie’s keynote lecture in front of an audience of more than 1,300 people. The installation ‘Day Off’ by Diego Grandi in Hall 29 and the exhibition ‘Cer Stile’ curated by Angelo Dall’Aglio and Daniele Vercelli in Hall 30 attracted keen interest. All the other conferences in the ‘building dwelling thinking’ cultural programme were strongly attended, as were all the initiatives qualifying for training credits organised in cooperation with the competent professional associations.

Also popular were the various works in progress and meetings held at Tiling Town, the location for training young tile setters and presenting installation techniques. ‘Cersaie designs your home’ attracted strong participation by homeowners and on Thursday received a celebrity visit from Italian TV host Paola Marella, who was also the face of the event #selfeet.
Bologna Design Week made a very positive debut, attracting a steady flow of visitors to the cultural events held in the evenings in prestigious locations in the city.

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For further information please contact:
Andrea Serri – Press Office
Tel. +39 0536 818111
Fax +39 0536 806510
Mob. +39 348 1504905
e-Mail pressoffice@cersaie.it www.cersaie.it


Tile of Spain to Present CEU at Miami Center for Architecture and Design
 
October 9th, 2015

Tile of Spain, the international brand representing 125 ceramic tile manufacturers belonging to the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER), is proud to sponsor Ceramic Solutions – Innovations Pushing Boundaries of Design, a complimentary CEU program and networking event on October 28 from 5:30-8:00 PM. Presenters for the event include Dr. Martin Bechthold, Professor of Architectural Technology/ Group Head, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University and Ryan Fasan, Tile of Spain Consultant.

To learn more and register, click here.


Mid America Tile Introduces New Website
 
September 23rd, 2015

Paving the way for the tile and flooring industries, Mid America Tile is thrilled to announce the game-changing new midamericatile.com. As the go-to resource for innovative looks in tile and flooring, Mid America Tile provides exceptional customer service and the best selection in the Chicagoland area. Now you can filter and search for tile by color, size, finish, style, and more—all available to you 24/7 on our brand new mobile-friendly website! Save your favorite products and order samples online from your new online showroom, midamericatile.com. Featuring inspirational installation examples, swatches of each color in a series, packaging details, and technical specifications, midamericatile.com will help you ensure you pick the best materials for all of your projects. With this all-new marketing tool, Mid America Tile continues to be your leading tile and flooring industry resource since 1961.

Visit Mid America's new website.

Visit the new Mid America Tile website.


Established in 1961, Mid America Tile is a wholesale tile distributor and importer specializing in all materials and styles, including ceramic, porcelain, glass, metal, and natural stone tile. Our two showrooms contain the best selections of tile in the Midwest. We import, inventory, and distribute tile for any size project. We have the best knowledge, best service, and deliver the best prices. Our knowledgeable staff works directly with clients to ensure the best product for any budget.

Mid America Tile provides products and solutions to Architects, Designers, Developers, Builders, Contractors and Specialty Floor Covering Dealers involved in Hospitality, Health Care, Education, Residential and Commercial projects. Our tile expertise is used in a wide variety of projects from O’Hare International Airport, to Woodfield Mall, and countless residential projects; from skyscrapers to hotels and luxury private residences.

Everything we do is informed by our core values. While the evolution of design, architecture, and tile technology is constantly in motion, the Mid America Tile set of core values stays the same; we are dedicated, passionate, and reliable. Ownership and accountability from each employee ensures that we exceed our customers’ expectations. Many of our products are sourced locally to support eco-friendly local business. We foster connection to our community of clients, and to the world at large.


Tile inspiration comes from everywhere – even from a tomato fight
 
August 26th, 2015

Did you know that August 26th is the date of La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain near Valencia – the world’s most largest and most epic tomato fight?

In honor of the tomatoes that will be soaring through the air this week, we’re inspired to take a closer look at some of the red tile offered by Tile of Spain manufacturers.

La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain

La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain

Natucer - Casella series of mosaic tile

Natucer – Casella series of mosaic tile

Ceramica Elias - Esmaltados series

Ceramica Elias – Esmaltados series

Alttoglass - Fashion Fire tile series

Alttoglass – Fashion Fire tile series

Secret tile series from Keraben

Secret tile series from Keraben

About Tile of Spain

A strong global leader, Tile of Spain represents the 125 manufacturers belonging to The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) and concentrated primarily in the province of Castellón, Spain. For more information, visit www.tileofspainusa.com.

For photography, interviews or questions, please call Lori Dolnick at 609-490-0999 x22 or ldolnick@frankadvertisingus.com, or Katie Sikorski 609-490-0999 x15 or ksikorski@frankadvertisingus.com.


Ceramic Tile And Stone Consultants Launches New Website
 
August 20th, 2015

San Diego, CA – Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants, Inc. (CTaSC) announces the launch of their new website. The www.CTaSC.com website address is the same, but the content, features and resources have greatly improved.

The updated CTaSC website uses cutting edge technology to feature an extensive menu of services including forensic investigations, quality control, testing, training, marketing and business planning, expert witness and more. In addition to its business services, the new CTaSC website provides many resources for companies in the tile and stone industries as well as some for consumers.

The following are some of the resources available:

• Resource Directory – Manufacturers, fabricators, distributors, installers, associations, and trade publications can fill out an automated form to become part of a free listing of providers of products and services for the tile and stone industries. Once approved, companies that are listed will benefit from CTaSC’s high volume of business and consumer website traffic. List your products and services here: https://ctasc.com/blog/resource-suggestion/

• Industry Statistics – CTaSC provides summaries of industry statistic gathered from published articles and reports giving the visitor a current view of the state of the industry.
Go to https://ctasc.com/category/industry-statistics/.

• Economic Indicators and Forecasts – CTaSC provides links to key economic resources for quick and easy monitoring of the economy. Go to https://ctasc.com/blog/economic-indicators/.

• Industry Research Reports – CTaSC sells a number of industry research reports identifying current trends and other data that allow users to evaluate market size, growth potential, end-use markets, profitability, market share, and the competitive environment. Go to https://ctasc.com/product-category/industry-reports/.

• Expert Answers – A great resource for consumers and trade professionals! Over the last 13 years, industry expert and CTaSC’s founder, Donato Pompo, has compiled more than 500 questions and answers about tile and stone that have come his way. Questions are organized by category, and new technology allows for topics to be easily searched. Visitors can follow threads of comments and can make their own comments. There is also a convenient Ask The Expert button on all of the pages and posts that allow readers to easily ask their own question if they haven’t found an answer. Go to https://ctasc.com/expert-answers-overview/.

• Training Services – CTaSC offers customized hands-on and classroom training services as well as online training through the University of Ceramic Tile and Stone. Go to: https://ctasc.com/ctasc-services/customized-tile-training/

• TileWise Cartoons – CTaSC offers a gallery of TileWise educational cartoons to the industry that can be used to help educate employees and customers with humor. Go to https://ctasc.com/tilewisecartoon/.

• Events – Domestic and international industry trade shows are listed chronologically and can be searched for quicker results. Go to https://ctasc.com/events/category/all-events/.

About CTaSC: Ceramic Tile And Stone Consultants (CTaSC) is a professional consulting company led by industry expert Donato Pompo and made up of accomplished ceramic tile consultants, stone consultants, ceramic tile and stone installers, architects, engineers, general contractors, construction scientists and other industry specialists. CTaSC provides forensic investigation and inspection services. CTaSC provides expert witness and other litigation services. CTaSC has local inspectors near most major cities in USA and Canada. CTaSC provides architectural specifications, quality assurance testing, and quality control inspection services. CTaSC provides hands-on and online training services. CTaSC provides business planning and marketing services. Go to https://ctasc.com/ctasc-services/ for more information.

For further information about the CTaSC services please visit www.CTaSC.com or call 866.669.1550.

Contact:Tricia Pompo, Marketing Director, email: Tricia@CTaSC.com


Top 10 Uses for Cement Tiles in Restaurants
 
July 13th, 2015

If you’re looking for something special for your restaurant’s walls and flooring that can stand up to high traffic while also being resistant to water, food and drink spills, and environmental damage, take a look at beautiful cement tile. Reminiscent of century-old Encaustic Tiles, cement tiles have been handcrafted by artisans for decades. The designs and colors create a beautiful and durable surface that is more aesthetically appealing than basic cement or drywall, and more durable and eco-friendly than wood or laminate flooring.

At Rustico Tile and Stone, our tiles are made from mineral pigmented Portland cement, are completely customizable, and are perfect for restaurant floors, walls, bars, bathrooms, backsplashes, and even outdoors. Want to learn more? Below are some of our top uses for cement tiles in restaurants!

1. Open up a room. Much like well-placed mirrors give the illusion of space, decorative cement tiles create the illusion of openness in small areas of a restaurant. Try placing our beautiful tile on angled walls and backsplashes to give the perception of more space. You’ll add instant height to the room along with an aesthetically pleasing décor.

encaustic_tile_rustico8

2. Create beautiful backsplashes. With cement tile you can create a striking pattern that is unique to your restaurant’s personality. Try a Mayan-inspired mosaic, a deeply vibrant color mix, or maybe a monochromatic tile scheme. Transform boring walls into beautiful artwork with a design that’s all your own!

cement tile backsplash (1)

3. Generate a mood. Every color and shape creates a specific feeling. If you’re going for modern style with clean lines in an upscale coffee shop or bar, try installing neutral tiles in a geometric pattern. For a European feel at a bistro or Mediterranean restaurant, add some hexagonal tiles with a more antiquated color story. For a fancy and polished look, try a Japanese wave pattern or even combine pristine white and light tan for a polished finish.

4. Make it yours. Customize your own tile. Pick a design. Pick your colors and voila – it’s customized. Experiment with different colors and shapes to create the ambiance you want for your restaurant. Cement tiles come in almost every color in the spectrum, in different kinds of patterns, and in all types of shapes. You’re sure to find the right one for you!

5. Craft a focal point. When you install a gorgeous mosaic pattern or a richly colorful tile, it can become a beautiful focal point in your restaurant. Rather than hanging a picture on the wall, why not think about adding tile instead? Or create a striking fireplace element by outlining it in customizable tiles that nobody else will be able to replicate. Try decorating a niche with tiles on the interior side to create an artistic space.

6. Take it outside. Exterior design is just as important as interior design, and cement tiles are perfect for outdoor eating and waiting areas. The tiles can be sealed which gives them UV protection, water-resistance, and scratch-resistance, and are much more beautiful than concrete.

7. Match your tiles to your menu. Create a unified theme by matching your tiles to your menus! Geometric patterns and sleek, sharp lines speak to Modernism. Rustic terra cotta tiles invite a cultured, world-traveled diner. Spanish-style cement tiles compliment Mexican food restaurants, adding an authentic feel to the space. Bright colors of Moroccan tile designs accentuate the ambiance of many ethnic food restaurants.

cement tile restaurant floor

8. Build a sexy bathroom. Continue the visual story of your restaurant into its bathrooms by installing matching tile on the walls or floors. Your customers can wash up in a luxurious environment with a crimson colored tile, or step into a beautiful resort-like setting with light blues and greens.

9. Create an otherworldly experience. Take your guests back in time or instantly transport them to the other side of the globe with thoughtfully installed tile. Victorian designs can bring a long forgotten era back to life, while Moroccan designs can create a Spanish or Bohemian flare that offers customers a glimpse of another place and culture.

10. Inspire your design. The right tile design and color palette can add the perfect finishing touch to your overall restaurant style. You can pick the color and shape that matches your furniture and color scheme, or you can even use the tile as a basis for your overall design and go from there.

While cuisine may be the primary reason for guests to visit an establishment, it is the subtle design elements that entice them to continue their restaurant dining experiences. At Rustico Tile and Stone, our eco-friendly and sealable cement tiles are a unique way for restaurant owners to communicate visually with their customers.

Portland cement tiles and UV protecting/water-resistant sealers are available for purchase at Rustico Tile & Stone in Austin, TX.

Rustico Tile and Stone is the leading distributor of authentic Mexican tile and stone products for consumers around the world, with a customer base encompassing national floor retail stores, architects, designers, builders, and residential and commercial buyers. For more information about product offerings, price and shipping details, or general inquiries, visit http://www.saltillotileconnection.com. Rustico Tile and Stone is offering generous price discounts throughout the summer in celebration of its 10th year anniversary in business.


Member Blogs-Sylvie Atanasio
 
July 7th, 2015

Sylvie Atanasio, Head Designer and CEO of Studio S has traveled around the world to visit factories and build relationships. She is a long-time CTDA member and serves on the Board of Directors. Sylvie recently traveled to Turkey for the CTDA Trade Mission as well as China. Read about her travels below.

TURKEY: JUNE 2015

I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of the CTDA delegation that went to Istanbul to learn more about Turkey’s ceramic tile industry, as well as their culture. It was a learning experience not only about what advances the Turkish Ceramic industry has made in the last few years, but also how they see their roll in the future of ceramic tile. Turkey’s history of ceramic production reaches back thousands of years from the primitive sculpture of prehistoric Anatolia to the ornaments and crockery of the Hitites and the ornate hand-painted tiles of Iznik.
Below is a recount of my trip to Istanbul; I hope you enjoy the reading as much as Gigi and I enjoyed the trip.

The flight from Los Angeles to Istanbul was just over 15 hours or 5 long movies. We left Los Angeles on June 1st, but since we crossed the International Date Line we landed in Istanbul on Tuesday, June 2nd and that’s where our Turkish adventure begins:

Tuesday, June 2nd
My daughter and I arrived to Istanbul and after flying 15 hours, we were tired, smelly and just wanted to get to the hotel as soon as possible. While we were rushing to get through immigration and customs we forgot to get a Visa, so after standing in line for an hour and a half, the immigration officer kicked us out of line and told us we had to get a Turkish visa first. So back to the visa desk, and after another hour and a half we finally got through the customs and we were off to hotel where the TurkishCeramics Commission was hosting a welcome reception for us on the rooftop of the hotel.

As we walked out onto rooftop, we encountered the most breathtaking view of the city and coastline, and also some familiar faces and we soon forgot about how tired we were. The reception was a great way to kick off the trip, it gave everyone an opportunity to connect with old friends and meet new CTDA members, and many of the Turkish Ceramic Commission members who were hosting the event. After the reception, an intimate group of us ventured off into the city for a traditional Turkish dinner.

Wednesday, June 3rd
After breakfast, we started off the day with an introduction to the TurkishCeramic Commission, followed by a mini tradeshow showcasing 17 different ceramic factories.
The TurkishCeramics was established in 1997 under the auspices of the Undersecretariat of the Ministry of Economy with the support of the Central Anatolian Exporters Union and the Turkish Ceramics Federation. The group’s main goal is to raise awareness of the quality of Turkish ceramics around the world.

The group undertakes many activities to communicate to a global audience, from participating in trade fairs to organizing design competitions, hosting exhibitions and trade missions. These events and activities are regularly published in some of the world’s most prestigious design magazines and journals.

Later that night, we all had the privilege of being able to experience a four hour dinner cruise on the Bosphorus /Sea of Marmara. It was wonderful to see everyone enjoying their time together, and of course the topic of the night was TILE. The night was filled with laughter and creating new friendships, and Just when you thought the night couldn’t have gotten any better, they brought out a belly dancer and that’s when the party got started, just ask Mark Carlson of Century Tile or Jack Knies of Tile America. The cruise ended around 11 o’clock and a few us finished the night off with a nightcap back at the hotel on the 15th floor overlooking the city.

Thursday, June 4th
Day three was quite an adventure. My daughter Gigi, Betty Sullivan of Architectural Ceramics and I got an early start to visit the Grand Bazaar and to do some shopping. It was great being able to walk around and converse with some of the Turkish people and try our hand at bargaining. We bought a lot of stuff whether we got a good deal or we will never know, I think we need to stick to negotiating tile and stones prices…. We rushed back to the hotel to meet up with the rest of the group for a 5-hour tour of the city.

Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Europe and Asia, located between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara in northwestern Turkey. Istanbul was once the capital of three empires—Byzantium, Constantinople, and Ottoman and today Istanbul is one of the world’s most populous cities and ranks as world’s 5th-largest city. One of the many sites we visited was Topkapi Palace. Once home to many generations of sultans, the palace is filled with opulent gardens and courtyards, plush Turkish baths, and a secluded former harem, all overlooking the gorgeous Sea of Marmara. Afterwards, make you stop and enjoy lunch at the palace restaurant. Here are some other must see sites while in Istanbul:
• Aya Sofya
• Basilica Cistern
• Blue Mosque
• Grand Bazaar

After a full day of sightseeing we were on the move again… or not. The traffic in Istanbul is worse than being stuck on the 405 southbound in LA on any given day!

Once we arrived back at the hotel, we only had 30 minutes to freshen up for our black tie gala dinner at the Sultan’s summer palace. Of course, all of the women were frantically running upstairs trying to shower, do their makeup and squeeze into their cocktail dress all in less than 30 minutes. Needless to say everyone look like a million bucks! We arrived at Sultan’s summer palace, which was situated on the shoreline of the Borphorus. The view was spectacular in every direction. We enjoyed a 5 course dinner in a glass atrium ballroom looking out, over the Bosphorus, and for the evening we all felt like royalty as we ate, drank, and danced the night away. Thank you TurkishCeramics & CTDA for arranging this beautiful trip for us all.

CHINA: JULY 2015

Ni Hao from China,

Well, I never thought I would be celebrating the fourth of July in China. I have to tell you that nothing says “Happy Birthday America “ like a big bowl of fish heads and braised pork inners….

I am on the first leg of my China trip and I am currently at the Aria factory approving colors and pressuring the mold factory to finish the molds so we can start pressing the tiles to make the production samples for customer approval.

The good news is we have approved 23 of the 28 glazes for production, and while trying to match these colors, we have stumbled across some extra cool new colors. Don’t be surprised if we come up with a few new blends when it is all said and done.

The bad news is, we are only getting two glaze tests a day and there is a lot of down time between kiln firings. So I have been killing time by channeling my inner Andrew Zimmer, eating all sorts of weird things. I have packed on 5 pounds so far, and I am starting to look like a chubby Panda. The factory workers have re-named me “PONG”, Pong in Chinese means FAT.

The molds will not be done for another week. So, instead of sitting around and eating, I have decided to travel to the other factories to check on the production of the Perspectives, Ikat, Old Hollywood and 51 Shades of Grey, as well as conducting quality control inspections on containers that are about to leave.

I have included a few pictures from the factory and my food escapades.
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Signing off for now,
S

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