Sunday, November 05, 2006

The On-Going Tile Adventure

I want to use Mexican tile for the backsplash in our renovated kitchen. And why not.....we live in Mexican tile country. Dolores Hidalgo has many, many pottery and tile manufacturers as does the area around the city of Guanajuato. Right away I saw that Gorky Gonzales tiles would work great in the kitchen but they are a little spendy for my pocketbook.

A large manufacturer out of Dolores who has a wonderful large showroom in San Miguel told me that he could do anything I wanted. Change the background color and he showed me different ways he could do this, change the colors in a design, etc. I told him that I knew that he usually did much larger jobs and this was a small order but he said he wanted my business. Hey, this sounded good to me. So for a month I've been working with him to get a sample done. It is a long story but finally after losing the sample order several times some samples appeared. I don't have any idea where the colors came from. The sample is not what we have discussed at all. And I didn't think we had a language problem because although he is Mexican, he was raised in the USA and speaks perfect English. He is out of town and I haven't given up because I really like his designs but at this point, I thought that maybe I should look for a backup.

So yesterday we went to Dolores to see if we could find another tile company who has a small showroom in the plaza on the corner of Canal and Hernandez Macias. We had a phone number and an address for the manufacturing facility in Dolores Hidalgo. Ned called and asked for directions. They said they were near the Bomberos and the new hospital. So after some driving around and asking directions in Dolores we found the central Bomberos (fire station). The Bomberos did not know where the street was although the tile company had said they were just two blocks from the Bomberos.

We found a payphone and called them. They said go wait at the Bomberos and they would come get us. They were close by but the road was under construction. The road bed was about six feet down from what was left of the sidewalk in the block where they are located and about every 15 feet the sidewalk was missing too except for a single line of a brick wall. It was a little precarious to say the least to get to their showroom. And what a disappointment it was. They had fewer tiles on the wall than the tiny showroom in San Miguel. But they took us back into their taller (manufacturing shop.) It was a huge barn of a place with many, many employees painting tiles, moving tiles, and packing tiles for shipping. I just wonder how many of these kinds of places are in Dolores Hidalgo. You can't tell from the street and this one was off of the main streets and in a Colonia.

The man who designs the tiles and does the colors was in Aguascalientes with a son and his wife because the son was getting a kidney transplant from the wife. Oh dear, I hope the son and wife will be okay. They think he will be back next week. And yes they can do a special order for us but he would have to sign off on it. Well he certainly has bigger problems than our order. We'll check with them to see if he is back before we go again. But I'm not sure at this point that this company will be a backup.

There is also another pottery maker who I have heard does tiles, Santa Rosa. They are in the mountains between Guanajuato and Dolores Hidalgo about and hour and fifteen minutes from San Miguel de Allende. I have bought several beautiful plates from them and so we might have to go check out what designs they have with tiles. I'm sure that Ned is hoping that we can get the tiles closer to home because it won't be just one trip to Santa Rosa but several to get samples, make decisions and then get the tiles made.

It is like a treasure hunt, an adventure. Certainly not like buying tiles in the USA. But then in the USA, I can't even imagine what it would cost to have custom made tiles. So I keep telling myself, "Go with the flow. Enjoy the journey."

1 comment:

gary mercer said...

Call Gorky and get it done right. You'll look at these tiles every morning making coffee and frying eggs! Gary (middle son)