I began, early in our marriage, picking up one beautiful handcrafted ornament for our tree each year. When our kids were little I would periodically buy them ornaments; not every year because we didn't always have the money. They then started creating Christmas ornaments in pre-school and elementary school and we added those to our tree. Soon, the tree became full of beautiful, special ornaments (our oldest daughter just took her box with her to her first apartment and has a lovely very first Christmas tree).
I've always had a craft or three going on but had never made ornaments for our tree or our kids until I saw a beautiful tree on the cover of Victoria Magazine years ago. It was a tree (and interior spread) decorated with ornaments by Wells Jenkins of Wells Ware. I. Fell. In. LOVE. I, however, could not afford them, as beautiful as they were. So, I had to figure out how they were made. I took a stained glass class that following year and learned how to cut and solder (though my soldering still needs work in my opinion), and figured out how to make them. The next fall I snuck into my parent's and in-law's homes, stole old family photos (copied and replaced them), and worked with our grandmothers to gather special photos. I made both sets of parents 13 or 14 ornaments each that year. It was, I think, the best gift (other than our children) we've ever given them. There were tears. It made my year. I was even able to get a photo of one set of my father-in-law's grandparents that he didn't know existed (the photo that is). Score!
Anyhoo, I continued working with glass through that winter and one day in March, my youngest daughter Gabrielle asked me if I would make her friend Annie a pin as part of her birthday present. Gabrielle was 6 1/2 at the time. I asked what kind of pin, she said a stained glass pin. I asked her if she just wanted me to glue a pin back to a piece of glass. She said no. She picked out a small curved triangular piece of pink/white wispy and asked me to paint a bird and a birdhouse on it (I did a little bit of decorative painting back then). I told her I thought the paint (acrylics) would scratch off. She thought about it a minute and said, "Well, if you use the boys' model paint it will stick. It sticks to everything you don't want it to." True that. Well, I made it, it was adorable, and we pinned it to her birthday card. That was the beginning of me painting on glass. The first ornament came a few short years after that when I was coaching one of her sports teams and made them for the girls at the end of the season.
As we were raising the kids, working, coaching - you know, life. I didn't have time for a lot of creating. So, still, there weren't a lot of ornaments created by me as they were growing. After we lost our beautiful TJ, we realigned. I have spent more time creating, but not enough. Work and life seem to get in the way still, but I'm trying to realign again. I have created some really unique ornaments over the last few years and there are many more (and other components) in my head and sketchbook. I want to bring them to fruition, to create the life I want to live - working from my studio, in jeans and a t-shirt, music playing and the studio door wide open (well, when it's not winter). It needs to become my priority, now that the kids are grown. I can make it happen, I just have to begin the journey and take one step at a time. "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined." -Thoreau
I know, it’s a book. Thanks for indulging me! Now, hop on over to check out the beautiful ornaments created by these lovely artists!
Artfully Ornamental (you are here)