Monday, June 28, 2010
My 2nd printed story in the newspaper!
For many years, glass temples of miniature proportions have topped wedding cakes of LDS couples.
One former business that sold glass LDS temples and other miniature figurines closed its doors three years ago.
Long-time residents may remember the business Krystal Kreations, which was located in an Orem mall. People would gather round the counter, as glass sculptors would create tiny figurines on site.
However, the glass sculptor of the LDS temples worked behind the scenes. Her name is Marge Rosebrook. She has been creating these works of art locally for more than 30 years. She introduced her temple creations to the former owner of Krystal Kreations. They quickly became one of the most popular items on the shelves.
Rosebrook has produced more than 72,000 glass temples during her career, creating replicas of the 133 operating temples throughout the world. These miniature creations have created sentimental feelings for their owners.
“I recently had a husband contact me to have their temple repaired,” said business partner Sarah Asay. “When he picked it up, he took it out to his wife in the car and gingerly passed it to her through the window. She got out and gave him a huge hug.”
There are few glass temple sculptors. Rosebrook knows of only one other company selling this type of work.
Since the closure of the mall outlet, people have become frantic, looking for someone to either repair their temples or purchase additional pieces, Asay said.
“They have been on the Internet for hours, searching,” Asay said. “I have to explain to them ... the artist sold to that company, and if they had a temple made in the last 35 years, it was probably ours.”
When pieces are brought in for repair, Rosebrook is able to identify whether it is her work, because of her unique “stitch” work.
“A stitch is like crocheting with a solid rod of glass and torch,” Rosebrook said. “I later found out that the technical term for this is lampworking.”
During a local swap meet in 1964, Rosebrook became fascinated with a vendor making animal glass figurines and asked if he would teach her. After working for 12 years in the art department for NASA, her love of sculpting glass led to her working with this art medium full time once she moved to Utah.
Rosebrook began creating temple sculptures shortly after she joined the Church in 1979. With so few temples during the ’80s, she was able to perfect her techniques on the existing temples. But soon her expertise increased with President Gordon B. Hinckley’s announcement that many more temples would be built.
“People would call as soon as temples were announced,” Rosebrook said.
Rosebrook learned quickly she could not start designing the new temples until a foundation was poured and walls were up. The learning curve came about when the Mount Timpanogos Temple was announced. Using the renderings for the proposed temple, she designed a rectangular temple. The temple design was changed three times, finally settling on a square design — and she has three models to prove it.
In the design process, Rosebrook requires “birds-eye view renderings” or photographs of the roofline to make it as accurate as possible. She will create two to three glass structures before deciding the temple is correct and structurally sound.
While working with this art medium, Rosebrook has created some unique tools with different applications. To create eyes on animal figurines she has even modified spoons.
“I was visiting a Chinese restaurant one day and noticed these long tongs,” Rosebrook said. “They were perfect.”
The more popular form of glass sculpting, or lampwork, is in the work of lampwork beads. This art form has been in existence since 550 B.C. in China, later moving to Egypt in the 1400s and then throughout Europe. Most notably are Venetian lampwork beads, commonly known as Murano glass. Lampwork beads are considered unique, with artists guarding the secrecy surrounding their glass formulations and techniques.
Glass temples have become unique to the LDS population.
“I’ll train anyone,” Rosebrook said. “An Idaho woman was interested in learning, but she had six children. It would be hard to work with interruptions. Once you start, you can’t stop when creating a piece.”
Information can be found about Rosebrook’s work at TemplesAroundTheWorld.com. A gallery of frequently ordered temples are available on this website.
“I had a customer come in the dark of the night, wanting a temple to be fixed in the next 30 minutes,” Asay said. “The woman was frantic and told me, ‘I just broke my daughter’s temple. She is coming home in two hours, and she can’t know about it!’ ”