Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thanks to the Tile Heritage Foundation

Editorial Note (Jan. 2, 2012) - After publishing this post, I was thrilled to read this article, Foundation crafts artisan-tile archive, honoring the co-founders of the Tile Heritage Foundation and their commitment to preserving our tile heritage.
Tile Heritage FoundationAs another year draws to a close, I want to shine the spotlight on a great organization that is benevolent and generous, The Tile Heritage Foundation. Since it was founded in 1987, this California-based non-profit has been supporting the preservation, history and appreciation of tile. This organization gives back to the tile community and works to preserve our tile heritage. Avente proudly supports their efforts and thanks the directors, staff and volunteers.

The Preservation of our Tile Heritage

The Tile Heritage Foundation promotes an awareness and appreciation of ceramic surfaces in the United States. The Foundation provides consultation and research, leads preservation efforts and shares information about tile. The Tile Heritage library and research facility has a wealth of knowledge including books and slides about ceramic tile surfaces. They provide historical perspective and depth on all ceramic surfacing materials and educate the public by sharing tile’s rich history. Because of these efforts, the organization now plays a major role in the preservation of rare existing ceramic installations. They promote contemporary tile work as well.

This year the Foundation celebrates their 25th-anniversary. A big drive is to transition their archive to an online searchable resource available to the industry and to the public.

Tile and our Collective History

One of the reasons I started Avente was my love of tile - both in the beauty of the hand painted design and the sense of place and time it conveys. A mosaic brings you back to the Roman Empire. The light hand painted blue and white strokes of a stylistic floral pattern on tile can have you dreaming about a centuries-old street corner in Portugal. It's pretty amazing what tile can convey!

Shortly after I started Avente Tile, I remember Jorge Aguayo, of Aguayo Tile explaining that he had discovered many floors in disrepair while visiting Cuba. His goal was to preserve these amazing tile tapestries of pattern and color found in Cuban tile. If we don’t strive to preserve and record these amazing works of art, we lose so much in the collective history of who we are.

Cuban Tiles found in Old Havana and Camaguey are in disrepair
Cuban Tiles found in Old Havana and Camaguey are in disrepair
Photo Courtesy of Aguayo Tile

I occasionally get calls from friends and customer’s saying they found some amazing tile after removing layers of other surface coverings during a remodel of their early 1900's home. These moments warm my heart. I am reassured that people do want to preserve well-crafted design and they value the history of a very special place. They want to help document, record and preserve the collective history that is ours.

When I can’t identify that tile, where do I send them? The Tile Heritage Foundation, of course.

Tile Identification Services

The Tile Heritage Foundation offers tile identification services to the public at no charge. Pretty darn amazing. Who else offers such a great service for free? I've sent many architects and designers their way. To take advantages of this service, Simply email foundation@tileheritage.org with clear, images of individual tiles or tile installations. Include other relevant information like site, city, state, size, date (approximate), architect/designer if known. If the experts at Tile Heritage are not able to identify the work, your email will be forwarded to others who are likely to know.

I could go on about the great folks at the THF; but, just visit www.tileheritage.org and discover what a great resource they are. Most importantly, if you can, I encourage you to join Avente and support this great organization with a donation.

Thanks and Happy Holiday!

- , Avente Tile

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