The season of the tradeshow gypsies
Between January and May most of us in the design, blog or editorial field are on planes around the world with near constant regularity and living in so many different time zones we don’t have a chance for the jet lag to catch up till sometime in July. As you know, for me this means another trip to Spain is imminent.
I know, rough life eh?
The purpose of the event is to immerse a group of influential North Americans in the Spanish ceramic industry. Ceramics are so much more than a building material there- like an extension of a Spaniards culture and history so there is no way a simple visit to the tradeshow will suffice.
Each year a different city or two are chosen in addition to Valencia. Thereby exposing the group to historical and modern architecture and as much culture as can be crammed in to 36-48 hours. With such a diverse history, each region in Spain breathes a kindred but unique flavor to the trip. Past trips have included cities like Bilbao, Zaragoza, Teruel, Granada, & Seville but this year’s incarnation dubbed “The Passport to Creativity” began in Barcelona.
When I was a young boy, a family moved to Vancouver from Barcelona to open a Spanish tile importer business called Fontile, after the Font family name. My momma, or as you all know her Patti, was one of the first employees outside the family. Being the precocious and magnetic individual that I am- and possibly because of some guilt over robbing me of my mother for 18 hours a day- I was quickly adopted as a grandson or nephew to the 2 generations of Fonts. My connection to the family became so deep that when I was going into a life-threatening surgery, Mrs. Font’s face was the last thing I saw.
I owe some of my passion for life, design and in fact my very career to that wonderful family from Barcelona.
While most kid’s bedtime stories consisted of the 3 bears & Tom Thumb, mine were of Gaudi, Josep Lluis Sert & La Boqueria Market often told in English liberally sprinkled with Catelàn.
But I digress…
… Which usually happens at 10 or so & finishes around midnight with a few too many Oroujo de Herbas
I’m proud to say though that each year, like the cities we visit the invited guests bring their own flavor to the experience making it unforgettable and one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Too everyone that has shared this experience with me past or present- Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
This year was no exception. What promises to be lifelong relationships have developed between everyone and I think a deep understanding and appreciation for Spanish Tile & design came with it. I’m not sure but I think we even managed to broker a deal for a container or two thanks to the boundless personality behind Scarano Grupo, PLLC.
And now I leave you with some images of a city near and dear to me. But next time, expect a tale about a ceramicist that speaks the language of my soul, the history of ceramic production in Catalunya & lunch in a 15th century convent with some delightful Spanish penguins!
Until then- Dos Besos hombrés