Edythe Kegrize

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Keepsake Artist Edythe Kegrize

Edythe Kegrize signature

Edythe Kegrize

Title: Hallmark Master Designer
Date started at Hallmark: 1979
Date started at Keepsakes: 2002
Hometown: Pennsylvania

Edythe Kegrize had an in-depth love of three-dimensional art ever since she was young. She remembers making all kinds of creations from scraps around the house, including a tiny paper television with pictures that rotated with the turn of a knob and a crèche fashioned out of laundry detergent and food coloring.

Edythe's talents blossomed with the help of her loving family. Her grandmother saved tidbits of fabric, trims and pretty papers. Her mother never hindered her daughter's creativity despite the risks of having holes cut in tablecloths or glue on the rug. From her father, Edythe inherited attention to detail, patience and mechanical curiosity that make her Keepsake designs so intricate.

While in college, Edythe majored in illustration, but also was inspired by ceramics and weaving classes. At Hallmark, she would often devise unique folding cards that brought an extra dimension to her designs. Edythe featured needlework and collages in her greeting cards and crafted several original dolls to be photographed for select card collections.

With nearly 25 years of experience illustrating greeting cards, Edythe cultivated an appreciation for a wide range of decorative surface designs, from traditional folk art to classic, elegant scrollwork. This is perhaps most evident in the details of her Santa's Around the World unofficial series.

Pull-String Reindeer

Hallmark Keepsake Artist Edythe Kegrize didn’t have a lot of classic wooden pull-string toys as a kid, but she always admired the style. And she does remember making quite a few paper ones, with basic moving parts connected by metal brads.
“I’ve always liked that simplicity of form and motion.” Edythe says. So she was immediately interested in the idea of paying tribute to that classic style with an ornament made from layers of actual wood. When you pull the cord Santa’s holding, the reindeer’s legs move. The main engineering challenge was keeping the moving parts invisible inside the body of the reindeer.

“You can’t see the inner workings.” Edythe says. “The only place there’s a hole is underneath, in the tummy.”
The stylized Santa and reindeer harken back to another era, but the design brings it into the current moment with the festive feel of a holiday sweater.

 

“I design simplistic shapes but our collector loves detail, so where I put the detail is the surface design.” Edythe says. “I don’t think I could have gotten any more decoration on that reindeer. He’s pretty fancy.”

Because each piece of wood is unique, she wanted to create a design that would work even with slight variations, adding elegant touches along the way.

“Using wood is fairly new for us, so I wondered, how far can we push it?” Edythe says. “When I found out we could do foil-stamping on the wood, that sealed it for me.”

Ornate patterns of gold foil appear throughout the pleasant-faced Santa and the reindeer in flight. The accents reflect whatever lights are nearby, a little extra finish that creates a truly premium feel.

Stunning Swallow

Edythe has made many ornithological ornaments as part of the Beauty of the Birds series . But until this ornament, she’d never made a swallow.

“I’m more familiar with the swallows from the coastline that swoop under the docks at the bay.” Edythe says. “But this is a barn swallow, and it had so much more color.”
Flashes of blue and yellow suggested a bright, bold color palette. So, inspired by the kinds of costume jewelry her great-grandmother used to wear at Christmastime, Edythe crafted the sparrow in metal and added a host of ornate flourishes and crystals.

“That bling-ful aesthetic has made it into my work, because I think it makes a good ornament.” Edythe says. “I don’t wear much jewelry, but I must have been quite taken by her collection.”

The raised line work resembles a cloisonné metal treatment, often used in costume jewelry. She added the red flowers and crystals on the wings for pops of contrasting color and an additional level of detail. “I don’t really want to replicate nature because there’s really no improving on it.” Edythe says. “I try to bring more of a decorative, idealized quality to it.”

Edythe said she was inspired by heritage glass—jewelry, vases, perfume bottles, and trivets with delicate metal overlays. “I’ve always admired those,” Edythe says. “They have that very decorative quality that appeals to me. All that stuff is floating around in my head as I design.”

Luminous Lantern

Whenever Edythe tackles a laser-cut concept, it reminds her of the time before she joined the Keepsake Studio, when she made laser-cut greeting cards at Hallmark.

“I really liked working on laser cards.” Edythe says. “Everything has to connect or it falls apart. It’s like a little puzzle to figure out.”

This lantern features four flat, laser-cut panels. To turn that into a lighted winter scene with a bunny, a deer, birds, and a little house in the background, Edythe started with a full paper mock-up.

“I needed to see the layers, how to cover up various things so you could just see the flow of the light and not the bulb itself.” Edythe says. “The light just brings a nice ambience to the whole thing.”

Find Keepsake Ornaments at your local Hallmark Gold Crown store.

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