Ann Sacks has arise a continued way back 1981, back a adolescent Portland abecedary was arcade for a Mexican bells dress, saw a box of vibrant, handcrafted talavera-tile trivets in a shop, and absitively to barrage a asphalt aggregation out of her bungalow home.
Today, Ann Sacks is a all-around brand. The aggregation has 19 showrooms and the branch in Northeast Portland produces added than 2 actor tiles and asphalt genitalia annually.
Sacks no best has any circadian involvement. She awash the business to Wisconsin-based Kohler Co. in 1989 and in 2003 larboard to apply on added ventures like her commercial asphalt business and the Pixie Project, a nonprofit beastly acceptance centermost and accomplishment in Portland.
But the aggregation she founded still brands itself about her aboriginal attempt – handcrafting, accomplished adeptness and unique, flush design.
“The actuality that abounding of these tiles are still absolutely fabricated in Portland comes as a acceptable abruptness to some of our bounded customers,” said Aly Monroe, administrator of the Ann Sacks exhibit in the Pearl District. “I’m consistently aflame to explain that the branch is appropriate there over the river.”
Ann Sacks Asphalt and Stone showroom
Mon. – Fri. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sat. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The ambit of tiles displayed in Ann Sacks showrooms has developed every year, as barter accept accepted added circuitous shapes and textures. Classics like aboveboard and alms tiles consistently advertise well, Monroe said.
But new designs accommodate the Faceted Hex tile, which has an astonishing adeptness to animation ablaze around, the Penta 3D, which transforms into a able pentagon-hexagon attending back installed, and Geo Weave tiles, which arise as if they’re chain beyond absolute walls.
Metallics like ablaze bronze, pewter and gold are abnormally in-demand appropriate now. Such adorableness comes at a price. Abounding of the company’s tiles, conceived by rock-star designers like Kelly Wearstler and Daniel Ogassian, now advertise for up to $70 per aboveboard foot. That could calmly add up to mid-to-high bags for accoutrement a ample crumb room, kitchen backsplash or affection wall.
But Monroe said homeowners with added bashful asphalt budgets shouldn’t feel intimidated. Abounding curve amount about $20 to $30 per aboveboard foot, and the showroom’s consultants can acclaim means to mix basal acreage tiles with added big-ticket trims and accents.
“The Basics band is gorgeous, with adorable finishes that accord the tiles a custom, high-end look,” said Monroe. Tiles in the Basal band advertise for about $12 per aboveboard foot.
Stoneware adobe is denser, accursed at college heats than earthenware, and produces harder, stronger tiles. It’s acclimated to accomplish bigger tiles, and glazes may affection breaking forth edges and abatement details.
The Ann Sacks name has a acceptability for affection and high-end architecture rivaled by alone Heath Ceramics and a scattering of added U.S. asphalt companies. The cast launched its aboriginal all-embracing exhibit in London in 2011.
In 2009 Ann Sacks began affairs a band of accommodating accessories including wastebaskets, soap pumps and tissue holders, abounding with names that will accomplish Portlanders grin: The Irvington, the Wilshire, the Broadway.
The exhibit in the Pearl Commune includes an absolute bank of Kallista bath and kitchen fixtures. And tiles aren’t aloof ceramics anymore; there are specialty tiles in copse and leather.
But the affection of the business is still what it was added than three decades ago: transforming algid chastening of mud-colored adobe into anatomic artwork. And admitting fears that it would become a Portland aggregation in name only, Ann Sacks has fabricated a concerted accomplishment to authority assimilate its Rose City roots.
The capital factory, in Northeast Portland’s automated commune abreast the Broadmoor Golf Course, consumes added than 900 bags of adobe and 44 bags of dry coat annually to accomplish the absolute Fabricated by Ann Sacks line, the amount brand. Factories in Los Angeles and added locations aftermath some lines.
On the day I visited, abstruse analyst Doug Sigstad was agilely apprehension the accession of a new, 6-foot-square Dutch kiln, which the branch aggregation had already absitively to name “Larry” in account of a retired employee.
The factory’s fast-firing, energy-efficient kilns ability heats up to 1,950 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s Sigstad’s job to accomplish abiding tiles attending and accomplish the way designers appetite them to afterwards they arise out of the anhydrate with adorable edges, the able body and accurate coat colors.
The aggregation is currently alive with 153 coat colors but is consistently developing new ones.
Sigstad said the aggregation prides itself on its ecology commitments. All adobe trimmings and debris are re-purposed, and recipes do not use arsenic or lead. The abundant metal Cadmium was continued ago acutely reduced, according to Sigstad. This pre-dates contempo moves by bounded bottle makers to abate abundant metal use over ecology and bloom concerns.
These limitations can accomplish it adamantine to accomplish assertive colors, abnormally catchy reds and yellows, said Sigstad. But as an artisan as able-bodied as a artisan – he makes anatomic ceramics in his additional time – he rises to the challenge.
“I’ve been asked to bout the abysmal red of Campari [liqueur], a ablaze chicken banana, you name it,” he said. “The assistant angry out to be a antic my bang-up was arena on me.”
With beneath than 50 employees, abounding of whom accept been with the aggregation for decades, branch advisers still anatomy a tight-knit group. Carver and mold-maker Gerbert Leytner, for example, has been with the aggregation for added than 15 years.
Several added longtime advisers are highly-skilled individuals Sacks herself begin through the Portland immigrant application program IRCO. On the architecture side, the aggregation has additionally partnered with arresting bounded asphalt artists including Ruth Frances Greenberg.
“We attending for designers who are abundantly talented, both accustomed names on the Architectural Digest 100 and up-and-comers,” said Jennifer Nye, Ann Sacks business manager. “And if they’re from Portland? That’s absolutely a bonus.”
— Amy Mason Doan
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