Gender has nothing on the curation of powerful and unique mosaic designs
Back in 2017, TileLetter profiled Angie Halford Ré as part of that year’s Women in Tile feature. Three years later, we take a more in-depth look at her work, her artistry and her love for tile. – Editor
Angie Halford Ré is the founder and owner of award-winning Unique Mosaics, LLC, a global and nationally-recognized custom mosaic tile artwork studio located in South Salt Lake, Utah. Her 22 years of experience in tile and design make her an industry leader and top consultant in the U.S. among other designers, tile contractors, builders, and architects. As one of the few women currently dominating the tile industry, her custom mosaic designs and installations are heavily regarded as some of the most demanding, intricate projects across the country.
Angie fell in love with tile and mosaics when she lived in North Carolina as a single parent of five children while freelancing in her spare time from her kitchen table. In 2017, once Angie’s small business started growing, she moved to Utah, turning her basement into a working studio. She has since moved her business to a commercial studio
“I love to start an idea with a blank slate and watch it become something incredible,” said Angie. “I love to create functional art using tile as a medium. It’s in my blood. I absolutely cherish every minute of each project I do.”
It takes a village
“Bringing more than two decades of experience, I’ve realized how important it is to take every opportunity to learn and reach higher to accomplish what you set out to do,” she explained. “Although women in tile are in the minority, I don’t focus on that; it doesn’t have to be an issue. Respect others and respect yourself. Read, take courses when they are offered, go to conventions, join social media groups in the field and learn from others who you admire.”
Throughout her tile and stone career, Angie has learned how vital it is to lean in on the community of other industry professionals around her. Angie’s creations are unprecedented due to her creative process and how she works directly with architects, contractors, designers and home or business owners one-on-one. She prefabricates her mosaics to be pre-mounted and grouted. She works with installers, who then only need to install either one piece or several sections for larger installations. Working to her clients’ specifications, Angie will often mount mosaics on mesh, mosaic tape or foam board, depending on what the situation calls for. Possessing installer experience herself, she understands what types of tile and setting materials to use and only uses high-quality materials to ensure that her work will stand the test of time.
“My projects are personal, which is why I need consistent, outperforming products and a team of industry professionals who will help me bring my vision to life,” said Angie. “LATICRETE has products for any situation and I trust them. Not only do I trust the products, but the people at LATICRETE have become my friends and support system over the years. I can go to many people at LATICRETE and get a quick and trusted response when I have a question or need recommendations.”
Coincidentally, Angie has been recently working on a project for LATICRETE itself. Rod Katwyk of RodKat Products in Salt Lake City, Utah, commissioned Angie to create a LATICRETE logo mosaic for the company fountain. Designed to be the focal point behind a flow of water, she created the design using tiles of matching brand colors to imitate the LATICRETE logo. For grout, she used SPECTRALOCK® 1 in midnight black and installed 254 Platinum as her adhesive because of its excellent reputation for exterior and underwater applications. It also provides superior bond to concrete, which is ideal since parts of the tile and fountain will be in a wet environment.
Unique projects call for quality products
“I use a great deal of LATICRETE® products in my work,” said Angie. “Most often, I use HYDRO BAN® Board, HYDRO BAN Cementitious Water-proofing Membrane, various LATICRETE thinsets such as 254 Platinum, 1500 Sanded Grout, SPECTRALOCK 1, as well as SPECTRALOCK DAZZLE™ when I want to give that extra ‘bling’ to one of my mosaics.”
Using LATICRETE products for the vast majority of her jobs, Angie has successfully crafted masterful projects for an assortment of commercial and residential clients. One of the most important things for her is seeing her client excited about the end result, and that the installation went smoothly, which is why quality products are essential for her business.
For example, Angie recently worked on a custom glass tile mural that would be installed in Sarasota, Fla. Joe Sprinkle of Sprinkle Tile & Stone LLC installed this mural after Angie built the mosaic to size and separated it into sections for easy shipping and installation. Knowing the installer needed setting products that would work well with 1/8” (3 mm) thick stained glass with tight joints throughout the wall mural, Angie specified that Sprinkle use LATICRETE Glass Tile Adhesive in combination with PERMACOLOR® Select NS Ground Base. As an ultra premium, polymer-fortified unsanded portland cement grout, it is designed specifically for highly-delicate surfaces, such as high-polish marble and soft glass.
“After the installation, my team and Sprinkle Tile & Stone LLC were very impressed with both the ease of installation and the outcome of the overall design,” said Angie.
One of Angie’s favorite projects to date was being able to create an American flag tile mural for Nick Cicone, a U.S. military veteran and avid patriot in Cleveland, Ohio. The Unique Mosaic team partnered with contractor Jimmy Gladney of Tile by Design to create and install a vertically-displayed American Flag, which would be installed in Cicone’s entryway. What made this project special to Angie was the fact that Cicone wanted the end product to be a surprise. Of course, Angie and her team didn’t disappoint. The U.S. military veteran was awestruck of his new American flag tile artwork and often calls the installer to let him know he’s “staring at it again.”
“For me, it’s not about gender, it’s about the finished product,” Angie said. “My clientele trusts me with their custom orders to ensure a long-lasting, productive relationship with every installation, paired with the highest quality mosaic products.”
The sky’s the limit
Angie’s dedication to her career and company make her the go-to professional nationwide for historical restoration projects and renovations in many of the country’s historical districts and stringent architectural review committees. Her continuous ability to procure, design, create, and build custom mosaic tile artwork makes her an authority in the mosaic tile trade. Her quality and attention to detail remain unmatched and her experience rivals the largest manufacturers, giving her a competitive advantage in the tile installer community.
“Once women in tile start learning the basic skills,” she added, “they should continue to challenge themselves. By practicing and continually challenging yourself, you will be surprised by all you can accomplish with a little determination, courage, and a dash of creativity. The tile industry can be a very rewarding and stable career. Personally, I love my job and fought my way to have it full-time. Life is too short to not love what you do for work. Make your career in tile what you want it to be.”