Back in the late 1990’s, shortly after returning from living in England, I was hired to sculpt some Christmas ornaments. For about a six month period I sculpted around 20 or so pieces for the Kurt S. Adler company. They produce a huge number of ornaments every year, from traditional holiday styles to licensed character designs. It always amused me to be working on Christmas ornaments in the middle of summer.
We were living on Long Island at the time and I would take the train into Manhattan to their offices in Madison Square to pick up assignments and show works in progress. Most of the pieces were blow-molded so they could not be overly detailed. Some of the ornaments were resin and had more detail but I’m saving the best for last.
I sculpted quite a few characters. Some were licenses they had done for may years like Betty Boop, Popeye, the Poppin’ Fresh Doughboy and the Peanuts gang. They had recently picked up a new license, Mario, and I sculpted some of the first ornaments of the little plumber boy. (sorry). These ornaments were usually done in groups of three but I don’t have samples of everything I worked on.
The coolest ornament assignment was a sculpt of Sesame Street’s own Cookie Monster. This was not a simple plastic molded ornament. This was to be one of their special Polonaise blown-glass ornaments. They only produced a limited number of these each year since they were hand-blown and painted in Poland. I was thrilled to be working on something I had not done before and also happy to be working on a Henson project again. I had to bring my wax sculpt up to the Children’s Television Workshop offices a few times for review and revision. I got one sample of the finished project and have displayed it with the original wax sculpt in my office for years. Sadly the paint was damaged over the years but I was able to find another on eBay a few years back.
Later that year I started as the design director at The Idea Factory and so I had to stop taking freelance sculpting jobs. More cool stuff soon.