COURTESY OF JANET GIVEN
Stained Glass Quilt
Marty and John Holder created the Stained Glass Quilt for the 2005 class at Missouri State University at Springfield. Each panel depicts a significant event in each of the decades of the university’s existence. The quilt measures about five-and-one-half feet by seven-and-one-half feet, weighs approximately 150 pounds, and is made up of about twelve hundred individual pieces of glass.
Three kilns, fresh eyes, and a ten-year partnership have been the keys to success for John and Marty Holder and their Mountain Willow Studio where they make stained glass. “I can look at her work with fresh eyes, and she can do the same with me,” John says. “We’re a good team.”
John and Marty started the Springfield-based Mountain Willow Studio in 1998 after they took a basic stained-glass class and fell in love with the multicolored designs. “It just felt right,” John says.
Starting the business wasn’t a stretch for either: John had a background in photography and graphic design, and Marty had a background in photography, graphic design, painting, and mosaics.
Today, the Holders start the process of making stained glass with a thumbnail sketch that is eventually scaled out. They then choose appropriate colors and textures, cut out the shapes based on a master pattern, and lay out, cut, and grind the glass to match the pattern pieces. The glass can be wrapped with copper foil and soldered or be done as a lead came panel. Lead came is a slender, grooved bar that holds the pieces of stained glass together.
The Holders’ designs can be found in galleries or private collections. “We try to make art for anybody,” John says. Perhaps their biggest stained-glass achievement is the 12-panel, 1200 piece Stained Glass Quilt they made for the 2004-2005 graduating class at Missouri State University. The “quilt” depicted one 100 years of the university.
Although both John and Marty make fused-glass pieces and mosaic tables along with their stained-glass panels, this collaborating couple has contrasting interests when it comes to design: John enjoys making geometric designs with a broad color palette, while Marty enjoys organic designs, such as trees, and making glass-oriented jewelry.
However, their contrasting styles and interests do not get in the way of their desire to help each other. Besides critiquing each other’s work, Marty says, John helps build frames and display stands for her designs. “I wouldn’t want to do this without him,” Marty says. “We work well together.”
This successful collaboration has led the Holders to becoming members of The Best of Missouri Hands and to believing their ultimate professional goal is within their grasp. “It’s our aspiration to turn our hobby into our vocation,” John says.
Visit www.bestofmissourihands.com/mountainwillowstudio.htm or call 417-862-4270 for more information.