Meet Your Maker: Mary Anderson of BonTon Tile Artistry
Meet Mary Anderson, owner and founder of BonTon designs. Her tile company, based in Golden Valley, MN, specializes in creating custom handmade tiles for residential and commercial spaces – no project is too big or too small.
The company name derives from the French “Bon Ton” (pronounced bawn tawn), and means ‘good or elegant form or style; something regarded as fashionably correct.’
About Mary Anderson:
“Although I’m not classically trained, I have always considered myself an artist. I have run my own Faux Finishing Company, design business and furniture “recycling” businesses. Ceramics, and more specifically clay, offers me a three-dimensional creativity that I love. Part of my creativity comes from my lack of training or schooling. When you have no parameters, when you don’t know what you can’t do, there are no boundaries.
I have spent the last 17 years in the tile and stone industry in just about every position. Sales, customer service, outside rep., installation, and inspection to name a few. My mission is not to take myself too seriously and to have fun while being very serious about my tiles.”
About BonTon designs:
“It all started at my kitchen table about 5 years ago. That moved to a makeshift studio in the basement that expanded to the hallway, then expanded to the living room. We now own 2 studio spaces in a light industrial building. One space is for tile production, the other is for mosaic classes, design and showroom space. I started by only making decorative tile and I wasn’t going to even make field tile. That changed quickly as I saw how much demand and profit there is in 2×2, 4×4 (and so on) I quickly rolled it into the line. Also, I have added ceramic jewelry, handbags, knobs, switch plates and accessories. Last Fall I started mosaic tiling classes. It has quickly become a major part of my business.”
What makes BonTon tile unique?
“The beauty of our glazes is unmistakable. “Bold, rich and unique” have all been used to describe the look and feel of our tile. We have exclusive hand mixed glazes that you will find nowhere else in the world. Our tile is completely made by hand in our Minneapolis studios. We manufacture a thick ‘chunky’ tile that measures 3/8” thick and is hand-cut, hand-dipped and fired to create a truly rich look.”
Do you have a “trademark” style or motif?
“My look cuts across all design styles and aesthetics. Modern, contemporary, Arts and Crafts – it can all be found in my line. I take cues from the fashion industry and the environment around me. It is amazing how you can find design in the most unusual places. Nobody does anything like it in the industry.”
A Glimpse Behind the Scenes at BonTon:
I believe that everyone who buys BonTon automatically becomes more divine and less fuddy-duddy.
I believe that beauty is only skin deep unless you’re talking tile, then it’s through body.
I believe that neutrals don’t need to be gray or beige. My neutrals are exotic reds, bawdy blues and seductive greens.
I believe in handmade artisan tile is for everyone and should be in every home, office, restaurant and public space.
I believe self promotion is not only necessary, but mandatory.
I believe in working hard, playing harder and when I die my epitaph should read burnt out!
For questions, comments, or to custom order tiles from Mary and Kurt Anderson of BonTon designs, you can contact her here or leave a comment below. Happy tiling!