Sunday, November 14, 2010

Art Forms

Yesterday we had an hour and a half worth of piano lessons in the morning before a casual piano recital at the teacher's house in the afternoon. In between the two, we did some housework and went over to Brandon's office to help him "decorate". He wanted some input on how to arrange his diplomas and certificates on the wall, as well as some of his Japanese mono (things). After sitting in a box for the last twelve and a half years, Brandon finally brought out his beloved temari, or Japanese thread ball.  It's an art form in Japan, and symbolic of friendship and loyalty when given as a gift. This one was given to him the summer we lived there together (with baby Kate) when he was a medical exchange student. After two months in Nagoya, we went up north for a week to the areas we had lived and worked as missionaries, and stayed with some of our old friends, including the woman who gave him this:

After the recital, we headed down to Thanksgiving Point to see a movie, but we had some extra time so we finally followed the "glass blowing - the hottest show in town" signs, and went over to the art institute that is part of Thanksgiving Point. What a treat! Brandon mentioned that he knew the guy who did stained glass there as well, and sure enough he was in house and happily volunteered to give us a little tour. 

His name is Tom Holdman, and he has a lot of really cool stories. How he got into stained glass being one of them: as a child he loved art, and since he had (still has) a pretty significant stutter, he was drawn to art as a way of communicating. He was planning on becoming a children's book illustrator, but at the end of his time as a missionary in Texas he prayed about what he should do when he got home for a profession. He said he got a very clear and unexpected impression that he should do stained glass. He had never even heard of, let alone considered, becoming a stained glass artisan for a profession, but wanting to follow what he felt was most certainly the will of God for him in his life, he dove right in as soon as he got home. Since that time, he's done work for libraries, churches, restaurants, and most notably the LDS temples. Having been impressed by the stained glass in the Nauvoo Temple every time I went there, it was pretty cool to meet the man behind the art form. He had some pretty amazing stories, and the work that he does is nothing short of breathtaking.  Here are some pics from our time with him and the art institute. (And they have classes!  Kate was salivating.)

Here he is showing Elizabeth how to cut glass:
Glass pieces:
Awards for the company, "Xango":

This is for a new airport in St. George, Utah:
Everything is sketched out first. That's Christ on the road to Emmaus:
I couldn't believe how much symbolism went into each piece. He explained how in one of his large pieces of Christ getting baptized he used three plants in the borders, myrrh for his birth, gall for his death, and lillies for his resurrection.
I can't even remember all the symbolic meanings in this piece that was going to be part of the border of a much larger work: 
He told us about a time he was commissioned to do a piece that had Joseph Smith in it, and he was having a hard time getting his face right. He said he had been praying for help, and the next day a religion professor from the University of Utah showed up at his house with a copy of Joseph Smith's death mask:
His brother is the glass blower, and the art institute is covered in the stuff:
You can sit here and watch them blow glass:
I just love all the swirly color:

Even though stained glass is his specialty, he blows glass too.  Check out this Christmas tree:

I thought this was a pretty cool light fixture . . .
 . . . until I saw a picture of THIS light fixture he was commissioned to make for a restaurant in Salt Lake:
The entry/exit.  The kids didn't last as long as we could have - they were getting nuts:
Another fun day at Thanksgiving Point!

1 comment:

  1. I have only been to Thanksgiving Point once and saw the gardens and ate at the restaurant there. I went out to take my daughter to BYUI and stopped off there on the way back to get a tour of the Xango HQ--used to be a distributor.


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