Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Artistry in Glass

Two years ago I bought a small house in the Tucson Mountains. The back yard faces 63 acres of protected wildlife preserve. I didn't need another house, but the setting is stunning, and I couldn't resist. I figured I could use it as a vacation and party house, and maybe rent it short term to snow birds.

I spent six months renovating Desert's Edge, making it my dream home. By summer 2006, I still had plenty left to do, but I was so discouraged by the problems I had with the various contractors, I couldn't stand to work on it anymore.

Finally, last month, I felt could deal with the last three phases of the project -- install the floor tile and granite counter tops, and buy some furniture. The end is in sight, and I hope Desert's Edge will be ready for its housewarming by February.

I have bored my friends and myself to tears talking about what has gone wrong with this project. I want to use this blog to express my thanks to the people who made things go right.

I decided I wanted to have something like petroglyphs etched into some of the floor tiles. This is about the eighth property Jack Langley with Southwest Design has tiled for me. Jack suggested I talk to his neighbor, John Wakefield, at Artistry in Glass, to see whether he could get the effect I wanted. I did, and he could. John does all sorts of work in stained, leaded and beveled glass, including etching. He readily agreed to acid-etch patterns onto my floor tiles.

I traced Steve's hand and mine, added spirals in the palms, and took the drawings to John along with drawings of the sun and the Man in the Maze (only in this case, she's the Woman in the Maze).

John is from outside London, so just listening to him talk is a delight, but we learned that we had something in common. He's a former exploration geologist and I'm a former hydrologist. We both decided there had to be a better way to make a living than working for The Man, so we started our own businesses.

John runs his business the way I run mine. We try to keep the customer satisfied, even when it's not convenient. I wanted a change in the tiles on the Saturday afternoon before Christmas (he's only open by appointment on Saturday) and he cheerfully agreed to make the change that day so they could be installed on schedule. I am very happy with the results. You can see Steve's hand print in the photo above.

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