Perched high on the cedar hills west of Herriman is the home of Reg and Dorothy Farnell. On their hilltop the Farnells have established a mountain aerie filled with books, exotic sea shells and other mementos of worldwide travels.
Perhaps the most unique feature of the rock home, designed by the Farnells, is a stained-glass window. Facing east, the window is above a spiral staircase to the master suite. Shimmering with the morning sunlight, a delicate chambered nautilus rests in a deep blue ocean scene with waving green fronds and peach and white shells. Deep hues of red and burnt sienna with pearly gray accents create the stylized nautilus shell in colors that change as the day lengthens.Dorothy Farnell loves shells and has collected a houseful from her travels abroad with the foreign service. When she heard there was an artist who could create a window to her choosing, John Fackrell had another customer.
Fackrell is an art teacher at Cottonwood High School and was recently nominated Art Teacher of the Year for Granite School District. Fackrell is also an adjunct professor for Utah State University and teaches extension art classes. His watercolors were shown in the 1988 Mount Olympus Exhibit.
About nine years ago Fackrell found himself drawn to stained glass as an art form. "I had just graduated from college, and as I started teaching I was committed to the idea of staying fresh, of not being content with where I was at the time. I wanted things to always improve," said Fackrell, who was living in Ogden at the time and commuting to Granite's Eisenhower Junior High School.
"I wanted to learn how to do stained glass, but no one would teach me." He finally found a woman who owned a craft shop who offered instruction for awhile, but he mostly learned the old fashioned way: by trial and error.
After making windows for his own home, Fackrell began teaching his junior high students how to do small stained-glass hangings.
Craig and Chris Hughes' three daughters, Dana, Tina and Mindy, all had Fackrell for their art teacher at Eisenhower. "John is a comfortable, teddy-bear kind of a guy _ so easy to talk to," Chris Hughes said. "During parent/teacher conferences it was easy to get off into other subjects. As you'd ask questions, he'd tune in immediately."
She mentioned she was planning her family room and would like a stained-glass window that showcased her hobby of collecting quail figurines. "My boss is a falconer, and I've always thought quail were such happy looking birds," Hughes said. She explained how she wanted the window to be in a special oak frame, and Fackrell immediately contacted someone in the woodshop area to work on the frame.
Fackrell drew up a rough sketch and brought samples of glass to the Hughes home so they could pick their colors. "He brought German `bulls-eye' glass that he used in the window. He used the grain in some of the glass to make it look like a storm in the background," Hughes said. "It isn't just that he has all this wonderful stained glass but it's knowing what to do with it in putting together a window that makes Fackrell so unique," she said.
Word of mouth has been the means of spreading the word about the specialized designs Fackrell does. Chris Hughes' mother, Dorothy Farnell, saw the quail window and immediately envisioned her beloved chambered nautilus in stained glass. Pediatrician Rodney Pollary is doctor to the Fackrell children, and while making small talk one day found out Fackrell designed stained-glass windows. He ordered a sun-scape design for a kitchen window facing east and later told Fackrell that the yellow in the window actually changes into shades of greens and blues throughout the day.
All in all, Fackrell has done about 25 windows. He designed an oak cradle for his last baby that has a high headboard and footboard that have a stained-glass half-moon inset. "I wanted the baby to be able to look up and see warm colors. I used yellow, blue and green; soothing colors that would make my baby's first visual experiences good," he said.
Fackrell's Salt Lake home now has eight stained-glass windows. His wife Joan loves roses, and so the rose design frames his kitchen window. "My wife is my best consultant," Fackrell said. "Artists need to rely on other people, and it's a good thing for me that Joan is my best consultant for ideas. We've actually done stained-glass pieces together _ she even knows how to cut the glass, but I'm the best solderer."
Using a special soldering iron that has a thermostat in the tip so it doesn't go over a critical temperature, Fackrell has a more even flow of solder than regular soldering irons can provide. "This is much different than the stained glass of the Middle Ages. They didn't have the precision instruments we have now. They used to use hammers to break the glass and then would lay the glass down and pour lead around it," Fackrell explained.
Cottonwood High School, where Fackrell has taught for the past two years, is going to be graced with its own stained glass window _ of dimensions unheard of for a student enterprise. The window, with five prancing horses (for the Cottonwood Colts), will contain 310 pieces of glass. Student coordinator of the project is Joe Woolley, a senior. "Joe is the most talented kid that I've ever had. He can do anything as well as any teacher," said Fackrell. The window will be finished the first of April, but before it's installed it will be in two exhibits.
While a teacher by profession, John Fackrell finds great satisfaction in his stained-glass creations.
"He is so professional," said Dorothy Farnell. "He is a real artist." *****
John Fackrell makes several rough sketches for a stained-glass window client to use in making decisions. Once a design is agreed upon, Fackrell gives the clients colored pencils and lets them fill in the colors. Then he brings them samples of glass he has in his studio, and they further refine their choices.
Several elements play a part in the final cost of the window:
-Materials: The cost will depend on the color of the glass used. Some raspberry-colored glass is made in Germany and is sold by the pound - a 20-by-24-inch piece might cost $50.
-Labor: This may include the cost of making an oak frame.
-Intricacy of design: Roses are more intricate to make than tulips, for instance.
-Cost per square foot: Expect the cost to run between $50 to $70 per square foot.
Fackrell has created a stained-glass curriculum for Granite School District, taught every two years.
While the course is for art teachers, the public can also attend. Fackrell will use slide presentations to explain materials, tools, design technique and troubleshooting.
Beginning June 5, the course will be taught at Cottonwood High School. Contact Norma Winward at 263-6100 for information.