Title: Hallmark Master Designer
Date started at Hallmark: 1979
Date started at Keepsakes: 2002
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.
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.
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.”
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