Utah stained glass artist tributes Jesus Christ’s Easter week

Apr 9, 2023, 10:40 PM | Updated: Apr 10, 2023, 5:26 am

LEHI, Utah — Utah artist Tom Holdman has created thousands of stained glass windows for Latter-day Saint temples and church buildings and for public buildings throughout the world. His latest work, a tribute to Jesus Christ, will soon be on exhibit in Paris.

As he looks at a detailed drawing, he sees so much more.

“Where all of these people who did get that witness of who Christ was, they then like travel on,” he expresses.

Holdman’s visions for his art fill his mind constantly — he is either imagining his installations or working on the details of a specific piece, placing the cut glass and then soldering it into place. From his Holdman Studios at Thanksgiving Point come stunning stained glass windows and installations like “ Roots of Knowledge” at Utah Valley University.

Before seeing his latest work, he asked KSL’s Carole Mikita to wait outside the door. When she walked in, it left her speechless.

“People are going to have their breath taken away, and that’s the point, right?” Holdman answered, ” That’s the point, to speak without saying a word.”

The new piece titled “Believe in Him” is based on the one installed in the visitors center at the Rome Italy Temple.

But the new one, the miracles of Christ, is even larger. It includes Mary Magdalene at the tomb with Easter lilies beneath her and the Acts of the Apostles.

“And the vision of Peter of how the Gospel is spread to all the world,” Holdman explained, showing with his hands how he saw the marks of the nail in Jesus’s hand.

This team of artists gives great attention to the expressions on each face. The Apostle John’s furrowed brow, pondering his responsibilities, and the Savior’s mother Mary’s attentive look.

“With other characters like Mary… their expression is much more opened up, they’re letting the light of Christ in,” said Dallin Orr, one of the lead artists.

The one woman dressed in red represents the three women blessed by Jesus, the Samaritan woman at the well, the woman with the 12-year issue of blood, and the woman taken in adultery.

“They all had the same need, which is the same need that each of us have and that is to be made whole physically, emotionally, spiritually and he did that for all three of those women and continues to do that for all of us, if we ask for it,” explained Gayle Holdman, works alongside her husband and offers her own inspiration.

This window, after final touches, will be packed into crates and then shipped to Paris.

In June, Holdman will create a two-week exhibit in this 400-year-old building where Latter-day Saints hold their worship services, blocks away from both Notre Dame Cathedral and Saint Chapelle, both beloved for their stunning stained glass windows.

For Cameron Oscarson, it is a dream come true and an opportunity to bring a new style, a new light to this art form.

“It’s kind of overwhelming for me, as an artist. Just to say, I’ve got a piece in Rome and now, we’ve got an opening out in Paris, that’s exciting!” he expressed.

For Holdman, this is deeply humbling.

“When I was a young 21-year-old kid touring Europe, trying to study stained glass and standing in the Notre Dame Cathedral and looking around and thinking how glorious this is, could I even do something even close to that? But to have something like this only steps away is a moment,” he said.

In Paris, the city of lights, Holdman will add his own creation, representing the Savior, the light of the world.

This traveling exhibition will go to Latter-day Saint meetinghouses in different parts of the world over the next few years.

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Utah stained glass artist tributes Jesus Christ’s Easter week