Jordan is home to some incredible artistic talent. And Mara at 225 Water Street has got to be one of our greatest treasures. She is a photographer, graphic artist, and mosaic tile artist and author (and more…). I first sought her out when she moved to Jordan because of her graphic artist abilities – to turn my historic Downtown Jordan walking tour into something beautiful (and she did!). But we became friends over tile. She even saved me when I took on the ridiculously naive first-tile-project fireplace. After I was done with the fireplace, I took my first tile class from Mara, so I’d know what I was suppose to be doing. So now when I (or someone else in my house) breaks a beloved heirloom (or a discontinued china plate), I think of it as a tiling opportunity rather than as a moment to scream. Secretly, I have a few pieces I hope will fall into a million pieces and move on to a new life.
So when one of my past-favorite doll statues didn’t sell at the garage sale, I drove around with her in my car after saving her from the after-the-garage-sale-Goodwill-drop-off. And she broke. So she stayed in my car until I brought her to Mara’s, to add to her private cabinet of cast-offs waiting for a new life.
She wasn’t named Matilda then. On one of my Saturdays when I walk around downtown Jordan to catch up with the locals, I made my usual stop at Mara’s. And she had just finished gluing the most beautiful mirror I had ever seen. Full of birds and flowers and little china dishes. I loved the birds, they reminded me of my Grandma’s porcelian bird collection (I think I still have a few I inherited packed away somewhere). And the flowers were like my favorite Capodimonte flower candlesticks I received from a friend in California. I was mesmorized, captivated. And as I looked around the mirror I found her, my broken porcelian doll. Mara hadn’t remembered where she came from, but had named her Matilda. My Matilda!
Mara’s store and studio is an amazing place. A respite. An inspiration. And she is an amazing talent and an amazing person. Someone you’ll surely want to meet, someplace you’ll surely want to visit, when you come to Jordan.