Georgetown resident Jody Maas made quite a life-altering decision when he decided to leave the family business and turn to stone carving four years ago.
"It's the total life change kind of thing," Maas said about his change in career path.
Maas had been manager for 18 years for a large commercial laundry business called Osbaldeston Service Limited. Things were changing, so Maas thought he should make a change too.
"I thought I'd diversify into something where I would have more control over my future," Maas said.
Living in West Hamilton all his life, Maas moved to Georgetown almost a year ago and found that there was more of a demand for stone carving here.
Stone is very popular but the carver found that a lot of people were doing the same things, such as counter tops. Maas' creative energy led him into a different path, carving items such as water features, tea light holders, incense burners, to sandblasting signs, (such as welcome signs, number signs and even memorial stones).
"This is more of an artsy end of things," Mass said. "It has more personality".
Maas has set up shop in the barn behind his house and is in the process of creating the front entrance of his house to be a showroom.
He wants to show people that his work can be used as interior pieces, not just exterior.
Maas' wife, Catherine, is an osteopath who also works out of their home and she says that her clients love the running water features.
"The running water features are very therapeutic," she said.
She adds her clients realize that water features aren't just for outdoor use- that they can be used inside the home as well.
Maas has a very spiritual background which is very complementary to his wife's profession. He has always liked stone and stone circles and likes to lay stones out, like a meditation stone, in certain areas where energy enhances good feeling. His spirituality has played quite a role in his career choice.
"That's the driving force behind me with this," Maas said. "And I've had to diversify in the manufacturing end of things to keep things going."
Maas loves working with stone, and it's all natural stone he uses.
"Stone is more unique," Maas said, adding he doesn't know of many people who do the natural stonework that he does.
Maas' preferred stone is primarily granite, but he says many people like limestone because it tends to fit with what they already have.
Much of the enjoyment for Maas and his wife comes from searching for the perfect stone.
"Half the fun is going to find the stone," Maas said. "Drive around the country- there's lots of quarries around."
Maas gets much of his stone from Elliot Lake where his parents live, and says he also finds a lot of limestone in Wiarton.
One aspect of stone carving that Maas loves is the creativity and the interaction with people. Going through the whole stages with them, from their first interest, to the end result.
"It's more like the stone speaks to you, and tells you what you're going to do with it," Maas said. "It gets to where you can look at a stone and see something in it, and then you just raise that out of the stone."
Much of Maas' work involves finding the perfect stone. "I've spent days in quarries and at stone suppliers where there's a lot of stone and I can't find one, or maybe I'll find one or two stones that I will work with."
Maas's work is quite seasonal with spring being a busy time. He hopes to make it a year-round job with lots of different markets in mind. Some local nurseries are promoting him, and he's thinking about renting out his water features to professional buildings.
Maas's tools are also portable, which allows him to go on site to complete a job. He is also set up to polish stone.
Maas is looking to expand his business soon, putting more features on the side of his house, and he's considering completing bathroom sinks as well as a dining room tabletop.