Edythe Kegrize had an in-depth love of three-dimensional art ever since she was young. She remembers making all kinds of creations from scraps around the house, including a tiny paper television with pictures that rotated with the turn of a knob and a crèche fashioned out of laundry detergent and food coloring.
Edythe's talents blossomed with the help of her loving family. Her grandmother saved tidbits of fabric, trims and pretty papers. Her mother never hindered her daughter's creativity despite the risks of having holes cut in tablecloths or glue on the rug. From her father, Edythe inherited attention to detail, patience and mechanical curiosity that make her Keepsake designs so intricate.
While in college, Edythe majored in illustration, but also was inspired by ceramics and weaving classes. At Hallmark, she would often devise unique folding cards that brought an extra dimension to her designs. Edythe featured needlework and collages in her greeting cards and crafted several original dolls to be photographed for select card collections.
With nearly 25 years of experience illustrating greeting cards, Edythe cultivated an appreciation for a wide range of decorative surface designs, from traditional folk art to classic, elegant scroll-work. This is perhaps most evident in the details of her Santa's Around the World unofficial series.
TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Edythe: “This was a fun project. Everybody in the studio had a category (a group of products to focus on), and ours was Santa Magic. Having seen a piece of research that someone brought in, I thought, we do books but books are flat. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could have the whole three-dimensional character be the book?
We’ve done books with characters jumping out and we’ve done ornaments with books as companion pieces. But we thought we’d take the next step where the 3-D thing is the book because Santa is a plump enough guy to carry a whole book in there.”
Robert: “So we put an earth magnet in there. It’s strong enough to keep the whole thing together. I brought Edythe’s ideas based on her artwork and I created the book first. I wanted to have the book in the shape of the Santa, and then I sculpted on top of the book cover and sculpted the backside from that. We had to get the story, the number of pages, the way it would fold just right. We also worked with our books department to get the font type right so we could get the pages right. The pages of the book are very durable. They’re less like paper and more like card-stock.”
“This was a classic wax sculpt. I often work digitally, but if it has more of an organic, human element, it’s more enjoyable to do it in wax sculpted by hand. Plus, it makes it easier to make sure it’s true to her design and still works. We have to make sure it’s going to hang right, etc.”
Edythe: “We were working with the idea of Santa Magic, so people thought, ‘Oh it’s going to have lights and sounds,’ but we didn’t need that because it’s just the magic of the story. In the end, it felt great because a little light bulb went off, and we thought, ‘Why haven’t we done this before?’”