Following a long week that ended up with a couple of days of meetings and seminars, I was joined in Orlando, Fla., by my bride, the gorgeous and amazing Micki, for some R&R. Two people “of a certain age” may not have chosen this destination for a weekend rendezvous, but it happens that my youngest son, the bohemian artist guy, Jordan, calls Orlando home.
One of my favorite things to do here is to visit Park Avenue in Winter Park, which is not far from downtown Orlando (and not too close to the other attractions for which Orlando is known… not that there is anything wrong with them). Right there in the middle of a long row of fancy shops and eateries is the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum. “The Morse” has as its main attraction works by renowned artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany who is best known for his work in stained glass.
I have been intrigued by stained glass for as long as I can remember — even as a child. My father was a commercial artist and had some stained-glass work on his resume. Not cutting or leading glass, but painting faces and hands on the panes for replacements in church windows. He only did this work on a freelance basis for a relatively short period of time, but I think he always considered it one of the more important pieces of his work as an artist.
So intrigued was I that in the 1980s I learned how to cut and lead art glass to make simple objects of art such as transom windows and other things as time and resources allow. It is great fun, and I plan on doing more once I move beyond the need to work fulltime. Visiting the Morse wakes up my interest in all things beautiful and will doubtless lead me back into my garage to work on some new creation, in spite of knowing that my work is purely amateur and is not really of the same nature as the work of Mr. Tiffany.
While spending a few hours in the Morse I found my thoughts drifting off into my work in the construction industry. Not just as part of the roofing industry, but in my work managing and maintaining buildings for my roofing-distributor employer.
A few years back the Morse added a wing to display more of Tiffany’s work that has a special focus on the home he built on Long Island, N.Y. My mind went from enjoying the beauty all around me to studying the architectural details of the home, named Laurelton Hall. I marveled at the way the buildings were designed and, of course, the roofs and gutter systems. I was intrigued by the design of the heating system and noted the obvious attention to fire protection concerns.
My work, it seems, is just part of being me. Not a bad thing, but maybe not so good when I am supposed to be “getting away from it all.” It’s a curse.