Page 8 - Flooring Specialist Winter 2022
P. 8

Working Outside the Norm

                               By Ken Ballin, CFI #13604, CTI #1392

            rom a young age I’ve always found myself attracted to   used to get phone calls from people looking for cheaper
            things a little outside the norm. Rock and reggae music   prices than my so-called competition. Now I get phone
        Finstead of pop, x games over the super bowl, and a   calls from people who have seen my work and aren’t even
        Picasso over a portrait any day of the week. Picasso, now   considering “the competition”. That’s such a funny word to
        that’s my kind of guy, maybe not as far as his personal life   me now, mostly because I don’t have competition. None of
        is concerned, but his professional prowess on the canvas   us do really. We are all part of an industry, a network if you
        cannot be contested. The cubist images have always taken   will, where we have the opportunity to step up and show off
        up real estate in mind because they were different than   our craft to the world or sit idle while progression passes us
        what was traditionally toted as art. I have similar feelings   by.
        towards Pollock, Escher, and even Dali, anything really that
        made me stand back and say wow. These days I look for that   In my relatively short time, comparatively speaking of course,
        same reaction from my clients as well as others within this   in the industry I’ve seen enough white Subway and mosaic
        incredible industry of floor layers and tile setters that I find   deco strips to last a lifetime. These boring layouts need to
        myself in.                                          go. If we’re going to use white subway then let’s throw in a
                                                                 colorful wavy glass accent strip and scribe it into the
        I                                                        field tile. This piece of art has these great curves and
                                                                 we’re just going to put a cut straight edge on it and
                                                                 stick it between two other planes straight edges?
                                                                 It’s time to think outside the box and step up our
                                                                 collective game. We are artisans. We have the ability
                                                                 to push the limits and lift each other up in our skill
                                                                 set as well as our mindset. If you can think it, you can
                                                                 make it happen.

                                                                 I recently completed a project that pushed my limits
                                                                 beyond what I thought I was capable of. I did a lot of
                                                                 work on this particular client’s house from the new
                                                                 hardwood floors to a custom hardwood staircase to
                                                                 a powder room makeover to an epoxy staircase to
                                                                 a full master bath renovation. Nothing over the top,
                                                                 artistically speaking, but a lot of work nonetheless.
                                                                 After all the work was complete they came to me
                                                                 and said that they saw the more artistic stuff that I
                                                                 was working on posted on my Instagram page (@
                                                                 skyrofloors) and wanted me to do something with
                                                                 their fireplace. I told him I’d be happy to do something
                                                                 for them and in my infinite wisdom may have
                                                                 mentioned that I could “do anything from something
                                                                 basic to a custom mosaic of the lighthouse.” They
                                                                 went for the lighthouse, which was great and I was
                                                                 grateful for the opportunity, but now I have the task of
                                                                 figuring out how to actually pull it off.

                                                                 For the better part of a decade, we’ve been building
                                                                 an online community in the form of Facebook groups
                                                                 where you can connect with other members all over
                                                                 the world. We have access to information and people
                                                                 immediately. These groups are where I first found the
                                                                 incredibly talented mosaic artist, Miss Angie Re. We’ve
                                                                 spoken regularly for quite some time and I finally had
                                                                 the opportunity to meet her in person at Coverings
                                                                                                 continued >>>
   8       Flooring Specialist        Winter 2022
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