September 25, 2016

Handcrafted ornaments to get you in the holiday “Moody”

Local artist celebrates the holiday with unique home-made crafts

by Paige Wiren

Barton Moody defies stereotyping.  Unless your stereotype for a tax accountant includes someone who is extremely community service-minded, who embodies and practices Eastern philosophies, who creates art for art’s sake, and who explores the world.

Barton Moody

His travels are sometimes organized around visiting a different volcano or experiencing a solar eclipse. Barton’s tax office occupies a turn-of-the-century brick structure that once housed Trolley Square workers in the early 1900’s. Its furnishings are unpretentious, tasteful, and eclectic. Like Barton, the décor is colorful. Various mediums of local and international art embellish the walls and tabletops as do philosophical reminders to live simply and kindly.

For Barton, living simply is simple. Want to have a low impact on the planet? Conduct your affairs via scooter or bicycle instead of a car, which he does. Want to reduce your carbon footprint? Grow your own food. Check. Want to think globally and act locally? Volunteer for community events. Ditto.

Growing up, as Barton put it, a cultural Mormon, the arts were an integral part of his family life. “I played every musical instrument,” he says. “I did craft projects and went to college on a theater scholarship.” While studying at the Art Institute of Chicago, Barton cultivated a deep appreciation for the visual as well as the performing arts, and art has become his tool of choice in expressing his value of helping build stronger communities. “I really enjoy people and believe that the idea of community is important. You could strengthen the community any number of ways. For me, it just happens to be through art.”

Last year Barton and his artist friend, Willy Littig, thought it would be a great idea to promote world peace through community art, the reality of that inspiration being the collaborative Peace Flags Project. Different local groups fashioned and decorated a seven-by-nine foot cloth flags embellished with the tantric letter “Om” and individual messages of peace and that were then flown at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.

Barton is also a volunteer advocate for the Center’s annual Winter Market, held the first week of December and featuring a cultural mélange of handicrafts, music, food, and dance. Also on-going in December is the novel Trees of Diversity display.

Barton’s contributions to this holiday’s season are his glass star ornaments made by fusing together cut glass pieces. “I’ve always had a relationship with glass,” Barton shares. In fact, his mother, like her mother before her, saved chipped china and glassware for moments when anyone in the family might need to shatter glass to release some anger. “You’d have this cathartic experience, and then have to clean it up,” he recalls. “It was interesting, though I don’t necessarily recommend this as a parenting practice.”

The inspiration for these colorful pieces, which he humbly refers to as “tchotchkes” grew out of his need to find balance during tax season. “I don’t take the actual pieces seriously,” Barton notes, “but the process is one of the most important meditations I get, coming to the studio, working with the glass. It helps me turn off my brain and free my thoughts. Creating art is like an emotional stimulus. It takes me to a place of release.”

A meditation for Barton, and also the unique folk art pieces are available for purchase at the Art Access building near Gateway. “I just hope that if someone buys one and puts it in their window it makes their life a little brighter.” §