Some dads teach their kids how to throw a ball or fix a car. But for Greg, it was the lapidary arts—his dad showed him how to tumble, polish, and cut stones, and soon he was applying his newfound skills to making his own jewelry. Eventually, he decided to make his passion his profession, opening Buena Vista Art in Grafton along with his wife, Janey, who manages all the business so Greg can focus on what he does best.
So what got me into it? I don’t know—it’s like if you ask a singer why they sing: it’s just what they’ve always done.
Buena Vista's origins are in Greg's jewelry making, but the artist's output has expanded to include all sorts of pieces in Greg's signature style. One of his most popular products is his unique spin on lamps—whether for a table, floor, or wall, every lighting fixture has some one-of-a-kind spin to it, incorporating antique items and copper foldforming so that the same design is never made twice.
Greg has always been fascinated by the Victorian era, a fixation that's clear in the way seems to exist in another time. Call it steampunk, cyberpunk, or simply "industrial"—every piece has its own timeless appeal, which is convenient since the high-quality materials used means that every piece is made to last for centuries.
I’ve developed this style all myself and I don’t think anyone else is even doing anything even close.
Today, people travel from all over to visit Buena Vista and get their hands on Greg's one-of-a-kind art, which isn't available anywhere other than the Grafton store. When people walk into the shop, according to Janey, they wonder how many people it takes to make all these unique pieces. But there’s no "people"—just one person. Just Greg.
Other than the products Greg makes, Buena Vista also stocks pottery from a local potter as well as soaps and scrubs made by their daughter. It appears art runs in the family. Greg and Janey are committed to supporting the local community; and since the store opened, they've stuck to one slogan: “Crafted in Grafton.” They might also be proud to call it "Illinois Made."
Find more Illinois artisans at Illinois Made.
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