By RENEE FITE
Art is creative expression, ranging from cake designing to finger paints, or taking scraps of wood or fabric to create a toy or quilt.
Like most people in touch with their creative souls, Mindy Hendrix has enjoyed a long journey. She’s gone from crayons to the next interest, which is now stained glass. It’s been a journey not just of artistic medium, but of self.
One of her favorite quotes is by Rudolph Steiner: “What is vital does not lie in one truth but in the harmony of all truths combined.”
“In relating this to art, I would say, what is vital does not lie in one form of expression, but in the harmony of all the expressions or languages combined,” Hendrix said. “My hope is that everyone finds [his or her] own expression or language, and we as a whole can have reverence toward our unique differences without judgment.”
Hendrix doesn’t think art can be separated from anything else.
“It’s part of life. Everyone is an artist in some shape or form. Some people just don’t realize it,” she said.
Most all art forms take time, practice and a bit of talent to hone. It takes great skill and work to become a master, especially to create those amazing and inspiring church windows.
Hendrix cites a special beauty of light shining through colored glass when designed an intricate pattern or portrait of a saint, or even an abstract piece. The light seems to bring the art to life as it shines through the colors and textures of glass.
Since she was a child, Hendrix has been interested in art, and has created it herself.
“I am inspired by people, feelings, experiences, nature,” Hendrix said. “I mostly enjoy drawing, watercolor, paper mâché, and clay, but I am very fond of stained glass now, as well.”
It may seem challenging, but it is a process like anything else, she said.
“As long as you break down the steps, anyone could do it. I plan to draw my own patterns, but there are plenty of patterns available if that’s the route someone chooses,” she said.
Steps include choosing just the right glass colors or designs for the pattern; learning to cut and shape the glass to fit each piece snugly, like a puzzle; using a specialized grinder; sometimes wrapping each piece in foil or lead trim and then soldering; and maybe adding a wooden frame. And all of those steps are each a work unto themselves. Just cutting the glass with precision is challenging. Hours go into an 8 x 10 inch piece, more than 100 hours can go into an intricate piece or stained glass church window.
Originally, Hendrix started stained glass lessons to create mosaics and kaleidoscopes.
“I have always been intrigued by glass and stones, and I’m hoping to incorporate transparent stones to complete some ideas I have in my mind,” she said. “Now that I’ve completed a course at Tulsa Stained Glass, one night a week for eight weeks, I feel I was given enough instruction to do almost any stained glass project I would ever want to create.”
She’d like to take an advanced class down the road.
For Hendrix, art can be therapeutic. She also appreciates its the healing quality, both for the artist and at times the admirer.
“Art, especially drawing or creating Mandalas, balances my analytical thinking. I can remember in school, being able to listen better if I could draw designs while the teacher lectured,” she said. “By the end of the year, artwork covered my folders and school supplies and sometimes even desks.”
She visited that inward, peaceful place during her stained glass lessons. The class was fun, she said, but some of the other students liked to tease her about how quiet she became while working.
“I tend to focus, and my mind goes to another place,” she said. “It’s funny: It’s when my hands and area of concentration in my brain are busy, it frees another area, and part of me travels to a different place. That’s why I’m such a believer in art as a healer. It’s a balancer.”
Art is just another language – like music, dancing, drama or even cooking, she said.
“It reminds me of a philosophy I believe in for teaching children, which says there are 100 ‘languages,’ and all children should be allowed to experience and be allowed to express their own ‘language,” Hendrix said. “Artists and artisans put their heart into their work. I believe the love and emotions enter the art, and the receiver or keeper of the art – as it is passed down generations – is able to receive some of that love and feel some of the emotions the artist blessed the piece with.”
She’s currently a stay-at-home mom with daughter Elli, 4; and sons Joe, 11, and Ben, 7. All of them enjoy art.
Hendrix taught at Greenwood Elementary five years as a first- and second-grade teacher and was preschool director for seven years at First United Methodist Church. She is married to Matt, who works at Fort Gibson State Bank.
One of her favorite artists is Vincent Van Gogh.
“I have read about his life to my two sons, and both of them can identify his artwork. Ben has Van Gogh’s ‘The Bedroom’ in his room. In the piece, Van Gogh painted two framed pictures on the bedroom wall of himself and his brother, whom he loved very much. I think the boys can relate to Van Gogh because they have that brotherly love,” she said.
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