An Interview with Hannah Holder

DSC_0020Hannah Holder is a wonderful lady to know in Knoxville. If you can find a slot in her schedule, she’ll bring beauty into your life. She seems to leave a breadcrumb trail of excellent work wherever she goes, whether it’s a fanciful pastel square at Hutchmoot or an impromptu snow sculpture in a local park. Her main gig, however, is putting pens, pencils, paintbrushes, and other alliterative utensils on paper. We’re excited and grateful that she sat down to answer a few of our questions, and we’re delighted to introduce you to her work!

FH: How did you first know that visual art was what you wanted to do?

Pencil etching

Bleak House; Hannah Holder ©2002

HH: I liked to draw and color as far back as I can remember.  I don’t remember when I might have first stated that I wanted to become an artist.  I know I thought about teaching (my dad was a 3rd grade teacher, and I did end up doing that my first year out of college), and I considered architecture (still one of my favorite subjects to draw or watercolor) before I settled on art.  I was definitely looking for schools with art programs when I started applying for college and ended up majoring in fine art at Wheaton.  I don’t know that I’m the typical “artist type,” since my personality is more the analytical, precise, reserved end of the spectrum than the artist stereotype; but it’s the details, the colors, the paper textures, the balance of pattern or the illusion of reality that draw me toward making art, generally, and the curves of the strokes, the colors, the attention to layout, and maybe the incorporation of illustration or embellishment that draw me to calligraphy.

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A Scatter of Song

lakeA 19th-century chapel sits atop a hill above Lake Geneva, its octagonal walls bracing a sanctum of quietude against Wisconsin gales. Strings of lights stretch in a broad constellation above the heads of the worshipers, bulbs dangling like galaxies on a string. In the midst of empty space, each tiny, self-contained glimmer connects to all the others by a hidden current.

Among other things, the chapel and its surrounding camp have been the site of an annual gathering of musicians and listeners called Escape to the Lake. This conference has been my family vacation for two years now. My wife and I pack our growing brood of small children into the van—Fiver is its name, after the character from Watership Down—and venture the northward miles toward Chicago and beyond. With four kids, people look at us as though we are insane. This is because we are.

If there is a theme of the gathering, it is the interweaving of beauty and truth. That alone makes it difficult to categorize. Strange and wonderful things happen in such a place. The most peculiar part of the week for me was a passing comment—almost an afterthought.

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A Glimmer in the Road

roadFoundling House is pleased to welcome the excellent and wonderful Nathan Sharp to our list of contributors! We’re glad to have him here.

When I last looked it up a few years ago, 117,000-some-odd miles of road wound their way across the state of Georgia, including county and state roads, city streets, and interstate highways. I imagine the number remains about the same today, give or take a few miles for the roads that are paved each year for increase of use and those that are let go to seed for the lack.

As an in-home therapist, I spend a great deal of my time driving, often on a particular stretch of U.S. 27 from Chickamauga to Trion, Summerville, and Menlo. Chickamauga lies south of Chattanooga, giving its name to a Civil War battlefield and park. Trion, Summerville, and Menlo are further south still, and are primarily groupings of carpet and textile mills. The road is couched between ridges and valleys for the better part of its length and has only a few curves to speak of, leaving a driver’s mind and wheels to wander. Pines and cedars populate the medians and shoulders, along with much of the visible land on either side of the highway. Sometimes, I take the alternate route from Ringgold to Summerville down State Highway 151, a two-lane road which nearly parallels U.S. 27 but passes exponentially more cattle.

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Films for Lent

calvary-ocean-rocksLent sounds a little morbid. It’s a time of obsessing over our sinfulness while reflecting on our death—forty dark days of self-denial. In an age of self-indulgence, I would expect Lent to fade into the background, but it hasn’t. Lenten reflection and disciplines seem to be growing. Each year, Facebook, Twitter, and Google track the various Lenten fasts. Even many non-religious people have gotten into the habit of giving up something for Lent.

Watching movies is one way I practice the Lenten journey. It might seem contradictory to combine entertainment with penitence. While we often think of films as amusing, though, we can also think through films as a way to hear the voice of the muse.

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