My hand painted glass ornaments are an increasingly popular part of the Phylogeny Art brand.
My line of ornaments is steadily growing - I add 3-4 new designs every year and plan to continue that pace for years to come.
They make great gifts to give or send individually, or they make incredible unique favors for large formal events.
I wanted to share more about the story behind my ornaments, how I design them, and how those designs go from ideas floating around in my mind to delicate works of art.
And to learn more about the ornament that I'm painting in these photos, head over to the White Birch Ornament page.
My background in painting ornaments started when I was little. As a little girl, every week Gram had a new project for me after family dinner. She would cover up her fancy dining table with an old cloth and we would get to work.
With Christmas approaching each year, Gram had a new ornament design to try. Some were stitched, others beaded. But painted ornaments were my favorite. They turned into miniature works of art. They were nothing like what I paint today - those aged glass balls with their trains and snowmen and trees - they're priceless.
I started painting ornaments again after Gram passed away, first as Christmas gifts for family members in memory of her. The business grew from there.
Since then, each and every ornament I've painted that has become a part of new holiday traditions in a new holiday home has reminded me of Gram. She would have loved to see this. Actually, she wouldn't have believed me - she would have called me "trouble"!
Many of my designs could be described as epiphanies. Sometimes they come to me while I'm driving, other times I'll wake up thinking about a new design. But I never write them down immediately (especially when I'm driving!)
I mull them over for a while, working out the intricate details in my mind for a few days until I've fully developed the design that I'm willing to sketch the design into my notebook.
My thought process pays extra attention to adding special details to each new design. I feel like those finishing touches make all the difference in making my ornaments special additions to holiday traditions. Some of my favorite details are that my tiny cardinals are surrounded by delicately falling snowflakes; a small crystal is added as the North Star shining in the night sky.
Once I've worked the details out in my mind and sketched it out in my notebook, I start painting the prototype. I get a sense early on as to whether it's going to be a hit or not.
During the prototype stage, I find that some designs still need real-life adjustment before I want them to be released into the world. Some of my designs only get released in small quantities to local events to get feedback and see how well the audience receives the design. Others have been picked up by large media outlets - for which I'm incredibly proud and thankful!
If you want to learn more about the ornament I'm painting here, head over to the White Birch Ornament page.
Each of my ornaments is personally hand painted by myself. They're my own miniature works of art, and I take pride in each and every one.
Most of the glass ball ornaments I use are smaller than the size of a standard baseball. As you might imagine, or as you may have experienced if you tried your hand at a Pinterest project, painting on a glass ball has its challenges! They're slippery and fragile. Yes - I have broken them occasionally (and it's usually right at the very end when I'm adding the finishing touches).
Customers who stop by to shop at my local shows have sometimes had a chance to watch me paint on my ornaments in person, and many of them have asked how I manage to paint such fine detail.
The answer has a few levels. First, my natural tendency is to slow down my breathing when I paint. That's true of any of my paintings, but it's particularly helpful when I'm painting the details of tiny tree branches or feathering details on my bird ornaments.
Second, the paints I use are Martha Stewart multi-surface paints that cure over 21 days. Those paints are a thick texture, so I thin them down to get an ink-like texture.
Third, I use the smallest brushes I can find. Combined with the thinned paint and my controlled breathing allow me to paint the details you see.
Oh, and those snowflakes falling from the sky? Those are a fun trick! Nope, not a brush. Do you remember puffy paints from painting on fabric and shirts back in the 90's? Well, it's not those - but it's one of those bottles. I tried using fine adaptor tips for paint bottles, but the bottles themselves were just too bulky. I found that if I emptied a bottle of fabric paint, and filled it with thick acrylic paint, it was the perfect size for applying the tiny snowflakes. I can use matte white or pearl depending on the effect I want to get.