This is just one of the many glass art panels that make up Holdman Studios’ ongoing Roots of Knowledge project.

An ongoing project at Utah Valley University seeks to provide “the most attention grabbing summary of the history of knowledge and the history of the world that has ever been created.” Glass is helping it achieve that goal.

Utah-based glass art studio Holdman Studios is currently working a painstaking project called the “Roots of Knowledge,” which includes 80 intricately designed and handcrafted art glass panels collectively measuring 9½ feet in height and 200 feet in length.

Holdman Studio's Tom Holdman and Cameron Oscarson work on the art glass project in their shop.
Holdman Studios’ Tom Holdman and Cameron Oscarson work on the glass art project in their shop.

The mural, which “artistically chronicles the human quest for intellectual advancement and progress through recorded history,” according to Holdman’s DawnRay Ammon, will be completed and installed in the school’s library at the end 2016, corresponding with UVU’s 75th anniversary.

Eight to 15 artists are working on the project at any given time, with the scope of the work including design, cutting, painting and building. Holdman also handles the installation of the windows.

“The windows have ¼-inch steel supports, molded to follow the design lines to support the weight of the glass, rather than a straight support piece,” says Ammon. The art glass is insulated with tempered glass on one side and tempered laminated glass on the other—supplied by Trulite.

“Because of the difficulty of the pieces,” says Ammon, “both and size and shape both cane and foil wrap method are being used on the glass.”

The window is a combination of many glass types including Uroboros, Youghiogheny, Kokomo Opalescent Glass, Oceana, Spectrum, Lamberts and Fremont. Paints being used on the window include Fuse Master and Reuche enamels.

Holdman has already installed the first panel of the mural at Utah Valley University.
Holdman has already installed the first column of the mural at Utah Valley University.

Holdman has already installed the first column of the mural, which is made of four panels measuring 85 by 27⅞ inches, 85 by 77⅛ inches (2) and 85 by 91⅛ inches.

The rest of the panels for the project are being produced and displayed at the studio over the next year and a half, as well as in a museum.

The middle section of the project contains 24 columns, each made of three panels that measure between 63 by 28¾ inches and 63 by 36 inches.

Heading the project is renowned stained glass artisan Tom Holdman, who works closely with Cameron Oscarson, head artist and project manager. Holdman Studios has been creating art glass windows since 1988, with projects ranging from commercial buildings to private residences, and religious institutions to public facilities. Holdman studios glass art is displayed in all 50 states, as well as numerous countries.

Filmmaker Lee Groberg is producing a PBS documentary focusing on individual locations and topics referenced in the Roots of Knowledge artworks, and educational tools the project include an interactive smartphone app and UVA coursework.

The project is being funded by private donations. For more information, visit http://rootsofknowledge.org/