Charlie, Tina, Little C and I visited Old Historic Grapevine in Grapevine Texas which is about a 40 minute ride from Plano. It was a beautiful sunny day to visit and the weather was so nice. It was actually in the high 60s.
We decided to visit Vetro first, which is a beautiful shop full of blown glass creations that are made right on site.
Behind the shop is this large room where bleachers are set up so you can sit and watch the Artisans at work . (I took these pictures from the bleachers)
For $25.00 you can have them make one of these beautiful Christmas bulbs.
A couple with their little boy did just that. The little guy picked out the colors for his bulb and he watched intently as the Artisan went about making his bulb. It was fascinating to watch. This picture shows the Artisan rolling the hot glass that had just come out of the oven.
Next door is the renowned International Bronze Sculptor Archie St. Clair.
(The pictures that I had taken are of the molds that were used for these gigantic statues.)
Mr. St. Clair was born and grew up in the Australian Outback and spent much of his young life working as a stockman and a butcher. At the age of 22, St. Clair earned his pilot's license and began working as a commercial helicopter pilot. He accrued years of flight experience, but even they could not prevent the terrible helicopter accident St. Clair suffered in 1994 that left him wheelchair-bound. St. Clair spent the next three-and-a-half years not only overcoming his disability, but also discovering his talent for making clay sculptures and immersing himself in the sculpting process. Once he was able, St. Clair moved from his remote hometown in Australia to Arizona to work in the foundries. It was there that he learned the process of turning his clay masterpieces into bronze. (This is a picture of Archie taken in front of his renowned statue called the "Cunnamulla Fella" which was commissioned by the city of Cunnamulla, Queensland Australia).
The bronze process is not an easy one to complete. St. Clair spends countless hours in his studio across from the Vintage Train Depot in downtown Grapevine transforming the clay that he makes himself into intricate (and sometimes larger than life) works of art. St. Clair says that this first step is the one that truly requires his artistic touch: he can teach anyone to make molds and pour bronze, but only an artist can capture the fine details that make an inanimate figure come alive.
Once a clay sculpture is complete, St. Clair and his team use rubber, plaster, wax, and ceramic to make molds of all the sculpture's different sections. These molds end up in the adjoining foundry, where they are filled with molten bronze. When the bronze has cooled and hardened, the ceramic is methodically chipped away and what's left behind is a jigsaw puzzle of pieces that St. Clair welds together into one metallic monument. St. Clair applies a patina to his bronze sculptures to highlight different areas and make them even more lifelike.
The lights stay on in St. Clair's studio well into the night, but St. Clair would not have it any other way. He's committed to producing the highest quality work possible, and his dogged pursuit of perfection is evident all the way down to the stitching in his sculptures' pants. Even though St. Clair's art requires so much of his attention, he is happy to take a break to meet with visitors who stop by. He even encourages them to help him with the artistic process by carving away at the clay pieces that he's working on.
When we met with Mr. St. Clair he told us that he will be moving from Grapevine to St. Louis in the near future Everyone will miss him but fortunately for all the visitors he has left his mark in this historic old town for all to see. (There are statues throughout the town that were created by Mr. St. Clair) Don't you just love the statue of a dog in the bed of his old truck.
Charlie loved climbing up on the box car of an old train which was parked right across the street from the shops. He could have stayed there for hours playing on the train, but we were all getting pretty hungry and decided to visit our favorite pizza shop. We always go to this Pizza shop because it is by far the best we have had here in Texas. I grew up having pizza in Connecticut and there really is nothing to compare that with what Texas has to offer, but this pizza ranks up there pretty high in my opinion.
After, we had fun walking around the town and seeing all the Christmas decorations. Here is Little C peering over Santa's hat. It almost looks like Santa is holding him there.
I took pictures of a couple of the little Christmas scenes. Charlie loved seeing all of them. One of the scenes had all of Santa's reindeer with each of their names written below them. What was strange is that Donner was named Donder. We looked it up and low and behold Donder was his name in the original poem.
The finale was something everyone should experience. It's a Christmas musical light show that takes place at the town square. People line the street watching this wonderful event. I must say that our day in Historic Grapevine was the perfect ending to this Christmas Season.