Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tom Holland - Part 2

Here's a little more information about Tom Holland's presentation to the Toronto Bead Society this past Wednesday night.

Tom hails from Arkansas, where he lives with his wife Sage, who didn't make the trip to Toronto with him this time around but was well represented by her beads. They are both lampworkers, a.k.a. glass bead makers, as is Sage's son/Tom's stepson Beaux. If you want to see some beautiful beads as well as incredible sculptural glassworks, click here and prepare to be amazed:

Tom showed us three carousels full of slides of various types of beads through the ages and described the various techniques used to make the beads. It was quite the interesting history lesson. He showed us examples from exotic places like Northern Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Burma and ancient China as well as the more obvious and "newer" bead making locations like Italy and Japan. Some of the photos were of beads from their personal collection, some he has photographed in museum vaults (he visited the Royal Ontario Museum on the morning of his talk and had lots to tell us about some of the treasures in their possession), other people's collections and art galleries from all over the world.

The most interesting part of his talk, I found, was the fact that some of the techniques used by these ancient artists are a mystery to us today. Tom said he has spent time trying to duplicate some of the results and in some cases, he has figured it out and been able to copy a technique after many hours of working at it and in other cases, he still doesn't know how they did it.

Here's a picture of Tom with one of his slides on the earliest form of beads, made out of agates:

and this is a photo of one of Sage's beads that is now part of my personal collection:

I love the detail of the faces on this bead, how the two people are having a conversation on one side and smiling at each other on the reverse. The bead itself is about the size of a loonie.

Tom's philosophy is that "beads make real good company". I think most of us members of the Toronto Bead Society would agree with him!

1 comment:

TANK Jewelry and Beads said...

The talk was fantastic, the 3 day class he taught at TANK Jewelry & Beads was incredible... the students got so much out of it and Tom has just left us all humbled, and unbelievably inspired!

We look forward to the next time we run into Tom - hopefully with Sage!

They are working on their own beautiful teaching studio at their home in Arkansas and would be delighted to have some Canadians come down!

Jill and I would highly recommend Tom as a teacher he is so generous with his techniques and he's a great storyteller to boot!

Amy & Jill