Stoneworker Builds With Artist's Eye

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Artistry in Flagstone came to Payson in November. It was a return trip for owner Michael McClain. He lived and worked in the Rim Country in the 1980s, moving away in 1990. While here in the ‘80s he did some of the newer stonework at The Oxbow.

With Artistry in Flagstone, McClain builds custom-crafted flagstone creations. Because each customer's wants are unique to their tastes and needs, he handpicks each piece of flagstone to complement the surroundings in which it will be placed.

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Mike McClain turned his love of carving stone into a business, Artistry in Flagstone. He does fireplaces, patios, indoor and outdoor barbecues, courtyards and columns, planters, benches, tables and stacked-stone applications. He remodeled this fireplace in a home on McLane Road.

His barbecues are built to accommodate the customer's grill, including freestanding or inset, charcoal, electric, propane or natural gas.

McClain has more than 26 years experience in concrete and stonework.

"I have a firm belief in keeping my business small in order to work directly with the homeowner to ensure that they are pleased with the work that I am providing them," he said.

Two friends currently assist McClain in his work.

"I see myself as an artist at work, and I pride myself in my quality workmanship and reasonable rates," McClain said.

He has a background in construction, with years spent working for Amusement Construction and American Mini-Golf. He said, waterfalls are his favorite structure to build. And a waterfall is the biggest job he has done -- a 68-foot waterfall for the Cattle Baron Restaurant in Ruidoso, N.M.

Flagstone benches and tables are some of his most recent work.

Examples of this work can be seen at Eagle Mountain Gifts and elsewhere.

"Doing rock work is like a high," he said. "There is no better feeling than doing a job for someone and knowing they really appreciate it."

To remodel a fireplace, as he did in the house on McLane, takes about five days. To build a fireplace from the ground up takes about two weeks, he said.

"I love doing what I do and I look forward to pleasing my customers," McClain said.

For more information, call (602) 390-3462. McClain will do free estimates and provide references upon request.

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