Wow, oh wow!!!
Missouri’s 2016 Ornament
Really, words escape me on this one: Several months ago, the National Parks Foundation asked me if I’d like to design the ornaments for the Missouri state tree at the 2016 National Christmas Tree Display in Washington, D.C. again—the 6th year I’ve had this tremendous honor. (Of course, I said, “Yes!” just before I fainted…..).
So I set to work, creating a very special and meaningful design.
Using reverse-glass painting with cotton and faux-ice embedded on the inside of the ornaments, the 2016 ornament exemplifies what I believe to be the spirit of this season: A tall pine tree is blanketed in snow reaching up one side of the ornament. From the top of the ornament and down the other side tumble frosty ice crystals, highlighting “Missouri” and “2016,” both painted in cool blue. A ring of people in silhouette, clasping hands, encircles the ornament. The figures represent a vast diversity of people: adults, children, persons with disabilities—all connected by the gentleness of the season. The brilliant stars of night shine down to illuminate them. The delicate crystal surface they stand upon represents our fragile planet, upheld by the wish for “Peace on Earth – Good Will to All.” The background of the ornament is a rich, metallic blue.
In previous years, I’ve worked with school students to produce the Missouri ornaments in previous years. This year, however, I was allowed to select the group myself. I chose to honor Missouri women by giving them a part in the ornament project. These women represent a diversity of inspiration, experience and backgrounds. Some live in retirement facilities or with assistance, some are caregivers, all lead inspirational lives in their own quiet way. One of these wonderful women is 100 years old (Mrs. Lois Miller of St. Louis); she was born the same year that National Parks Foundation was founded. The birthdates of those I titled “The Senior Ladies” span an amazing six decades (the women were in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 100!!). These women embody the calm beauty of this season. I was privileged to share this project with them. Click here to see the process of making the ornaments.
The 94th lighting ceremony in Washington, D.C. was historic, as President Obama’s last Christmas in office and his final public address. Click here to watch the lighting, with musical performances by James Taylor, Yolanda Adams, Marc Anthony, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Kelly Clarkson, Chance the Rapper, The Lumineers, Simone Manuel, Eva Longoria Baston, and the U.S. Air Force Airmen of Note.
Oh, yes…..and I was there, too!
Just a few days later, back in Missouri, I presented the ornament to Missouri Governor Nixon during the lighting ceremony of Missouri’s Official Christmas tree in the Capitol Rotunda.
My feet still haven’t touched the ground.
Painting the inside of the ornaments.
100-yr. old hands, working on the 2016 ornament.