Tom started making glass beads in 1989. After earning two degrees in ceramics in Missouri, and having short careers as a potter, blacksmith, and stone mason in Stone County, Arkansas, Tom was bitten by the glass muse in his early thirties. His bead habit had started much earlier in his teens as a boy scout in the 1960’s when he developed a love for all things Native American. With an especially artful scout leader, he attended Pow-Wows around the Southwest and the American Plains and became enamored with the beaded regalia and European trade beads worn in their costuming. He subsequently travelled throughout the nation studying and researching old beads and, ultimately, their manufacture.Tom started his glass beadmaking studio in Arkansas Ozarks in 1989. In addition to being a practicing beadmaker he also teaches workshops at schools and private studios. Tom has built his own home in the mountains of Stone County and has recently moved in to re establish his bead making life,.
Tom is regarded as one of the better lecturers on the history of glass beads giving presentations that include pictures of collections from both major museums and private collections. Within the International Society of Glass Beadmakers, his presentations are known to enhance the awareness of the long standing yet overlooked traditions of the medium,with many methods for designs rediscovered in his own research and development explained through stories and pictures as well as demonstrations.
Tom is also known to be a profoundly effective teacher of beadmaking due to his methodical approach, jovial manner and penchant for great storytelling. To keep Tom from diving too deep into hitch hiking or tree planting stories during class is easy if the technique hungry student need just give the cue “uhum” and clear the throat for emphasis. Then back to the serious task of passing on knowledge of the bead.
Tom Holland is considered to be among the country’s glass beadmaking pioneers. He have been published in Bead and Button, Ornament, and American Style magazines, and in books including 1000 Glass Beads by Lark Books, Making Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins, Collectible Beads by Robert Lui, The Masters in Beadmaking by Lark Books, and in the upcoming new addition of The History of Beads by Lois Sherr Dubin. He has exhibited in the Toyota Museum in Japan, the Denmark Glass Museum, the Rockwell Museum in Corning New York, and more.
In addition to exhibiting Tom Holland has taught in most States in the USA as well as Istanbul Turkey , Ottowa and Toronto Canada and Murano Italy
Tom Holland along with his wife Sage have had the honour of presenting at The International Society of glass Bead Makers Gathering many times Starting in 1993, 1994, 1996,1998 ,2000,2002, 2004, 2008,2012, 2014, 2015.