Tammy Haddix

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Keepsake Artist Tammy Haddix

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Tammy Haddix

Title: Hallmark Senior Artist
Date started at Hallmark: 1988
Date started at Keepsakes: 1996
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

Tammy Haddix has been drawing for as long as she can remember. Her mother was the first to discover Tammy's talent at an early age. Unfortunately, her mom found it on countertops and in closets. The kitchen projects were washed away, but the closet creations were another story. Her mom, an artist herself, loved them so much that the artwork stayed up for decades.

It didn't take long for little Tammy to decide on her career goals. When she was 5 years old, her mother took her along to a Hallmark store. Tammy was so impressed by all the beautiful artwork that she declared her intention to work for Hallmark right then and there.

Tammy inherited her artistic abilities from her mom. After Tammy's colleagues saw her mother's intricate cake-decorating talents, the Keepsake Studio Artists decided to use the designs in the 2005 Spring Keepsake Ornaments.

Tammy joined the Illustration Studio, and that's when her interest in sculpting began. In addition to her regular drawing assignments, Tammy did freelance work for Keepsake Ornaments, which eventually won her a spot on the Keepsakes staff. Her work can still be found in closets, but only because they're in storage until next Christmas.

See Tammy's 2018 ornaments

Santa's Sweet Snow Plow Ornament

Santa’s Sweet Snow Plow

In 2007, Keepsake Artist Tammy Haddix put her mind toward creating a candied vehicle for Santa Claus that would make his famous sleigh look like more than just another sled. Her Santa’s Sweet Ride series resulted in 10 Christmas conveyances taking Santa on the rails, in the air and across—and even under—the waves. The series now ended, she hasn’t given up on the idea that Santa can always use some new wheels.

This year, the jolly old elf is clearing a path to Christmas in Santa’s Sweet Snow Plow, a companion to the original series right down to her design for the driver. “His cap is the same decorative icing-bag tip it was before,” she says. “This one fits right in with the others.” What this ornament has above the others, however, is Keepsake magic in the form of light and sound. “Really, I’ve always wanted these ornaments to be magic,” she says. “I’m glad I got the chance.”

Santa’s Sweet Snow Plow plays two songs and lights up in various places, including a tuft of white stuff in the bed of the plow. “I don’t know whether that’s salt for the road or snow,” Tammy says and laughs. “Boy, if this was Santa’s Salty Ride, it would be a totally different ornament!”

Shining Snow Angel Ornament

Shining Snow Angel

Hearing the words “snow angel” brings to mind the idea of a kid—or a playful adult—lying back in a drift and waving arms and legs until an angelic image appears. In 2015, Tammy played with the very words to create an angel made of snow. “I took two favorite holiday icons, an angel and a snowman, and just mashed them together,” she says.

The resulting fluffy (and glittery) cherub proved popular enough that a variant has been made every year since. “The snowflake wings always are the same, and there’s a pipe cleaner halo, too,” she says. “It’s fun to think of a little character who spreads goodness and joy, who makes sad kids happy, and flies around giggling and making little magical sounds,” Tammy says. “I’ve had an idea for a story of this snow angel doing just that. It would be really fun.”

Sweet Sassy Sisters Ornament

Sweet & Sassy Sisters

For many of her original sculptures, Tammy draws upon family as her greatest inspiration. To do so with the Sweet & Sassy Sisters ornament would only make sense, right? Tammy agrees—but notes that her mother played a role as well.

“My mother and my sister own a bakery together, and their cake-decorating skills are amazing,” she says. “So you’ll see how the ornament reflects that with details such as meringue swirls for hair and confectionary decorations like you would see on a cake.” And as Tammy’s many fans will tell you, it’s just not one of her Keepsake Ornaments without a glittery finish.

But here’s something fans may not know: the inspiration for that signature glitter of hers. “Growing up, my mom used to bake a birthday cake for me each year,” she says, “and it was covered—completely covered—with that sparkly, edible glitter. It just made the whole cake, and my whole day, very special for me. I think my love for glitter is because of those cakes.”

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