Waterford Artist Visits Nielsens

IRISH SIGNING: Irish artist James Haynes, a Waterford expert, signs and dated gifts while visiting Nielsens Exclusive Gifts recently. Looking on are Faye Nielsen Bartlett, left, and Andrea Nielsen Bartlett.

GTR Newspapers photo

Nielsens Exclusive Gifts, located in the Plaza at 81st Street and Lewis Avenue in Tulsa, recently hosted Irish artist James Hayes, an expert in the fine art of Waterford. He signed and dated Waterford gifts while visiting Nielsens, much to the delight of the customers. Hayes began working with his hands as a young boy. In 1970 the young man began an apprenticeship with Waterford Crystal to put his talent to work. In 1973 he earned the coveted title of Master Cutter. He is responsible for cutting the now famous wedge, star, and difficult curve cuts that give Waterford its sparkle. He also teaches young apprentices the fine art of crystal cutting. Besides the art of Waterford, Hayes enjoys golf, athletics, and drama.

Accompanying the Irland-native was the very knowledgeable Waterford representative, Chuck Hitt. Both were at Nielsens to educate the public about Waterford and answered questions.

Waterford is now a common name in beautiful crystal. However, in the 1960s it was unavailable in Oklahoma. Fortunately, in 1965, when Art and Dorothy Nielsen and their little girl, Andrea, were at the market planning an Irish Belleek event for their store, Mr. Nielsen noticed a sparkling crystal pitcher on a bottom shelf at the back of the showroom. He responded, “What is that?” He was told, “Oh…that is another Irish handmade product called Waterford.” Mr. Nielsen continued, “I have customers who would appreciate that. Please bring in more Waterford and I will buy it for Nielsens!” And that was the beginning of Waterford in Oklahoma.

When Waterford came to Oklahoma, Mrs. Dorothy Nielsen, co-founder of Nielsens, who was a teacher and speech therapist by trade, went on an “educational tour” to many clubs in Tulsa who wanted to learn about the Irish that art of mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal. She told how Waterford was still hand crafted in the same way it was made in its beginning in 1782.

The Nielsens have carried on the Waterford tradition at their store. For excellent information, visit the web site at www.nielsensgifts.com, or call 298-9700.

Updated 11-24-2004

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