There is nothing Dan
Stott likes better than playing in the mud -- drywall mud,
that is. For more than 30 years, Dan has been hanging sheetrock
and taping and texturing the surfaces to make that process
a true work of art.
Dan’s advice about
caring for a plastered surface is simply, “Don’t
poke a hole in it.” Repairs are hard to
blend and that will cost some bucks.
show that we humans have been stuccoing and plastering
our walls for thousands of years. The earliest attempts
to create solid barriers between us and the outside world
soon became new surfaces on which we could express our
artistry. Generally, we used colors for decoration. Patterns
on the walls came later.
joint compound is usually a combination of water,
limestone, expanded perlite, ethylene-vinyl acetate
polymer and attapulgite.
Patterns are Dan’s
stock in trade.
Hanging sheetrock is the kind of job that takes a toll
on your body; the panels are heavy and unwieldy and most
drywall workers end up with back trouble. On the other
hand, at least you are inside out of the weather. And once
you have a wall of mudded and taped sheetrock, you have
a canvas awaiting your special texturing.
drywall panel is made of paper wrapped around an
inner core of gypsum plaster, the semi-hydrous form
of calcium sulphate. The plaster is mixed with fiber,
a foaming agent, various additives that increase
mildew and fire resistance, and water. The panel
is formed by sandwiching a core of wet gypsum between
2 sheets of heavy paper or fiberglass. When the core
is dry, the sandwich becomes strong and rigid.
Few people do that as well as Dan. He builds arches and
bullnoses corners and prepares his surface with all the
skill of an artist preparing a canvas. Then he gets to
the fun stuff: texturing.
If you’ve never done your own drywall, it sounds
easy enough. Hey, it’s just slapping mud around with
a trowel, right? Well, yes and no. Just as any person can
paint a picture, any person can texture drywall, but to
do it well takes years of practice to master a difficult
Dan is a master artist in mud. After hanging the sheetrock
and taping the seams, Dan sands the surface until it is
so smooth you can’t feel the seams. Then he mixes
the plaster, which is crucial to good texturing.
The first thing about
texturing is to not be uniform; freestyle patterning,
as in this “Alpine” pattern, is the
There are just about
as many texturing patterns as there are mud men. Dan has
created one he calls “Alpine” that
looks like a spray of pine needles or snow kicked up by
skis. Another is “Santa Fe” which is more subtle,
but just as beautiful. Some textures are splatters, others
are orange peel. Each texture gives a different feel to
the walls and ceilings, and Dan chooses which texture will
enhance the other design elements of the house.
The job is labor intensive
and physically difficult. Since most construction takes place
in warmer weather, Dan works more in the winter than the
summer, applying those finishing touches that can make a
whole house a work of art.
In the spring of 1993, Dan was working out of Salt Lake City,
mostly in places like Park City and Deer Valley, when he
was lured to Moab for a job. He must have drunk from Matrimony
Spring because that fall he moved his family down and settled
in. He works on high-end houses, and usually hires 2 or 3
employees for a specific job.
When you ask Dan what he does for fun, he has a hard time
thinking of anything he likes more than his job. He spends
some time on the golf links now and then, and following the
Moab norm of having at least two jobs, he and his wife, Karen,
also do catering. Their two sons, Travis, 19 — soon
to return to Utah State University as a sophomore offensive
lineman for the Aggies; Christopher, 16; and Aaron Smiley,
20, who became a member of the family as an adult, all work
in both businesses.
They started Dan and
Karen’s Catering in 1994. They
cater everything from small parties of 15 to groups of
350. Rather than specializing in one kind of cuisine, Dan
and Karen customize each menu to the particular customer.
Dan is a Past Exalted
Ruler, Trustee, and Chaplain for the Moab Elks Club. He is
very involved in the Elks service projects, and is concerned
that it’s hard to find enough people willing to give
Time is something Dan is aware of. In 2000, he was diagnosed
with nonseminomatous cancer (Lance Armstrong’s cancer)
and underwent chemotherapy. He is now cancer free, but says
that his focus is on making every minute count.
Dan loves his family and he loves his work and he loves the
place he has chosen to live. Dan Stott is a happy man, playing
in the mud.