Patricia AndrewsShop Now
Title: Retired Hallmark Artist
Date started at Hallmark: 1976
Date started at Keepsakes: 1987
Hometown: United States Air Force
Patricia Andrews doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a love for art. Her childhood motto was “If I have any spare time, I could be drawing.”
She remembers looking forward to days when her father would bring home paper from his office. Treasuring it as she did, Patricia divided each piece evenly into four separate pieces so her supply would last longer. She used that paper to spend many happy hours illustrating stories. Some she made up herself, others came from something she had either read or seen on television.
Knowing they had a genuine artist on their hands, Patricia’s parents put her in an adult art class at the age of 8, where she managed to hold her own and even outdo some grown-ups. This passion for any art medium continued throughout school.
There was very little three-dimensional curriculum offered at Auburn University. Instead, she majored in drawing and graphic design, not realizing there was potential for having a sculpting career. After graduating in 1976, she landed a job at Hallmark in the Engraving Studio because of the high detail in her college portfolio. This was the first stop for her and many fine sculptors and future Keepsakes colleagues Lynn Norton, Don Palmiter, John Francis, and Dill Rhodus (her husband).
In the Swing
Her daughters had finished college by the time Tangled came out in 2010, so there weren’t any living room concerts in honor of Rapunzel. But Patricia is still a big fan of Disney’s take on the fairy-tale character. And as she sat down to create her first version of this swinging ornament, she knew her greatest challenge would be knowing where to put all that hair!
“It was a fine balance of figuring out the right length of Rapunzel’s hair but still keeping it out of the way of the swing,” Patricia says. “We wanted to make sure she would rock perfectly without her feet or dress getting hung up on the base.”
That meant a lot of experimenting with multiple materials—clay for the tree, wax for Rapunzel, wire for the swing and Sculpey® polymer molding material for the rest. Every time something didn’t line up properly, pieces would break or bend, and she’d have to go back to the drawing board.
Since this ornament features solar-powered motion, she also needed to find a place for that tiny solar panel, as well as making sure the magnets in the bottom of Rapunzel’s dress and in the base would be close enough to react and make her swing. “It was challenging and frustrating at times,” says Patricia. “Like trying to juggle something on every finger on both your hands.”
When they finally hit on the perfect spacing, Patricia felt relieved and a bit surprised. “I thought: Wow, I did it. Whew!”