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Jim received a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 1966 and originally joined Hallmark the very same year. Since then he has enjoyed a long and varied creative career both within Hallmark and as an independent artisan. Over the years he has sculpted a wide range of products including the ever-popular, fun-loving Peanuts characters and the beautifully detailed Nature’s Sketchbook Collection by Marjolein Bastin. To this day Jim continues to enjoy sculpting a wide variety of unique and new products for Hallmark.

50th Anniversary Doghouse

The beloved TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” debuted in 1965. One year later, Jim Kemme debuted at Hallmark. And from the very start, Jim’s artistic career has featured one Peanuts project after another—from his first Charlie Brown and Snoopy candle holder to this year’s 50th Anniversary Doghouse. Jim designed the familiar doghouse in porcelain, adding golden touches on Woodstock, on Snoopy’s ears, eyes and nose, and on the string of lights around the house.

“We needed something that was gold, since it’s the 50th anniversary,” Jim said. “We wanted something that had a little class to it but still had that whimsical feeling so familiar to fans of Peanuts.”

With its iconic moments and memorable music, the perennial TV special—written by Charles M. Shulz himself—remains as warm and wonderful as when it first aired half a century ago.

50th Anniversary Doghouse Keepsake Ornament
A Snoopy for Christmas Keepsake Ornament

A Snoopy for Christmas

One Christmas 20 years ago, Jim got his wife a poodle puppy. He vividly remembers the excitement on the faces of his wife…and the puppy! (For the record, the poodle didn’t come in a box. Jim placed the puppy in a loose-weave basket with a lid.)

That moment of pure joy gave him the inspiration for this scene. “The concept was there, but it was up to me to get the inspiration and action into it,” Jim said. Once he had those emotions captured, the rest of the artwork almost seemed like a breeze.

Flying Ace

As many Peanuts ornaments as Jim has worked on, he had never done one with Snoopy in an actual airplane. In many of Snoopy’s duels with the Red Baron through the years, Snoopy has been pictured atop his doghouse.

“In the older versions,” Jim said, “you’d usually see Snoopy sitting up there, with holes in his doghouse like he’d just been in an air battle.”

After he researched classic biplane designs, Jim’s next big challenge was making all the components in the plane to a scale and with Snoopy as the pilot! He also had to make the body of the plane big enough for a battery compartment to fit. The ornament plays various battle and dogfight sounds. Another nifty feature of the plane—the propeller spins.

Flying Ace Keepsake Ornament
The Race Is On Keepsake Ornament

The Race Is On

Working on this Snoopy and Woodstock pinewood derby race scene, Jim thought back to when both of his sons were Eagle Scouts. He remembers helping them make their own derby cars. Then last year, everything came full circle when he helped his grandson make his pinewood derby car for the annual Boy Scouts race. “He got all the way to the finals!”

Building Buddies Snoopy

18th in the Spotlight on Snoopy Series
As Jim created the design for this ornament, he fondly recalled the classic wooden toolbox his dad gave to him when he was a kid. “It wasn’t exactly like the one in this ornament, but it did make me think about it quite a bit. I still have that toolbox, by the way.”

Building Buddies Snoopy Keepsake Ornament
Featured Artist Ken Crow

Who's coming up next?

Don’t miss our next featured artist interview with Ken Crow
coming in November.

Find one at your local Hallmark Gold Crown store.


Available to purchase online.

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