The man’s voice was husky on the telephone:
“Williams & Byrne? The Williams & Byrne? I need your help! Now! Pronto!”
I opened my top drawer and reached deftly for my badger. During these days of extra-curricula financial mayhem, it doesn’t do to venture far without one.
“Ease up, Mac!” I coughed back (it’s amazing how brave you feel with the right brush in your hand). “What’s the crack?”
“The crack? THE crack? Are you kidding me? This stained glass panel’s got more cracks than your badger’s got hairs. This is a case of D.O.A. – Dead On Arrival – that’s why I’m ringing you.”
“Cool it, Mac,” I snorted, “Here at Williams & Byrne we’ve repaired enough Messiahs to make ol’ Davie Hume re-think his line on miracles. I tell you: we don’t scare easily!”
“That’s what I’m counting on. Now do exactly as I say – there’s no room for artistic license here.”
“Lay it on me, Mac, but keep things polite! You’ve really got my paint flowing now. Believe you me, we’re up for anything that would make the other studios tremble!”
“Fancy words alright – I bet you guys don’t even wear a face-mask when you work! But let’s see what you’re really made of. Ready, punk?”
My nerves were so shredded, I could have won a stippling race – not something that I’m proud of.
Meanwhile, the man’s voiced growled remorselessly on:
“So what are you waiting for? Open the door! No wait … Remember that scene in “7” with Brad Pitt in the desert and he opens a cardboard box? Well, this is worse … much worse! NOW open the door … And don’t say you wasn’t warned!”
Badger in hand, I strode purposefully to the studio door and pushed it open.
There on the mat lay something that took my breath away.
It was stained glass – but not as I knew it.
In our line of work, you get to see some really nasty accidents, but this really took the shine off my solder.
I returned to the phone a chastened man:
“Jeepers, Mac! Who did this?”
“Never you mind! Can you fix it?”
“What … what is it?”
“That’s for me to know and you to find out. Just put all the pieces back together then do me a perfect copy: a perfect one, mind. Get the idea?”
“Sure thing! But you’ll need some art-work first: I’ll tell David – it’s right up his street – there’s nothing he can’t paint. It won’t be cheap but you want the job done properly. Right?”
And so it was that I used a magnifying glass and surgical tweezers to assemble the broken bits and David used his paints to prepare a beautiful water-coloured reconstruction of the original stained glass crest:
Two Important Considerations
1. Makers – when you’ve acquired the knowledge and skill to do something well, then this should the reason the buyer contacts you. On that assumption, it’s essential to insist on using your knowledge and skill. Without compromise. Even if the work appears to take longer than the buyer expected: you’re the expert here. This is how you look after your buyers and put their interests first.
2. Buyers – when you want a particular level of knowledge and skill, this will always come at a particular price. The level you require is up to you to judge. Each day we all make choices like this: fast food or a specially prepared meal? a throw-away biro or a Mont Blanc fountain pen? off-the-peg clothes or a tailor-made suit? And the right makers, when you’ve found them, will not exploit you but will do the finest work that you require.
And our mysterious client understood all this to perfection.
Download your own copy here: