It began over seven years ago when I decided to visit an old friend in Northern California. We were talking on the phone when she told me she purchased a table from Ikea and was having problems putting it together. I said I would come up to help her which surprised her since we were about one hundred miles apart. We joked around about it and in a few minutes finished our once-a-month phone call. It dawned on me shortly after we hung up that my day was open and I had exactly nothing to do all day, so I packed a small tool box, grabbed a jacket and drove from Monterey to San Anselmo to help assemble her table.
I took a chance on the two-hour drive to see her, and I was very happy to hear her answer the phone when I arrived in town and gave her a call. She started with wow, twice in the same day! replied, I can do you one better. I’m sitting at Andronico’s, come show me where you live. In the past, we were very close and over the last twenty-five years remained in contact usually by telephone with a once or twice a year visit. She met me at the store and my surprise visit was very well accepted.
After we finished with the table we decided to go into town for dinner. After dinner, as we walked to the car from the restaurant we passed a store where she saw in a store window ustic wood and flower centerpiece. She said, “Now that is something I would like to have on my table.” Having taken note of what she said, I drove home that evening with the intention of purchasing the piece and having it delivered to her home. To my surprise, I was told they could not (or would not) deliver.
After being told they would not deliver, I decided to make one and send it to her. After all, how hard could it be? I went to several stores and bought material to build a likeness of what I remembered she appreciated. As I sat outside my garage with tape, glue, string, sticks, and stones struggling to achieve what I thought would be a piece of cake to accomplish, my neighbor from across the street approached me and asked, “what are you doing?” I told him the story and he replied, those are nice - want to sell one? At this point I have filled my worktable with several versions of centerpieces, all of which I felt could be much better. In gave it no real thought when he bought two of them, one for his wife and the other for his sister-in-law.
For the next couple of days, I scurried home after work determined to build a centerpiece for my longtime friend. Finally, after a few days, I had a few I thought were good enough to be called centerpieces. I was excited about the idea of sending one of them as a surprise gift to match her new table. I put them in my car to pack and mail after work the next day.
That night was league bowling night. I arrived at the bowling alley found my lanes and began to prepare for the evening. As I was preparing to bowl, one of the employees mentioned it was her birthday. I have known her for years and have come to cherish her as a friend. I could see she was excited about the opportunity to celebrate herself (something we should all do more often). I have a present for you I said, and I asked her to come out to my car. We went to the car where I gave her one of the centerpieces as a gift. The second I placed it in her hands she began to cry. She was overwhelmed and stated, "it is absolutely beautiful." In a short while, after she regained composure, we went back inside where she began to show her gift to other bowlers and employees. By the end of the night, I had orders for at least twenty candleholders.
Since that time things have changed. Techniques, quality, and focus have improved and today we are the creators of Artistic Candleholders, “Art that lights up your life.”
We begin with Redwood found at Big Sur California, Central coast Manzanita, Cypress and Pine of Pebble Beach, Pacific Madrone from the Oregon Coast, various grapevines, roots, and occasionally coastal driftwood. Paying close attention to the grain, character, shape, and size of each piece as I comb forest and beach for raw material selected for its artistic quality and workability.
Today thousands of people and businesses are proud and happy owners of “Artistic Candleholders.”
It’s been over seven years since I've made that drive to San Anselmo to assemble my friend's table, and although I’ve made hundreds – maybe thousands since that day, ironically I have yet to send her a centerpiece.
Two position Floating Candles, supported by Oregon Coast Mandrone
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"Art that lights up your life"