Artisan Decor

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Jody Florman: Decorative Painting

Jody Florman says she’s been an artist since she was 5 years old, always working with her hands to create something beautiful. After majoring in art at the University of California, Santa Cruz, she moved to England to work as a costume designer for TV, film, and theatre. It was there her first husband showed her an ad for a decorative painting class. “Time stood still – I got chills,” Jody remembers. “I took the class, practiced for six months, and then went out and started painting.”

Jody’s repertoire today includes faux painting, stenciling, hand-painting, murals, and trompe l’oeil. For more than 20 years she’s been working on high-end homes all over the world, with a focus on the Southwest – she relocated to Camp Verde from Southern California less than three years ago. She works alone and has tackled everything from a powder room to an entire 15,000-sq.-ft. house. She says she’s seeing less call for faux painting, in which she uses brushes and rags to blend oil paints in four to seven different shades, and stenciling these days, but more for murals and hand-painting. “Hand-painting has a fluidity people like,” she says. “Typically I will hand-paint a border around a room or work on a ceiling. Tapestry designs are very popular right now.”

Jody prides herself on her versatility: Her two most recent murals were an underwater scene with mermaids and dolphins, and a nearly full-size ’60s peace bus. Even after more than two decades working at her art, Jody still finds she has tremedous enthusiasm for the house she’s working on at any given time. “I respond viscerally to people’s homes,” she explains. “I want your house to speak to you. It should be welcoming to everyone, but when you come home your house should be so much like you that every cell in your body relaxes.”

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Linda Garrison: Architectural Leaded Glass

Linda Garrison took her first copper foil glass class in 1980 when she was 18 and soon after began working for a glass company in Venice, Calif., with clients including Michael Jackson’s parents and Western author Louis L’Amour. For the next ten years, Linda learned the glass industry from the inside out; she worked for a beveling company, installed mirrors and windows, and cut heavy and patterned glass while creating stained glass on the side. In 1992 she hurt her back, prompting her to take night classes in graphic design – and the next step in her career.

“I met up with a friend in Laguna Beach and started working with him on architectural leaded glass,” she says. “I was learning how to design on the computer. That’s when things took off.”

In the early 1990s, Linda packed up and moved to Cornville after visiting a friend who lived in the area. “She took me to Sedona,” Linda remembers, “and I could see myself doing stained glass here.”

But it wasn’t smooth sailing at first. She took a job as a graphic artist and spent her free time pounding the pavement with her portfolio. After taking small jobs for five years she spent another two years traveling back and forth between Cornville and Laguna – two weeks in the Verde Valley, two weeks at the coast – before she finally got her big break in Arizona with a local architect. “The rest,” she says, “is history.”

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