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Artists lend hand in restoration

Patty and Jerry Dicker commissioned three local artists to create pieces for the historic Comstock-Shadle house, a 1910 home they began restoring three years ago.

Each of the artists took new approaches to the dazzling rose-themed pieces in glass and metals, their respective media.

Front and center are hundreds of pink roses painted and etched on glass panels on a pair of windows and the front door, visible from the South Hill street on which the Dickers live.

Sherry Boyd-Yost, an accomplished glass artist, labored full time for nearly two and a half years, staining, firing and sandblasting roses into the oversized pieces of glass.

Her studio is in a barn alongside her Deep Creek Canyon home close to Airway Heights.

“It’s lucky I live out in the woods where no one bothers me,” Boyd-Yost jokes.

Formally referred to as a vitreous glass painter and blast-carve artist, she employs 8th century techniques still visible in European cathedrals.

The glass was fired 217 times in a kiln specially built to accommodate large panels.

Now installed, the glass art transforms the home’s foyer into a summer garden.

As spectacular as they are, few patrons will invest in pieces that take so long to create and are so expensive, says Boyd-Yost. Some of the pigments alone run $60 to $70 an ounce.

“I loved doing it. It was so much fun. But it was so heavy and so intense, it took a lot away from life. Fortunately, my kids and my husband are very understanding,” she adds.

Susan Kim landed the intricate job of piecing the glass pieces together with lead.

Alex Robinson, a self-taught metalsmith, lent his expertise in several places. Most apparent are the four realistic-looking rose blossoms, petals perfectly formed, that grace the fireplace screen.

“I mean look at those roses. They’re metal. He’s not making them out of papier mâché or Kleenex,” Patty Dicker said with a smile.

Robinson made each rose to be slightly different.

“I don’t want anything carbon-copylike because you wouldn’t see that in nature,” he explained.

He also crafted reproduction light fixtures, front porch railings and other accents.

“I wanted the work to look like it’s been there since 1910. I wanted it to fit into the surroundings instead of looking like a mail-order piece,” the Spokane blacksmith says.

A former machinist, Robinson and his assistant, Doug Shields, worked together on the Comstock-Shadle home after having restored some of the Fox Theaters fixtures.

“I love working for people who are willing to put the time into bringing (historical buildings) back to life. I could be happy for life doing that type of work.”