Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Tale of A Wooden Christmas Ornament

Wooden Christmas Ornament by KrugsStudio
When my wife brought home wooden Christmas tree ornaments from the local craft store, I looked at them (now mind you I was encouraged to NOT buy any more things) and wondered, well, these LOOK like the fragile glass ornaments that most people have so...what do you do with them? Duplicate a glass decoration? At least it won't break when dropped (a common occurrence in our household with ancient English and German decorations and Labrador Retrievers with very active  tails). I wasn't really ready to accept the tried and true. I wanted something more. Something different.

There were three, and I would guess each one cost a paltry $1 each. So...what DO you do with them?

I thought long and hard and decided that no, I would not try to replicate the glass versions from 100 years ago. I would come up with something new. And new? Yes, my "Crazy Quilt" designs.

As It Began
It has been interesting to hear people comment about this series. At the Gallery SoHo in Pomona, CA, I have had an opportunity to tune in to actual conversations regarding this series. "OMG, look, these are painted fabrics on a birdhouse, tray or whatever." People are stunned. I remind them that they never have to worry about fading. It was painted on and then sealed. For me, those decorations using the "Crazy Quilt" designs seemed a natural. Here I show the one with a snowman and a gingerbread man but there are several more. One has two versions of a Christmas tree and the other is pretty freeform. Just a variant of fabrics with a star on a golden circle. To make the whole process easier, I used many of the same colors on all three but they turned out to be very different from each other ... which IS good! Each one has golden thread stitching all of the pieces together- well paint anyway.

I spent a great of time creating each one. The irony is that you can never ask as much in price for such an item as artists feel they can ask for their art. To me a canvas is a canvas. However, for every hour spent on a painting, and I am getting pretty good at creating those in a relatively short time, to the time spent on a ornament or birdhouse is disproportionate to the amount of time spent on a painting. While the painting I might ask $200, for a birdhouse even though in reality it took far more time to create and finish you would only ask from $40-60. Kind of an irony isn't it? There has to be an irony in this. IN fact, I visit craft stores all the time. While I am reluctant to criticize, I find those people who are reluctant to pay the price an "artist" asks as too high, I find their rational to justify a purpose at another store where millions of the same item are for sale as spurious. How dare they. How can they, though admittedly Thomas Kincaid was a master, justify asking those prices for a "copy?" And I ask you the same thing. Are you willing to pay $1000 for a giclee of a Thomas Kincaid painting yet are reluctant to spend a few hundred, or less for an original painting from an up ad coming artist? Many are. Kincaid's are counted in the thousands, an original as one. Now you know how the Peggy Guggenheim's got rich. They took a chance.

In this case we have an original Christmas ornament made of wood that could, in theory, last hundreds of years! The wood presented an idea, and the idea was transformed into something that I could and more importantly "wanted" to do. Check it out with more pictures at: Christmas is a-comin' and there are many really nifty items still being made by craftsman there.

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