In 1971, Michael Sowers taught himself how to throw clay in a high-school art class. The classroom had a functioning pottery wheel, but the instructor didn't know how to use it, so Michael began checking out instructional books from the library to support his fledgling interest.
Ever since, he's been molding masses of clay into plates and vessels, preserving their shapes with the heat of a 2,350-degree kiln. His work is as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing—subtly hued french butter dishes hold a quarter pound of butter in water, keeping it fresh for up to a month, and grater plates come equipped with a built-in shredder for garlic, ginger, parmesan cheese, or CIA documents. Sowers seals each piece with a lead-free glaze used by potters since the time of the Ming dynasty, ensuring that customers can safely send his pottery through a dishwasher or heat them in a microwave or oven.
Prague-born Filip Vogelpohl kindled his passion for glass blowing within his Boise home garage. As his knack for flame-working increased, Vogelpohl left the garage and traveled the world, honing his craft under the tutelage of internationally renowned glass blowers. Now, Vogelpohl welcomes fledgling glass blowers into his studio for small group classes. He also invites spectators to watch the studio's artists as they shape molten glass and borosilicate into jewelry or vases, which then go up for sale in the gallery. On the first Thursday of every month, the furnaces keep firing until 9 p.m. during free glass-blowing demonstrations as a part of the First Thursday Art Walk.
Synergy Fitness and Spa's attentive staff pampers the feet of client duos in side-by-side pedicures that leave pavement pounders buffed, moisturized, and artfully adorned with fresh coats of polish. The spa allows guests to bring their own bottles of wine from which to sip during the service, during which friends, couples, or rival cola-company executives sit back and relax for 45–60 minutes of feet-beautifying attention. Technicians spruce up nails and tidy cuticles before administering a sugar-scrub exfoliation and relaxing massage. After a moisturizing paraffin treatment, digit decorators then polish nails in the patrons' desired hues to match favorite colors or tie-dyed wedding gowns. Patrons receive these ministrations while perched on comfy, side-by-side European Touch thrones.
Like fancy suits, sofa sets are sewn from the same cut of fabric. These matching sets provide a well-rounded look in living rooms, but near misses tend to clash due to their small differences. At 20 show rooms throughout the western US, Mor Furniture for Less arranges complete-room sets so customers can envision the collections in their own homes. Furniture for living rooms, dining rooms, and children's rooms can be found in each store along with individual lamps, tables, and entertainment centers. The stores also carry complete sets of beds, dressers, and nightstands so that homeowners don’t receive criticism from design bloggers in their dreams.
A multiservice home-maintenance provider, Brilliant Services grew out of owner Kris Nevers's experiences with many one-dimensional service providers who had long lists of tasks they don't do. As a result, Brilliant Services' carefully screened employees and approved vendors perform nearly all major property-maintenance tasks from cleaning to remodeling and handyman work. The company is also a DBE-certified woman-owned business with a special emphasis on social responsibility and environmentally sustainable practices that include the use of green cleaning solutions and attachment of solar panels to the family minivan.
Since opening its first location in 1964, Westco Martinizing Dry Cleaning has blossomed to encompass 13 locally owned and operated stores. In addition to dry-cleaning soiled shirts, suits, and dresses, the experts launder bedding, restore wedding dresses, and alter outgrown ghost costumes. Using a combination of modern processing equipment and environmentally responsible practices, they leave articles perfectly pressed and starched, with a convenient pickup and delivery option.