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Sunday, May 19, 2024

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Tile Artisan Training

It’s a Revolution

Tile Artisan Training – what’s that? 

The four-day intensive program is taking place June 19-22 at Dragonfly  Tile & Stone Works studios in Milwaukee, Wis., for an optimal 15-person class size. The class is designed to provide experienced tile installers with information and hands-on training to produce and install their own hand-cut, custom tile art features.  Participants will learn to identify opportunities to market custom work, methods for designing, processes, materials and tools for producing hand-cut mosaic art, and best practices for standards-based installations.

“This training event is for tile craftspeople who want to take their skills to the next level by learning to design, create, and install custom artisan features as part of their craft,” said Jane Callewaert of Dragonfly, which has been instrumental in developing the modern-day tile artisan movement in the last few years. “When they learn to do this, it changes their perspective and approach to all of their tile work as they can view the details of any installation with a different eye.”

Callewaert noted that the artisan tile movement “encompasses an ‘umbrella’ that includes tile contractor artisan work, mosaic artists who make and sell mosaics, handmade tile makers, and of course the historical tile segment.”

Lee Callewaert (l.) and Joshua Nordstrom (r.) together with Jane Callewaert are working with the NTCA to develop this program, which is being enthusiastically supported by LATICRETE and ARTO.

Sold out – in a flash!

Truth be told, you may not have heard about this training event unless you are a member of the Tile Trade Artisans Guild on Facebook. The training was conceived and developed by Lee and Jane Callewaert of tile artisan contractors Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, and Joshua Nordstrom of Tierra Tile in conjunction with NTCA and enthusiastically supported by LATICRETE and ARTO. It was initially announced on the Facebook group on December 8, 2022, with intent to promote to a broader audience. But even with requirements of a minimum of five years as a tile installer, an application with a statement of intent, and a $1,000 fee to confirm participation once approved, in only about a day, the class was completely filled. Currently, there is a waiting list for this session and future Tile Artisan Training events.

Maria Meyer of Dragonfly will be an Assistant Trainer for the class.

Besides primary trainers Joshua and Lee, Assistant Trainers Maria Meyer, Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Milwaukee, Wis., Seth Ready, of Ready Set Tile & Mosaics, Broomfield, Colo., and Mark Heinlein, NTCA Training Director, will guide, support and help the participants in June. 

Learn more about this training in the spring TileLetter ARTISAN issue. But here’s what a few of the participants noted on their applications concerning why they were jazzed about the class:

“I am interested in being a bit more creative, and believe I can execute these kinds of installations, as well as possibly pivot my business a little.”

“Since I started tile, coming out of high school, I’ve loved the art behind it so much I dropped my plans for college less than two months into the trade. About 5-6 years ago, I really found the true artisan aspect behind tile, even in the works of planning a shed for a workshop. I would absolutely love to come see how it is done.”

Seth Ready of Ready Set Tile & Mosaics (center) will be an Assistant Trainer for the class.

“I am an artist and love to incorporate art into as many installations as I can. I have always wanted to be a ‘fly on the wall’ at Dragonfly Tile and this would be even better!”

“I feel like I would be really good at mosaic and hand cut tile installations if I were properly trained. I’m already passionate about it, but hardly know what I’m doing! I’ve had little exposure to ring saws and glass cutting tools. I’m extremely proficient with wet saws and grinders, however. I want to use this training to further set myself apart from other installers in my area.”

For more information about the upcoming program in June and future tile artisan training classes, contact [email protected].  

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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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