I formed a company to preserve and pursue the decorative arts. I created a system to train apprentices up to the level of master crafters, and sought out accomplished masters who are the best in their field.
Somehow I always had a profound respect for all natural materials and I admired the dignity of the artisan, his manner of developing skill and pride in execution of the work.
I inherited the tools of my Great Grandfather George Daglass, who was one of the principle craftsmen in the building of London’s great late gothic train terminal at King Cross/St. Pancras.
There is a beauty in hand worked things of all kinds. This was instilled in me by the late Sir Clough Williams-Ellis who was still adding to his masterpiece of Portmeirion Village in Wales when he hired me as his assistant. He was 90, I was 19.
Sir Clough was an eccentric, fantastic old man, very enthusiastic about his ideas. He constantly exclaimed things like, “Vistas, cleverly arranged direct the viewers sensibilities all the way to the horizon” Once he pointed to the dry stacked stone walls around the fields of Wales he said” See how handsome stonework is, resting in the weight of its own gravity” When he was explaining Vistas, he pointed down the great tree lined avenue in his garden of Plas Brondanau. He spread his arms in satisfaction and simply say “Look… how we frame the view of Cnicht”. This was one of the mountains in the Snowdonia range.
I looked up to this great master with enormous reverence. I think Sir Clough taught me how to see, and appreciate the whole composition of buildings and gardens. Later when I inherited the farm in Tuscany, I had to ask for his blessing to leave him and go operate a farm in Italy, with great joy and understanding Sir Clough said “Italy! the history of architecture will be before your eyes”
It was Italy that a deep connection with artists through the ages grew in me, and where I began a lifelong study of architecture and the decorative arts. From the magnificent composition of all the classical buildings, and the incredible detailed work in marble, wood, metal, glass, I knew I was looking at some of the great achievements of human endeavor, and I determined to honor the traditions of the crafts, and keep this alive in the world.
After many adventures and much study of different cultures and styles, years later I settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and opened my business designing and making doors and furniture. This grew very quickly into a major operation with projects all over the world. The arts and crafts are alive and well.