Featured Keepsake Ornament Artist

Kris Gaughran is the April 2015 Hallmark Keepsake Ornament Featured Artist.

Get the inside scoop

Even though there were lots of stars to wish upon growing up in rural Iowa, Kristina Gaughran never asked their help in finding a job with Hallmark. "I grew up in a tiny town," she explains. "There was only one Hallmark store." Upon graduation from high school, Gaughran landed in Hallmark's hometown–Kansas City, Missouri–as a student at the Kansas City Art Institute. While in school, Gaughran eventually became an intern with and then a contributor to Keepsakes. When Gaughran finally graduated in the spring of 1996, she was offered a full-time position with Keepsakes.

"Growing up, I actually wanted to work for Disney because I love animation," she confesses. "The funny thing is, I get to work for Disney after all!" Many of Gaughran's Keepsake Ornaments are Disney characters. She even travels to Disney headquarters on occasion for approval on some of her sculpts. "It's like the best of both worlds," Gaughran says. "I get to visit Disney, but I get to live at Hallmark."

 

Mom to Bee

Available July 2015 at Ornament Premiere


Celebrating her 20th year as an artist for Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments, Kristina, when she was sculpting this ornament, was also on the verge of another milestone—she was expecting a baby of her own.

That made her the perfect person to design the new “Mom to Bee” Keepsake Ornament, debuting in 2015. So was that by design, so to speak? Actually, turns out it was just a happy coincidence. She started working on the ornament the beginning of 2014, but didn’t find out she was expecting until several months later. (Her second son Tristan was born February. Her first son, Finn, turns four in April.)

Back when Kristina’s team were brainstorming potential concepts, it occurred to them that using an actual bee would be the perfect, punny tie-in.

“Then it was just drawing it up, figuring out what she was going to look like,” said Kristina, who started to zero in on a more whimsical style—sweet and just a little silly.

The mom character is an actual bumblebee. She’s wearing a purple shirt with a little baby bumblebee on it. Instead of sculpting the wings along with the rest of the figure, she made them with a coated, synthetic paper called Yupo.

“It just adds an extra element of value and interest, to have little attachments like that,” Kristina said.

Mom to Bee Ornament by Kristina Gaughran
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman Keepsake Ornament by Kristina Gaughran

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman

Available July 2015 at Ornament Premiere

 

Kristina, who was born in 1973, has faint memories of watching the 1970s TV show “Wonder Woman” as a very little girl with her parents. She was too young to see Lynda Carter as the role model for female empowerment that she was to many others. That aspect of the character didn’t become apparent to her until much later. But Wonder Woman’s entertaining heroism was never lost on her. Especially now that she’s become another kind of hero: mom.

“I think every mom is a Wonder Woman. Whether she’s a full-time at-home mom or a mom who also goes to work, we all have to find our balance,” Kristina said. “Some moms are actual crime-fighters, while others have the superpowers to heal a boo-boo with just a kiss. But in the end we all have the same desire, to be the best moms we can be for our children.”

The ornament features Wonder Woman in her original costume from the TV show, in a blocking pose with her bulletproof bracelets up and ready, with the Lasso of Truth at her side. Kristina even designed the lasso out of golden cording to give it an extra feel of authenticity.”

Lotus and Poinsettia

1st in the Baby Fairy Messengers series
Available May 16

 

With all the baby stuff happening in her life already, why stop there? Kristina also created two baby fairies that coordinate with the Fairy Messenger series. The little duo is based on grown-up Poinsettia—the very first offering in the Fairy Messenger series in 2005—and grown-up Lotus, this year’s fairy.

As the mom of boys, Kristina said, “I tried to think about nieces and friends’ babies, to help me imagine how they’d look or what little girls would be wearing.”

Kristina incorporated the corresponding flower into each design as a resting surface, like a baby’s blanket. As she created the pieces, she imagined that as the girls grew up, they’d pluck the petals from their flower to make their skirts. Just as with the “Mom to Bee” ornament, Kristina needed to think of a different solution for the wings than a more traditional mold, so the wings wouldn’t be “too chunky looking.”

To give the wings a slender profile, she opted for a thin sheet of styrene, which was then laser-cut and glittered. She said that despite the thin look, “they’ll be nice and sturdy.”

The idea was to add something new and interesting for those who already collect the Fairy Messengers. We know collectors have been asking for more miniatures, and this duo seemed like the perfect fit.

“I think there is also added appeal for people who think they look like their daughters at that age, or like their granddaughters.”

Lotus and Poinsettia Keepsake Ornament by Kristina Gaughran
Featured Artist Coming Soon

 

Who's coming up next?

Don’t miss our next featured artist interview with Ruth Donikowski, coming in May.

Find one at your local Hallmark Gold Crown store.

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WONDER WOMAN and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © DC Comics.
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