The Creative Team

The Pioneer Memorial Wall is the dream of the Hartwood farmhouse owner, John Darbyshire, whose back garden will house the Memorial.  He teamed up with Peter Fagg whose passion for British Church History took the project to a whole different level.  Their combined vision has captured the imagination of some key artistic figures who we are delighted to welcome to the team.

We are excited to be teaming up with some incredible sculptors and artists who will animate the Memorial Wall with their work.  The sculptors Angela Johnson, Dennis Smith, Leroy Transfield, and Kraig Varner are duplicating some of their masterpieces plus working on some new commissions.  The Stained Glass artists Brian Waugh, Thomas Holdman and Cameron Oscarson are bringing their years of experience to illuminate the Memorial Wall with their captivating windows.

The bios of each of these talented individuals is below.

Bringing the vision to reality
You can be a patron to the arts and support this inspiring project by
•  Donating. Your contribution (of any amount) helps speed things along. >donate
• Sponsor a statue, plaque, stained glass, bench, tree and dedicate it in memory of your family or ancestor.
To see what is available to sponsor click here > sponsor

On the Isles of The Sea
We will be following each of these artists with photographic journals and videos, so make sure you sign up here for the free, monthly e-newsletter “On the Isles of the Sea” which explores the people, events and sites of LDS England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Thomas E. Holdman – Stained Glass Artist 

As an aspiring artist, Tom Holdman started Holdman Studios in 1988 in his parents’ garage. He has since created stained glass displays in all 50 states and worldwide for commercial buildings, private residences, and public art features. Tom’s creations are also found in many religious institutions, including Catholic, Mormon, and Protestant Sanctuaries.  His studios have produced glass for at least 16 LDS temples, the LDS Conference Centre and the LDS Visitors Centre in Palmyra.

He also founded The Art Institute at Thanksgiving Point, Utah.  Born with a severe stutter, Tom turned to art glass as a creative outlet where he could communicate most freely. Through the influence of his father, a photographer, and the teachers who nurtured him throughout his school years in Utah, he was encouraged to explore stained glass and thus found his calling. With virtually no established stained glass artists in the state, Tom decided at age 21 he would spend his life specializing in the art form and creating something where there had been nothing. His studio now employs 41 artists and creators in Lehi, Utah, and Ensenada, Mexico.

Angela Johnson – Sculptor

Angela’s work reflects her lifelong love and adoration of Jesus Christ as the guiding power of her life.  Her work has been exhibited at the Newport Beach Temple Open House, where over 175,000 people saw her sculpture, “Come Unto Me”.  The Light of the World Exhibit traveled different LDS Visitors’ Centers in the United States for 5 years.

The Light of the World Garden celebrated its completion October 24, 2016. The Celebration Ceremony was honoured to have Elder Jeffrey R. Holland present as the keynote speaker. The Light of the World Garden is the world’s largest sculptural collection of Jesus Christ where individuals and families ponder events from the life of the Saviour.

Angela has four children and sixteen grandchildren.  When once asked by a newspaper editor if she looks at her hands and is amazed at what she has been able to accomplish she replied, “It is more amazing to me what Jesus Christ can do with a soul.”

Cameron Oscarson – Artist

Cameron Oscarson, also a native of Utah, developed his skills as an artist at a young age and attended Dixie State College on scholarship, then Brigham Young University, receiving a BFA with an emphasis in painting and drawing. He joined Holdman Studios in 2003 and his natural artistic talent has been invaluable to the studios’ accomplishments and projects, including “Roots of Knowledge.”

As an award-winning artist himself, Mr. Oscarson has worked on many of his own creative endeavors, including illustrations for children’s books and other commissioned works.

Dennis Smith – Sculptor

For the last forty years Dennis Smith’s work and presence has been a driving force in sculpture in the United States.  His representations of families, mothers, and children in sculpture have become a national treasure.  His work is located in hundreds of public and private collections, in museums and public squares throughout the entire United States and many countries of the world.  LDS members will recognise his Monument to Women in Nauvoo and his statue ‘In the Family Circle’ at various church sites.

Dennis Smith is as much a philosopher as he is an artist.

His work is a window into who he is and his views on life.  At the core of Dennis’ work is the spirit of the human soul.  We often see this represented through the innocence of childhood.  To Dennis, the child is a metaphor for life.  Children’s lives, as they explore the world around them, parallel our lives as adults as we discover our identity in this universe.  Each piece by Dennis Smith captures this spirit, still vibrant and alive, frozen in the moment of discovery

LeRoy Transfield  – Sculptor

“I get to do what I love, which is sculpting people in the round.  Sculpture is a wonderful form of expression, to transfer an idea or a feeling and give it form and space, brings great peace and satisfaction.  Living as an artist can be an emotional roller coaster, but the joys of creating something beautiful make the whole thing worthwhile.”

Transfield was born in New Zealand and is of Maori and German extraction.  Transfield received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from BYU-Hawaii in 1993. Upon graduation he taught sculpture.  Soon after, he opened his own studio in Utah.

He currently resides with his family in Orem, Utah. Leroy enjoys studying all art and is inspired by the masters in all the arts including Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Van Gogh.

In LDS circles some of his best known works are a series of seven panels at Martin’s Cove, Wyoming to commemorate the Willy and Martin handcart companies as they crossed the plains to Utah.

Kraig Varner – Sculptor

Kraig Varner is a successful sculptor mastering a range of sculpting genres from figurative, to contemporary, to portrait work.  His ability to create moving emotion filled portraits, of current and historical figures – such as Porter Rockwell and Brigham Young – has made his work important as a historian, capturing the triumph of the human spirit in each of the subjects he sculpts.

His contemporary work is rich with symbolism and meaning. It conveys poignant aspects of the human experience and emotion. Kraig has a passion for the human form. He believes his work helps us see and feel the world around us and our place and interface in this world.

Kraig’s work has been shown in national and international exhibitions, and his work is located in collections throughout the world. He has been commissioned to sculpt portraits and monumental works alike for universities, municipalities, foundations and corporations.

Kraig Varner has established his studio in Lehi, Utah where he has lived and worked since 1980.

Brian Waugh – Stained Glass Artist

Brian was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland and from an early age, always loved to paint and draw.   Brian creates art in two different mediums, oil on canvas and stained glass. His art reflects not only the ideals of beauty, but also a fascination with the Romantic and Symbolic themes of passion, magic, love, loss, transformation – spiritual and physical.

He is interested in the classical and medieval worlds of myth and legend, poetry and literature, which portray beauty, death, regeneration and immortality. His work is very figurative and the characters he portrays, usually exist in haunted, mysterious landscapes.

When making stained glass, Brian uses traditional techniques such as acid etching, fired paint, stain and enamels, all of which have been employed by artists and artisans for hundreds of years. This enables Brian to produce beautiful, evocative and remarkable art.