Street Tiles, Hammocks, Glass Doors

Host Jill Wagner travels the country on a quest to find talented craftsmen who still make incredible items by hand. In New Orleans, Mark Derby and his wife Ann Marie show Jill how they reproduce the historic tiles that adorn the streets of the Big Easy. In Woodstock, Georgia, Jill learns how Tony Kramer redefines “roughing it” with his innovative hammock tents that actually make camping comfortable. Finally, in Las Vegas, Jill meets Tony Milici, a glass artisan who chips away at layers of glass to make doors that add a touch of Vegas sparkle to any entry.


Mark & Ann Marie Derby – Derby Pottery & Tile

New Orleans, LA  |  Street Tiles  |  Website

Artisan tile maker and Master Potter, Mark Derby holds fine arts degrees, and has taught pottery at Tulane’s Newcomb College. Though he was well-suited for a career in fine arts, creating gallery-quality art, he shifted focus when he founded Derby Pottery & Tile 17 years ago, and the business took off.

The key to his success? He applied the same high-quality, handmade standards he used in the fine art world with creating objects of “everyday” art, functional art. He’s commissioned by businesses, as well as, private individuals to create everything from floor tiles and backsplashes, to fireplace embellishments and, the now iconic, New Orleans street tiles. In 2011, Mark, and his dedicated staff of artisans, handmade 3,000 of the blue and white tiles that are now installed along Magazine Street.

All the work done at Derby Pottery & Tile is created on site—from the plaster molds to the proprietary glaze that coats the tiles, every step of the process, the mixing, application, firing is done by hand.  

Because Mark operates his business as an artisan studio, he is able to work with clients on commissions and respond to special requests personally.

Tony Kramer – PAK-IT-LITE, LLC

Woodstock, GA  |  Hammocks  |  Website

Tony Kramer is an avid backpacker and sea kayaker, logging many miles on the trail and many nights under the stars over the past 30 years. He knows what it’s like to love camping outdoors, but having to endure sleeping on hard ground when your back aches and arthritic joints throb.

After just 10 years of backpacking the mountains of the southeast, he realized sleeping on the group was just too painful, so he started hammock camping. Though the first few hammocks he tried helped ease his pain, his back still ached. All he wanted was a good eight hours of sleep out on the trail. An artist, innovator and problem solver by nature, he took matters into his own hands— by making his own hammocks.

After three years of designing and engineering, he arrived at the perfect solution. Each detail on the hammocks he creates today have been tediously thought out, tested, re-worked and re-tested to create a comfy hammock bed that offers campers a full night’s deep and restful sleep.

Tony Milici – Milici Fine Art

Las Vegas, NV  |  Glass Doors  |  Website

“Glass is the perfect canvas for light; it increases the emotional and visual impact of my work,” says Tony Milici on his website, and indeed his exquisite glass doors interact with light in innovative ways, from elegant to playful.

As a child, Tony collected various pieces of glass and rocks. He was fascinated by how the sun reflected on the glass, how the rays complimented the glass.

Today, with over 20 years’ experience, he is world-renowned for his contemporary and abstract works of art that combine contrasting textures of polished, sculpted and faceted glass, resulting in a natural movement in form and dimension. He uses new and traditional techniques to create inspired architectural pieces, including his unique and impressive doors. Of his architectural work, he says, “By expanding the potential and application of glass, it becomes part of the architectural character around it. There is an inherent strength and elegance in glass that I am naturally drawn to.”

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