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Handmade Tile Association Newsletter
S P O T L I G H T on artists and events




Our 16th Year

Welcome to the July 2015 spotlight on Handmade Tile Association artists. We feature two to three tile artists every month, plus links and resources (at right) to many of the tile events, gallery shows, and workshops featured around the country. 

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Bantam Tileworks   
Travis Messinger and Darin Ronning
Bantam, Connecticut


Bantam Tileworks is a handmade ceramic tile shop located in Bantam, CT, specializing in custom tiles for home and commercial installations.  Owner Darin Ronning was originally inspired by a Louis Comfort Tiffany fountain after seeing firsthand the many layers of color visible in the glass. He and co-owner Travis Messinger worked with over 8,000 glazes looking for a similar, multi-layered effect, before narrowing them down to 100 eye-catching combinations.   


For their clay body, Bantam Tileworks uses a locally sourced stoneware clay mined about 30 miles from their studio.


Arts & Crafts' entryway with Japanese knot design


The border of this floor's darker, exterior tiles was designed to match the stained glass window in the doorway.   The knot design came from a a wooden block carved for stamping ink.  The tiles were custom-sized to fit the space; the border tiles are 3" x 9". 


Mosaic custom coffee table 

This coffee table was inspired by a Venetian cathedral floor.  The tiles are set into a reclaimed metal frame base. 

Check out Bantam Tileworks' online shop for bright handmade bowls and platters, and, in the near future, wall art featuring some of the designs in this coffee table. 

Bantam Tilework's Facebook page better shows the effects of hand-glazing their home accessories, as when deep colors pool around various patterns like lace and ferns.  Prices range from $25 for a set of four coasters, to one-of-a-kind platters from $60-80.  Their tableware has expanded to include vases, mugs, pitchers and tumblers.  See more on Pinterest.

Bantam Tileworks Gallery with tiled pathway to workshop

This pathway border is composed of 4" x 4" tiles with intertwining s-curved pieces.  The pattern was inspired when a client traveled to Pompeii and sent a photo back to Bantam to replicate for her bathroom.  Darin & Travis liked the pattern so much that they installed it in the pathway through to their studio. Click here to see more of the 13 squares alternating between 2" x 2" tiles of mixed colors and patterns.

Visit their shop in Connecticut or online to see hand-crafted animal tiles, exotic shaped-tiles and inspiring finished installations.   View their catalog in this linked pdf or request samples from their current, ever evolving palette for your upcoming project. 

- Contact Info -
Bantam Tileworks 
Darin Ronning and Travis Messinger

816 Bantam Road, Route 202
Bantam, CT 06750

BonTon designs 
Mary Anderson
Golden Valley, Minnesota

BonTon designs ("bonton," French for "fashionably correct or elegant in manner or style") was created in Mary Anderson's basement in 2006.  She is a self taught tile maker who feels that "when you know no boundaries, you consistently push them."  Mary finds her inspiration in the world around her, including nature, fashion, and pop culture.

Poppy Fireplace 

In the nearly 10 years since that basement beginning, Mary has expanded BonTon into two light-industrial spaces, covering over 4,000 sq ft in Golden Valley.  Now BonTon is in the midst of their fifth expansion and business is booming. 

Most everything at BonTon is made to order for a national clientele with styles that cut across all boundaries.  They are primarily wholesale, through a network of over 100 dealers nationwide. 

One of the hottest trends BonTon has seen is a return to nature, with sculpted trees, poppies and cherry trees all in demand.  To see nature represented in tile, visit the BonTon Tile Gallery

Batons and Circles Kitchen 
Mary's advice to young/start-up tile makers is this:  "Be yourself!  Find your niche and run with it."  In Mary's case, she tries to make what others either don't want to, can't figure out how to, or just don't want to make. 

BonTon designs also offer mosaic tile classes at their studio.  You can learn more at BonTon Classes.  BonTon has offered to extend their "Member Rate" to all HTA members!  Use promo code "HTA."  See their website for details. 


- Contact -
BonTon designs
Mary Anderson

6960 Madison Avenue
Golden Valley, MN 55427
Did these artists spark your interest for your tile project or tile collection? If so, contact them to let them know what you like about their work. Sign up for their mailing lists and/or social media. One of the best ways to support handmade tile is to share your favorite tile artists with friends and colleagues. Be a tile maven and help spread the word!     

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Josh Blanc
Handmade Tile Association, LLC  

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Upcoming Spotlight Artists

Native Tile & Ceramics
Torrance, CA

Minneapolis, MN



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