Private Project

Desert Glass: A Love Story

Desert Glass A Love Story, is a 26-minute video documenting twenty-five years of unique and original art glass images designed and created by Tom Irons and Jean Aspen two of Tucson’s finest self-employed glass artists. Also included is a quick glimpse of Tom’s early years and how he created a life of art on five untouched acres in the foothills of the Tucson Mountains.

Brian George Smith, Homer, Alaska's beloved editor extraordinaire, has delicately woven our voices with images of our work, our home, our family, and our dreams. Conceived with the intention of showing today’s youth that it is possible to follow one’s heart, create beauty, and live an authentic life in today’s world; Desert Glass speaks to the artist in each of us and declares that art is not just something you do, it is a way of living everyday to the fullest.

  • Tom Irons
    Arctic Son Fulfilling the Dream
  • Tom Irons, Jean Aspen
    Arctic Son Fulfilling the Dream
  • Tom Irons
    Arctic Son Fulfilling the Dream
  • Tom Irons, Jean Aspen
    Key Cast
    Arctic Son Fulfilling the Dream
  • Brian G. Smith
    Arctic Son Fulfilling the Dream, Puffin Bay, The Care and Feeding of Jack
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    26 minutes 48 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 1, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Tom Irons

I was 35, a displaced Ohio farm boy and nine-year Navy veteran, when I met Jeanie. I’d left southern California and the aerospace industry to build a rustic home and studio in the Tucson Mountains. I’ve always enjoyed improvising, choosing creative exploration over security. As Aspen-Irons art glass studio, Jeanie and I designed and built large, architectural projects in leaded, stained, beveled and etched glass. For over two decades we lived in gentle simplicity on five acres where I built much of what we used.

In 1992 our family ventured into the arctic wilderness of northern Alaska where we built a log home, which we call Kernwood, and lived alone for more than fourteen months. When spring again freed the land, we embarked on a month-long canoe voyage back to civilization. Throughout our sojourn in this vast solitude we candidly recorded our lives. It took us 20 years of perseverance to produce our first documentary, Arctic Son: Fulfilling the Dream, which has aired on PBS and community television stations across America.

In 2005 we traded our Arizona glass art studio for a life on the road seeking a new life, a new place, a new beginning. Four years later found us settled permanently in Alaska where I dabble a bit in video production, marketing, and writing magazine articles.

Now officially retired I am creating documentaries with Jeanie, creating community, and playing in my wood shop. Yard work, gardening, and time at our beloved Kernwood fill my summer days to the brim.

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