“pro oculi dei solum”

photo 3aI was working on some window guards for client’s basement windows when a visitor came in the studio and started talking to me.

I was busily smoothing the back of the grate with a grinder when he asked me why I would spend time on the backside of something what would be in the basement anyway.

It just struck me as sad. Why would you not make the back look nice too?  Isn’t that part of doing your best?

I just kept working away…  he finally left the studio…

It reminded me of the workers who made the 12th century stained glass in the cathedral in York England.

The cathedral has the largest medieval stained glass in all of Europe. photo 1

While we were there, they were in the middle of a long restoration process.  Each piece of glass was being taken down, cleaned, releaded, and returned to its place.  The tour guide mentioned that the workers in the 12th century knew that they were working on something that, when in place, would be so far up in the air that it would never be seen by anyone.  And yet they still made the most beautiful art.

It was said they were working “pro oculi dei solum” which is Latin for “for God’s eyes only”.

photo 4

Now I don’t want to compare my grinding a piece of metal with a power tool to a medieval stained glass artist making glass from scratch in a wood fired kiln. But I too feel that there were times when doing it right has its own reward.


So I think I’ll keep working the way I am…

Just check the back of one of my pieces the next time you see it,

and let me know if I missed something.


What is that you do because it just needs to be done?

I’d love to hear about it.

use the form below,

or email me at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

shirt front s





  1. Nice post Steve!


  2. Well funny you mention this, this last Sunday, after telling my bride of your latest creation, the story behind it how you travel to the city of Pittsburg, I had to took my bride to your studio, the studio was closed but your gate keeper, some nice old Hispanic man allowed us in! Kathy got to see the doors and the intricacy of making a door be able to accept turn of the century handle with a 21st century dead bolt all in the same gate. As usual she was impressed and she even mention of seeing your piece at a place down in Wilmington. Steve, it is a pleasure to go to your study for us just to see what is on that table!
    God bless and have a great day.


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