When Dawn Federico of Vitrium Tile Company emailed me, I felt starstruck! She found me while googling her company. Vitrium tile is one of my favorite glass materials to work with. The textures range from swirls to pebbly bumps to brushstrokes, and the colors are intense and iridescent. My old supplier had stopped selling them, and here Dawn was asking if I lived in PA, and did I want to come buy overstock and discontinued tile. Did I?? Oh, yes! It turned out I only live 1/2 hour away. I knew Vitrium was made in PA which I thought was cool, but I didn’t know the company was practically in my backyard.
I pulled up in front of a tiny warehouse, next to a construction company in the woods of Bucks County, PA. Dawn greeted me, and showed me around, and I quickly knew I had met a kindred spirit in loving glass tile and iridescence. She was excited that I was so excited. Sometimes it’s hard to convey love of something that seems utilitarian. It’s just tile. But for tile geeks like myself, it’s a whole world of beauty, especially when what is imperfect for big installations, where colors need to match exactly, and one speck can mar a solid color, is perfect for a mosaic artist. I love the expansiveness of mosaic, the ability to use what is lost to the utilitarian world, and create something new out of imperfect fragments.
I have to love a place that has a huge jar of something called “Super Orange” since orange is my favorite color. I also love that Dawn started as the business manager 12 years ago, and eventually ended up taking over the company when the previous owners were floundering, and I can see how much she cares about her product, and creating something handmade, in the United States, keeping people employed, and continuing the tradition of artisans in Bucks County.
Update: In Spring of 2012, Dawn sold Vitrium to Tohickon Glass Eyes, and they are now called Tohickon Glass Tiles. Tohickon has long been known for their exquisite glass eyes for taxidermy, and are located just a little ways from the former Vitrium factory in Bucks County. I am glad that they are able to carry on the making of these beautiful tiles.