About Us

The “Us” are a group of talented but discarded people from industry and service to our country. Discarded as in “right sized” during the late 1990’s when the rage was to manufacture offshore of this country, but allow other countries to buy their way into this country. Others came out of 20+ years of military service and in need to start a civilian profession. We grouped together, cobbling equipment and expertise under one roof, but with our own American designed and manufactured projects.

I launched my products in the Prairie design, (how could I have picked a different design?),  having lived in the Oak Park, Illinois area in my formative years and going to the Unitarian church there. As an adult, I found Madison, Spring Green and other areas of Wisconsin to my liking.  It took years to realize that this feel-good, pleasant design was not a mainstay of American life and although it was intended for the masses, it never took off through out the land.  There are some reasons for that, mainly the exclusiveness of its creator, who I will not spell out his name as it is a registered trademark and highly protected by a cadre of lawyers lurking in the shadows. 

Prairie design is found in expensive 100-year-old houses, but not in small sized common objects, despite its obvious appeal.   It is an American design vs non-American designs; it stands alone, unique and beautiful in my everyday pieces.  We can’t all have a Prairie house (I suppose we could, but it just isn’t going to happen), but we can have pleasure seeing Prairie in the artful repose of our choosing.

Business Philosophy

This small entrepreneur is
creating a business on-line.
But with retro methods.
An explanation:

The current method of on-line purchases is to provide your credit card number with its three-digit security code to a business entity who often does not provide a business address or phone number. The complexity of the current transaction hides identities or adds players to the mix, which changes the pre-1990’s way of doing business.  Many merchants don’t even know the names of the companies that produced the product they sell, which may have been made in some far off land, let alone know the quality control conditions for sensitive products. Credit card companies charge interest rates as high as 30% to cover the losses they incur thru fraudulent card use.

In the pre-1990’s years, transactions occurred under conditions of trust.   We trusted that the transaction could be done by phone, U.S. Postal Service and paying by check.  There was no data collection in the big brother way of our current era.  Parties to the transaction could call, ask and answer questions.  We knew addresses, phones and the names of people behind the business; we could drive over (and often did) to see them if it pleased us.  We could thereby make character and quality judgements. 

That is what is lacking in today’s internet way of doing business, and I miss it. I’m offering a different way of doing business, call it what you will, but it could be called a “Personal Touch”.

Trust, confidence and stability are important in a business transaction. These business concepts have been ingrained in me over the course my 70+ years of life, from the union print shop in Chicago my family owned and ran since 1912, to my former career as a banker, managing a 100 person company and creating its large real estate portfolio.

I had the trust of people throughout these years, as I had trust in them. My company, Filas-Mortensen, Inc. was incorporated over 25 years ago and Artcraft Lights is my labor of love in that company.

Thanks, I hope you connect if you like my hand made products.

Clyde L. Filas-Mortensen

P.S. — send a text if I miss your call.


From Our Customers

I am impressed by the craftmanship and design that Clyde Filas-Mortensen puts into the urns he’s made, along with his other woodwork and projects. My mother had recently died, and I was planning to spread her ashes in some of her favorite places.  Up to that point, I had never seen any urns I liked, so I wasn’t thinking about retaining some ashes for her memorial.  That changed when I saw the Artcraft Lights urns on display during Madison’s 2023 Hill Farms Neighborhood Art Walk.  I mistook them for lanterns due to the soft LED lights and beautiful design.  After learning they could be used as urns, it made the idea of keeping my mother’s ashes a pleasing possibility, as a memorial to my mother and as an art display in my living room.

Tony Miller
Madison, Wisconsin