Frank Lloyd Wright related

The Beauty of the Song of Solomon, or the Song of Songs



Here, I offer something most personal. Below are some pages from a project I prepared for and then sent to my beloved, in the autumn of 1977 (© Stephen Holmgren 2023), about 45 years ago. She was someone who I very much hoped might in the future be my betrothed. She was and is, Martha, to whom I sent this booklet in the autumn of 1977. Designed and composed in a pension in Florence, Italy, assisted by access to a manual typewriter at St James, the local Episcopal / Anglican parish in Florence, I prepared this multipage document, and sent it to Martha who was pursuing a study year in Taipei. Amazingly, it got there through international mail, and equally amazing is the fact that we still have the physical original of the little  booklet today. (God is good / all the time)

Of course, like all proponents of eternal love and affection, I have fallen short of living into the ideal. But, I still believe in it! Those of us who have entered into this particular covenant can admit this. Why? Because in the covenantal reality of Judaism, and then within Christianity, what we do, and perhaps more importantly what we have failed to do, is not the real issue. The real thing is the the One who grasps us, holds us, and saves us, always. And, the One who holds us together.

More Early Graphic Design

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An ink and water color design for the cover of a small pamphlet


Above, an additional cover design for a small pamphlet

Below, I share the top third of a number of designs for tri-folded office or home stationary, suitable for insertion in a business size envelope. When the whole page is unfolded, a blank area occupies the lower two thirds of the page, allowing space for either typing or hand writing.

Obviously, Frank Lloyd Wright has loomed large in my aesthetic formation as an aspirant to architectural and graphic design. The designs I share here are just short of fifty years old.

I have learned much from FL Wright and his work, and while enduringly appreciative of his vision I am not blind to the problems and challenges that his self-confidence sometimes led him to encounter. My favorite (perhaps anecdotal) FLW quote: “I am, by my own admission, the world’s greatest architect!”

And my favorite FLW story involves Johnson Company scion, ‘Hib’ Johnson. He commissioned Wright to design the now world-famous SC Johnson Company headquarters and research facility in Racine, Wisconsin, in the latter 1930’s. At the same time, Hib also commissioned Wright to design a grand residence for himself, later known as Wingspread. Apparently, one evening, with Mr. Johnson hosting a formal dinner party, the roof began to leak (a not-unknown aspect of some challenging Wright designs). Johnson took to the phone and called Wright, complaining that water was dripping on his head at the dining table. FLW cooly replied by saying, “Well, Hib, move your chair!”

Yet, I have an abiding sense that FL Wright’s now somewhat dated, but totally relevant, sensitivity to what he called organic design principles still has much to teach us. As much as I admire the modernist work of Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and so many others, I am so grateful for what I have learned from and through engagement with the life, work, writings, and designs of Frank Lloyd Wright.


The designs presented here are copyrighted (© Stephen Holmgren 2023).