Connecting to collect - collecting to connect

Nina Aubé

Hallmark Artist

Date started at Hallmark: July 1981
Date started at Keepsakes: November 1994
Hometown: Chicago, IL

Nina Aubé was telling people she was going to be an artist almost from the day she first spoke in complete sentences.

She doesn't remember it herself, but her sisters recall a nearly perfect ear of corn sculpted from children's modeling clay by the self-proclaimed future artist. And their enthusiastic appreciation of Nina's efforts had much to do with her development. The sisters would even play art-based games together, a particular favorite of which Nina called "Draw in the Dark." You can easily guess how the game was played and how much giggling took place once the lights came on and the unpredictable results became visible.

Nina's artistic gifts occasionally caused problems at school. Classmates would plead with her to complete their art projects for them. And her attention during math class would sometimes be more strongly fixed on a sketch taking shape in the margin of a worksheet than on what was taking place at the chalkboard.

A running theme in Nina's art has been fashion. As a girl, she loved drawing women sporting the trendy styles of the '60s and '70s. If you look closely, you'll sometimes find unique clothing touches embellishing the signature sweetness of Nina Aubé's Keepsake Ornament designs.



4th in the series

?This is from the Cookie Cutter Christmas series. The inspiration for this one was my love for baking and sweets. I still use my grandmother?s old aluminum cookie cutters, so that was the inspiration for the little shadow boxes where the characters live.

I grew up in Chicago and I raised hamsters, birds and gerbils because we couldn?t have bigger pets. I used to make shadow box scenes and handmade outfits to create a whole world with little characters living in a big world. Dreaming of sugar plums is something I did all the time as a kid?I?ve always been crazy about candy.?

10th and Final in the Noelville series

?I inherited the Noelville series from Linda Sickman in 2012, so I?ve done the last four gingerbread houses. Since they?re all gingerbread houses, once again I?m working with sweets.

This one is a clock shop, which is personal to me because my dad used to collect clocks. I?d go to auctions and antique shops with him, and he?d buy clocks that were in disrepair. He?d then come home and clean them all up and get them working again. I did this ornament in a cuckoo shape because my dad had a lot of those types of clocks. Plus, I have birds at home.?


?I grew up in the city, but I have memories of going berry picking with my two sisters and my mom. I thought it would be a cute idea to have two strawberries in an old-fashioned basket, like two friends who picked each other.

The friend I would give this ornament to is my mother. She?s my best friend, she?s my confidant?she?s just amazing. Even if she weren?t my mother, I?d still pick her as a best friend.?


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