by Tara Bell, Color Pencil Artist
The Christmas tree can be an artistic expression, and its branches are often filled with craft, from professional hand-blown orbs to glittery pine cones made by the grand-kids.
My first tiny tree in my first apartment was bedecked with household things from my junk drawer and kitchen: keys I inherited from somewhere (tied on with colorful ribbon) and metal cookie cutters and a cut out paper star, doubled up and stapled, and slipped over the top branch. It looked festive!
Nowadays, our tree is an eclectic collection of pieces found in our travels or given as gifts: a wooden carved spoon from Wales, a wooly llama from Argentina, and a bitty horsehair witch from Puerto Rico. There are the cut tin bat and a cat from Mexico and a prickly hand-made cotton boll doll by my Louisiana aunt.
Its crafty, crazy look is dear to our hearts. I like the traditional glass ornaments too, passed down from family or new and shiny.
Artists on the tour can’t resist making and selling ornaments, which you may be putting on your tree or giving as a gift this year. Bridget’s felt sculpted birds and animals, Lisa’s clay hearts with wings, Liz’s paper origami cranes and Barbara’s tiny gourd baskets filled with wee pine cones are just a few ornaments that come to mind. What are some of your favorite ornaments? Are they hand-made or manufactured, elaborate or primitive? What simple joy they give us!