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Come play in the mud

MUD 6 is a hub of training and camaraderie coming in August to Idaho!

Do you float mud or want to improve your mud skills? You are in luck. 

Next month, Tile Trends (tiletrendsidaho.com) in Idaho Falls, Idaho, will be hosting MUD 6, the premiere annual event for all things mud, from August 11-12. There are two full days of mud training, in a carnival-themed setting, with a vendor event both days from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, followed by lunch from noon to 1 p.m., and daily happy hours.

Mike Foster, President of Tile Trends, partners with Mario “Tileguy” Garcia and industry sponsors to conduct this event. “The agenda for this year is to focus on mud pan and self levelers,” Foster said. “There will be a hands-on class with instructors to help teach the proper techniques to packing a mud pan and there will be demos by vendors all day, as well as timed demos with the premier MUD sponsors.”

Foster said the event grows every year, with more participation with men and women in the trades. He said, “I feel anyone in the tile industry should attend at least one MUD Event. The knowledge and years of experience are unmatched. 

“The MUD Event offers a grass roots feel where we put the installer and the manufacturer and vendors on a level playing field,” Foster added. “We like that they can all interact on a hands-on platform. We are attracting installers and vendors from across the country.” 

CTI and ACT exams at MUD 6

The MUD Event is also a hub of testing and exams. On August 10, the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation is conducting a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) exam and Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) testing. At this early June writing, there are six CTI testers signed up. “We feel very strongly about supporting CTEF and NTCA in their quest to educate!” Foster exclaimed. 

Some of the programming and events have changed a bit this year, with a dinner at Tile Trends for attendees and vendors to facilitate industry members rubbing elbows and talking shop as well as sharing personal experiences, Foster explained. 

A more family-friendly focus at MUD 6 is designed to bring youth into the trades, he said. “As a part of educating we need to do a better job of including our youth [since] our industry is struggling with laborers.”

There are opportunities for family outings in the area such as trips to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton Park, Glacier National Park, Jackson Hole, Montana, Lava Hot Springs. “The area has a lot to offer,” he said. 

More sponsors sign on every year to support this important educational event, which began in California and moved to Idaho a few years ago. The stalwart sponsors include Schluter, TEC/HB Fuller, Gundlach, LATICRETE, MAPEI, ARDEX Americas, Sika, Blanke, GoBoard, Rapid Recess, Rodkat, Beast Mixer, and Noble Products with many more to come. 

Jaime Karsky (l.) and Nadine Edelstein attended MUD 5 last year – their first MUD event, and vowed to return this year.

Glowing reviews

MUD event newbies Jaime Karsky of Meadowlark Tile, Dickinson, N.D., and Nadine Edelstein of Tile Design by Edelstein, Vashon, Wash., had glowing reviews for last year’s event. 

“I loved the MUD event!” Karsky said. “I will definitely be back this year. The best thing I learned was how to float a wall. The floating race that they held was the highlight for me, especially watching Nadine kick everyone’s butt! I think it’s important for all installers to learn about floating walls even if they don’t intend on doing it…it’s good to know how to float a wall in case you can’t get a hold of backer board or other materials: just like someone should know basic survival skills in case of an emergency. Besides you also gain a huge appreciation for those guys that do it regularly.”

Karsky said that for her, MUD was even more fun than Coverings “because it was like a party with all your online friends!”

Edelstein added, “When I decided to attend MUD 5 last year I had no idea that it would be one of the best tile trade events I had attended. In the U.S., we do not have an established apprenticeship tradition. So many, like me, are self-taught. With mudwork though, people generally learn from a mentor. 

Joe Lima muds a wall during the 2022 event.

“At MUD, the unique thing is that the representatives of many mud lineages come together,” she continued. “Without gatherings like MUD you may only get to learn the tricks of the trade from a single person, a single lineage. But at MUD, I received generous input from folks with different backgrounds and learned so much more because of the shared knowledge of those with such different experiences. I had three days of hands-on experience learning from many of the best mud-slingers in the country. I cannot recommend this gathering enough. Come join the fun.”

Brian P. Downes, President at Bestones Tile & Marble LLC, Triad, N.C., also commented that “I watched teachers, artisans and craftsmen all become one team. A collaboration from many businesses for the goal of making our tile trade better. It gave me a new outlook personally among all my peers in the industry. There’s NO event I’ve ever attended that made me miss it when it was done.”

“I believe last year proved our worth as an event,” Foster summarized. “When you have attendees and vendors that say the event should be longer and that they are not ready to go home – that means a million in my eyes!”

For more information, go to MUD Event on Facebook.  

(Ed. Note: Special thanks to Jaime Karsky and Nadine Edelstein for photos).

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Editorial Director and Senior Writer for TileLetter and TileLetter ARTISAN

Lesley Goddin has been writing and journaling since her first diary at age 11. Her journey has taken her through a career in publishing and publicity, landing her the editor position of TileLetter and its special publications in 2006. Her goal is to educate, inspire, recognize and encourage those in the tile industry -- especially the tile and stone contractor.

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