Monday, April 20, 2009

Grandma's most beautiful items

My Grandma is wonderful about keeping herself busy. She works very hard and always has tasks planned, even throughout the gloomy winter months. Last week was as gloomy and wintry as ever, so she asked me to me to help her with a task she has been thinking about for awhile, documenting her most beautiful possessions. My job in all of this was to take photos of many of her items so she could reference the photos in the typed documents. I took dozens of photos, but here are some of my favorite items with their story:

My Grandpa was an incredible artist. Many of the most prized positions of my Grandma’s are original pieces of his. The painting in the middle is one such example. My Grandpa loved oil painting outdoor scenes from his most loved locations. This painting, the last painting my grandpa did in his lifetime, is of Zion Canyon. My Grandma said he worked on this painting for months. He would adjust, scrape off paint, and rework for ages. Finally he was happy, and here is the end result. The carved woman on the table playing a horn was a present from my Grandpa to my Grandma when she graduated college. And the silver lamp is an antique kerosene lamp that my Great Grandma had converted into an electric lamp years ago. The funny old-fashioned shade works perfectly with such an old lamp. The vase, carved wood box, and antique table also have stories, as does everything in the house.
This panel of tiles hangs in the entryway of my Grandma’s house. In all honestly, there are so many lovely things to look at in her home, I’ve never paid much attention to this piece. As we were taking photos of everything my Grandma asked if I knew the story behind these tiles. She said that when my Grandpa was about 35 he was working downtown in a florist shop on South Temple. During that time many of the historic mansions were being torn down making room for more modern buildings. It just killed my Grandpa to watch this, since the treasures inside were being broken and thrown away. So, one night, after all the workers had left, my Grandpa and his dad (my Great Grandpa) sneaked into one of these mansions and took the tiles off of the edging of the fireplace. Many of the tiles were already broken and destroyed, but they took what they could and sneaked back out. These are those tiles. This type of behavior was not a lone incident, there are many things my family enjoys that were taken from homes that were being demolished, this is just one very telling example. In addition to painting, etching and watercolor, my Grandpa also loved stained glass. There are five original pieces throughout the house that my Grandpa created. Each one is huge, taking up an entire window and spreading colored light everywhere. This one hangs in the bedroom, and, like his painting above, was his last piece he did before he died. The design was of his own vision, and each piece of glass and each strip of lead was placed by him, he had no help. It is a little hard to see in this photograph, but the entire piece is edged in gold glass. After my Grandpa died my Grandma decided to paint the bedroom in the same warm gold, giving the feeling of warmth and summer. It is lovely.

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