One of the things I love most about my job is getting out in the field and seeing firsthand what is going on. Trade shows, of course, are always good for that. They not only provide a venue for me, as well as others, to view all the latest products, but they also provide an opportunity to observe machinery and other product demonstrations as well as the chance to mingle with industry members.

Taking it a step further, I welcome the chance to get out there and meet with architects, designers, stone suppliers and fabricators at their offices or facilities to see what latest projects they are working on. Recently, I had the opportunity to do just that. I was invited to attend ABC Stone's special event at its Brooklyn location. The high-end stone supplier often opens up its doors to host occasions to celebrate the work of artists. While its warehouse is stocked with many beautiful slabs, it also includes true works of art.

On this particular night, the event was to honor the winners of the 2013 ABC Stone, Oriano Galloni Foundation and New York Academy of Art's "Sculpture Residency Merit Scholarship Award." ABC Stone sponsors the annual Artist in Residency in Carrara, Italy, as part of its ongoing commitment to sustaining and promoting the use of stone in artistic practice. "It is our belief that deepening the awareness of stone commensurately widens respect for this venerable medium and the millennia-old human tradition of transforming it through highly skilled craft," stated the company.

The winning works of art were "Last Howl" by Heather Personett and "Inoculation" by Zoe Suenson-Taylor. Additionally, the sculpted work of Stephen Shaheen, Oriano Galloni, Jonathan Prince, Barbara Segal, Joseph Brickey, Alasdair Thomson, April Hanna as well as well others were on display throughout ABC Stone's facility.

An event like this not only showcases the capabilities of stone, but the talent of the artists. There was a feeling of energy in the room, which I was happy to be a part of.

In a couple of weeks, I head to Las Vegas to attend Coverings, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. Hopefully, the good feelings of the industry will continue and be felt in the exhibition hall. I look forward to meeting with industry members and seeing the latest product introductions. This edition of the Stone and Tile Design Insider contains a preview of some of the products that will be on display. I will be sure to report back on others that I see while touring the show floor.