In 1990, John Hawkinson commissioned us to produce a seven foot window for the office of his high-end lumber business. Later that year he came back for a hand-lettered company brochure.
John is a great client and friend. One time while I was working on his window he comes over to my shop and finds me sitting down – just staring at the unfinished piece. John says, “Weber, what are you doing?” I told him I was contemplating. Without missing a beat he says, “Alright, make sure you charge me for that.”
This video includes shots of the finished windows and brochure, as well as photos we took during production. Contributing pictorial artists include Bill Hueg and Rick Thompson.
The window is located in downtown Boise on Bannock and 3rd Street.
Boise’s Egyptian Theater – located at the intersection of Capitol and Main – was originally built in 1927. In the 1930s the theater was renamed the Ada. By the 40s the name had changed to the Fox theater before finally switching back to the Egyptian in the 1970s.
It is actually one of many Egyptian-themed picture houses built around the country in the 1920s. The discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922 spawned a worldwide fascination with all things Egyptian, and contributed to the evolving aesthetic of Art Deco.
In 1999 the building underwent a significant restoration and we were commissioned to produce a pair of six-foot historic windows celebrating the theater’s past. Our windows were designed to depict the street scene outside of the theater as it appeared in 1928 and a couple decades later, in 1946. Working on the back of the glass, we screen-printed halftone patterns which we produced from actual black and white photographs. Then we colored the scenes in a method not unlike antique hand-tinted prints.
Surrounding each street scene is a highly embellished border depicting ancient Egyptian gods and hieroglyphs. These elements reflect some of the architectural details inside and outside the theater.
The Egyptian theater lives on as one of Boise’s most cherished landmarks. It plays regular host to guest speakers, concerts and film festivals. Click through the photos on the right for larger versions as well as additional technical notes.
In February and March of 2015 Ming Studios featured a gallery retrospective of Noel Weber’s sign career. The Boise community had a unique opportunity to see 35 years of lettering, gilding, photos, signs and sketches. In case you missed it, here are some of the highlights from the show.