The artist’s shed in Paradise. To see the finished goods, go to www.glastware.com (Photo: Lunch)
It was the Christmas season, one year ago, which inspired David Tidwell’s latest hobby/trade/obsession.
Tidwell, the owner of Bosque Woodworks and a carpenter by trade, decided that he’d like to make Christmas gifts for his family. So he took existing glassware, initially wine bottles, cut through them with a diamond saw, smoothed out the edges with a lapidary machine, and voila, he’d created homemade glasses and jugs.
His family and friends thought they were pretty cool, so Tidwell began building upon the idea, sandblasting the glass and adding etchings on the sides.
“People are doing things like this,” says Tidwell, “but no one’s doing anything close.” Besides the fact that you need one pretty big air compressor!
Consumers apparently agree.
On a whim, Tidwell applied for a booth to show his wares at the Mammoth Lakes Labor Day Arts Festival. “I did twice what I expected to do in sales,” said Tidwell. “I saw the demand, and I knew it was something I could pursue.”
Granted, in comparison to carpentry, there’s not much money it, but Tidwell says, “It’s magnetizing. I can’t stay away from it.”
Between Tom’s Place, Angel’s and Rusty’s Saloon down in Bishop, Tidwell has worked out his empty bottle supply.
This may explain why one piece of work is on display at Angel’s – the tip jar behind the front desk. As Tidwell describes, “It is a huge/magnum green bottle with Mountains carved in and it is lit up via a wood base. Turned out pretty cool.”
Tidwell has become somewhat of a glass snob. He’s definitely no fan of Two Buck Chuck (“They’ve got crappy bottles.”). He’s a fan of Martinelli’s. “I have bought Martinelli’s (Sparkling Cider) time and time again because their bottles make the best glasses.”
He also likes working with Grand Marnier bottles, Red Stripe pint bottles and Menage a Trois wine.
And, he says, contrary to popular myth, Rusty’s clientele drinks the top shelf liquor.
What appeals to Tidewell is that he’s producing art with functionality. “On rare occasions, I will make art for art’s sake, but I hate to throw things out there without function.
He says he processes things based upon what ceramicists factor in for their labor.
“How long did it take to make that?” I asked, pointing to a glass made out of a Red Stripe bottle.
“A little over an hour.”
Tidwell who’s lived in the Eastern Sierra for 11 years and been with wife Sandy for 10, has just started getting his stuff out. Some of it can be found at the Mono Arts Gallery in the Mammoth Luxury Outlet Mall or at Cobwebs Antiques in Bishop. But really, the best place to start is at his website, www.glastware.com.