BOUNTIFUL -- Every evening as the sun dips below the horizon, the handiwork of 83-year-old Blaine Bowden brings light to the gardens and flower beds of many homes throughout Utah.
From his small basement workshop, Bowden takes rolls of copper sheeting and turns them into unique outdoor lighting fixtures, creative grasshoppers, and beautiful bird feeders.
Bowden, in conjunction with his friend Jeff Beal, has installed outdoor lighting to more than 50 homes from St. George to Logan. Beal owns NightScapes, a Bountiful company that specializes in installing and designing landscape lighting.
Bowden began his craftsmanship with copper in the early 1990s when he retired from the retail industry. He spent most of his career working for Makoff's in Salt Lake City, a store that specialized in women's high-fashion apparel. He began working there as a salesman in 1948, and worked his way up through management to eventually become the women's shoe buyer.
In his free time, Bowden said, he has always enjoyed working in the garden.
He says that his specialty throughout the years has been the tuberous begonia, as evidenced by his readily shared photo album of flowers.
His copper lighting is a result of his love for horticulture. Each fixture is a source of light to feature a specific area of a garden.
Bowden's own yard has copper lighting fixtures to accentuate flower beds, walkways, and even hanging flower pots.
"(The lights) mark a path, a spot, a turn in the yard," said Bowden.
Before he began his hobby with copper, Bowden said he would see outdoor lighting fixtures at local stores and was shocked at their high cost. He eventually found a fixture he thought he could duplicate, and that's where he began.
In the ensuing years his creativity has expanded to include several original designs, including a garden lily fixture that is coated with a distinctive green patina.
Several of his designs call for this striking finish, which Bowden buys from a friend of his in the metal business.
The formula to the patina is top secret and quite expensive, said Bowden.
Bowden said his most popular fixture is what he calls "the twinkler."
It is a copper cylinder about 8 inches long with small holes drilled through it. The cylinder hangs from either its wiring source or a copper hook, and can be installed just about anywhere in a garden.
A light bulb installed within the cylinder creates spots of light that generate a mesmerizing effect, said Bowden. The fixtures often move in a light breeze, and shed a distinctive pattern across a garden.
His twinklers have been installed under pergolas, along garden pathways, and even high up in oak trees.
Beal, who has worked with Bowden for approximately 10 years, said he originally proposed the partnership because he had seen the custom fixtures around the neighborhood and loved them.
"He is the best craftsman around," said Beal. "It's almost never good enough for him. He won't settle for anything but perfection. He has a great attention to detail."
Beal described how his customers love to have Bowden around because of his personality. Bowden knows the scientific names of all the plants, flowers and trees in their yards, he said.
"He is a rare breed, a fine gentleman, and a great friend," said Beal.
Because of the unique lighting techniques that Bowden uses, he claims that they are inexpensive to operate.
"You can burn hundreds of these (lights) for pennies," he said.
For more information, or to purchase Bowden's work, you can contact him at 801-295-6016.