History of Tile Guild


Tile Guild was incorporated in Los Angeles in 1985.

Our founder and director was a university taught ceramicist with degrees in the fine art of ceramics, earning the degrees B.A., B.F.A., M.F.A. Full time teaching positions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Ohio State University and lastly at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. After teaching for five years, poverty lead him to become interested in returning to his childhood training as a tile setter in Seattle. His father was a tile contractor in the 60 and 70s and Mr. Caffrey was trained in the old methods of traditional tile setting. Throughout his college student days he continued to develop his skills. After graduating from college, tile setting was dropped in favor of fine art.

In 1978 Dennis once again started to set tile and marble as an independent contractor in Chicago. He was introduced to hand made and hand painted tiles from Europe. Mr. Caffrey became fascinated with a branch of ceramics unknown to him. Presented with the opportunity to self finance a residency at Fabrica de Sant’Anna Lisbon Portugal, Dennis set off on a two year immersion in the art of Majolica, one year at Sant’Anna founded in 1742. Hands on work in all the aspects of tile making. From clay mixing, to tile forming, then to glazing and  designing and finally to hand painting. Then another one year at Estella de Conímbriga in Condeixa Portugal to learn the art of hand painting pottery.

After becoming hooked on this art Mr. Caffrey returned to Chicago and started experimenting with American materials and techniques that would enable him to paint his own designs in the manner of the 18th century. After developing a product line and with help from a national distributor Mr. Caffrey moved to Los Angeles and set up a studio in a shared warehouse. 31 years later Tile Guild continues to pay homage to the masters of the majolica craft tradition.

Our products are inspired by the French, Spanish, the Italians, the moors of North Africa and especially the greatest masters of the craft, the Portuguese.

Four legends at Tile Guild in Los Angeles California 1990