A Tilemaker’s Hand Works with the Skill of a Fine Art Master

Like the mosaics of ancient Rome, the artful decor by Bullnose Tile could be part of our society’s artistic legacy.

An artisan works at Antiquity, one of the tilemaking companies Bullnose Tile has selected for its outstanding hand-made artworks. (Photos courtesy of Antiquity)
An artisan works at Antiquity, one of the tilemaking companies Bullnose Tile has selected for its outstanding hand-made artworks. (Photos courtesy of Antiquity)

Viewing fine art can take your breath away or even move you to tears. Capturing the beauty of vivid colours and exquisite craftsmanship doesn’t always have to come in a painting or sculpture. What if your floor tile or kitchen backsplash did the same?

“A lot of tile, you can treat it as art, where it evokes emotion, it makes you happy,” says Joel Christensen, co-owner of Bullnose Tile & Stone. “When you look at it, it should make you feel good.”

For a quarter century, Bullnose Tile, in Coquitlam, British Columbia, has been “rebelling against monotony.” It has become the go-to destination for people interested in more than just standard grey or beige squares to decorate their home.

Tiles made by Tempest Tileworks, one of the artisanal companies with which Bullnose Tile works. (Photo courtesy of Tempest Tileworks)
Tiles made by Tempest Tileworks, one of the artisanal companies with which Bullnose Tile works. (Photos courtesy of Tempest Tileworks)
(Photo courtesy of Tempest Tileworks)

Walking through its showroom, customers are greeted by vivid colours and artistic beauty you would expect to see in a museum. The tiles carried by Bullnose are not only breathtaking, but are skillfully handmade by artisans using techniques long forsaken by the mass-producing tile factories.

“Ultimately what we want to offer people is a high calibre, handmade tile that makes impressions on people,” Joel says. Bullnose offers tiles from roughly 20 artisan workshops around the world, all of which are carefully vetted by Joel and his wife, Catherine, who co-owns the store.

(Photo courtesy of Bullnose Tile)
(Photo courtesy of Bullnose Tile)

“Our collections are carefully sourced for colour, texture, handcrafted creativity, and earth-friendliness,” Catherine says.

The Motawi collection, inspired by the traditions of arts and craft, art deco, and art nouveau, is sure to leave an impression. These pieces feature landscapes and natural themes, with some resembling stained-glass murals. They focus on quality, not quantity, and produce the same number of tiles in a year as other tile manufacturers produce in just a day.

Tiles from Bulnose Tile’s Japanese Tile collection. (Photos courtesy of Bullnose Tile)

Bullnose also carries Japanese Tile, an exclusive collection handmade by tilemakers in the Gifu region of Japan. The collection features eight different series using traditions originating from the 7th century. The beautiful Japanese designs use earthy tones and natural patterns, bringing harmony to any space.

A new edition to Bullnose Tile is by famous designer Erin Adams, whose work has been featured in the homes of Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, and many other celebrities. Bullnose will carry her Tempesta collection, which embodies a seamless fusion of natural stone and handmade ceramic tile.

“When we first saw it, we found it to be a truly unique and gorgeous product,” Catherine says. “We chose to carry it because it simply blew our minds to see marble-like glazing over stone — because we had never seen it before.”

Tiles designed by Erin Adams. (Photos courtesy of Bullnose Tile)
Tiles designed by Erin Adams. (Photos courtesy of Bullnose Tile)

Antiquity is one of the most environmentally friendly collections offered by Bullnose. On an 18th-century farmstead in Maine, Antiquity’s kiln is heated using recycled wood. It also recycles its clay and glazes, meaning it produces little to no waste. The tile isn’t just earth-friendly, it’s also durable, with the vendor estimating the tile will last over 2,000 years.

“Whether it’s a particular hue or design that’s our customer’s jumping off point, they choose it because they love it and want to be surrounded by it because of its beauty,” Catherine says. “We have actually had customers cry tears of joy once they’ve seen their favourite tiles on their fireplace, because in the end, our tiles simply make them feel that happy.”

(Photo courtesy of Antiquity Tile)
(Photo courtesy of Antiquity Tile)

Bullnose Tile will display its work at the Luxury Home & Design Show in Vancouver, June 21–24, 2018. The show is hosted by Magnifissance’s sister media, Taste of Life. Learn more about the Luxury Home & Design Show.

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