Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Precious Moments

Matt and I drove to Springfield, MO a few weekends ago to go to a hardware trade show. We left Colin with his grandparents, so we were able to take our time and see a few sites along the way. 

I would say Precious Moments could be considered a household name. Everyone recognizes those little children figurines. But I didn't know anything about them or the artists other than that.

The artist, Sam Butcher, built and painted a chapel on a piece of property in Carthage, MO. It's a little town a few miles outside of Joplin, and it's definitely off the beaten path. But apparently it's so well visited, that maybe now the path is quite beaten ;)

The chapel offers free tours, and of course there is a gift shop available. Butcher also has a house on the property where he stays when he's not spending his time in the Philippines. 

This is the front view of the chapel. Around the chapel is a huge garden full of  Precious Moments statues.

This is the entrance to the chapel. There are two more doors like this just inside. All three doors, front and back, are carved with intricate designs. They are carved in wood from the Philippines, which is apparently one of the hardest woods.
Here is the main part of the chapel. The wall to the left is full of  paintings depicting stories from the Old Testament, and the right wall depicts stories from the New Testament. The section at the far wall contains three murals about heaven. And of course the ceiling shows heaven and all the baby angels. All of these paintings use the same Precious Moments style children. 

The area that wraps around the chapel contains stained glass windows, also scriptural references. There are 30 stained glass windows throughout the whole chapel.
The whole things is pretty amazing. There are some bronze plates on the outside of the chapel that he also carved intricate designs into. I can't believe how many different mediums this artist can work with.

The whole thing is beautiful and amazing, and it was the perfect Sunday activity as we drove back from our weekend in Springfield.

My review in short: If you ever get the chance, go see it. It's pretty awesome!

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