The Nightmare Before Christmas

 

The movie “Nightmare Before Christmas” first released in 1993 has, over the years, acquired a huge cult following of fans of both Halloween and Christmas. Creator Tim Burton, a Burbank, California native expressed that “anytime there was Christmas or Halloween, it was great. It gave you some sort of texture all of a sudden that wasn’t there before.” It never left him.

There was always a thought in the back of his mind to expand on the dual theme.

1982 Burton, who was then-employed at Walt Disney Feature Animation, wrote a three-page poem entitled The Nightmare Before Christmas, drawing inspiration from television specials of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas. Burton intended to adapt the poem into a television special with the narration spoken by his favorite actor, Vincent Price who was known for his spooky spoken delivery. He also considered other options such as publishing the work as a children’s book. He created concept art and storyboards for the project in collaboration with Rick Heinrichs, who also sculpted character models for stop-action films and short movies. Initially, Disney thought the concept was a little too weird for their target audience.

Finally, in 1990, Burton worked out a deal with Disney to begin the project which was a huge success with the film being nominated for best Visual Effects.

Village Artist Tom Bates

In 2017, Department 56 has been granted the licensing rights to produce three-dimensional pieces from this popular movie, each hand crafted and hand painted in resin. Village artist, Tom Bates, enjoyed the project. He shared that he watched the movie with his daughter who loved the movie and” has seen it many, many times.” What he enjoyed most was watching the added features that showed how the Stop-motion photography was accomplished. “Each movement consisted of dozens and dozens of images put together to create a seamless action, and it they got it wrong, they had to start all over.”

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Addicted to Candy Crush

Ok, it’ true confessions time, who plays the video game “Candy Crush”? Show of hands? Who not only plays it, but is addicted to it? That’s better!

Ever wonder about how it came to be? Me, too! “Candy Crush” is a product of King Digital Entertainment, based in London, with studios in Stockholm, Sweden. The game’s inventor, Sebastian Knutsson, is credited with creating 10 of the company’s 15 worst games. I guess that means that it only takes one success to be remembered and the failures can long be forgotten.

Experts tell us that part of the fun comes from being able to play the game for free, although there are paid incentives to climb levels more rapidly. It must be a matter of patience to play the same level for hours before your capture all the correct candies.

Department 56, eager to appeal to fans, whether they be youngsters, or long time players of the game and collectors of Villages, entered into a licensing agreement for the rights to produce not only the “North Pole Candy Crush Factory”, and two adorable accessory sets, but a variety of iconic ornaments to hang from the branches of your Christmas tree. Look for “Mr. Toffee”, “Tiffy” and many of the brightly colored candies so familiar to players of the game.

What level are you on?

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Department 56: Creating Pusheen

Department 56 Sculptor Kiri Namtvedt and Artist Tate Yotter give an insider view on what it was like creating the new and quirky Department 56 Pusheen ornaments.

Sculptor Kiri:

“The first time I ever saw Pusheen I didn’t even know what her name was, but the image resonated right away because this little cat was sitting in an open refrigerator eating all the pie and I could totally relate. Pie is the best food, after all.  When I found out that we were doing Pusheen ornaments I thought it was so fun to see a three-dimensional Pusheen – so simple and round, like a pet rock, but still having all the fun adventures.”

Artist Tate:
Tate’s Cat, Tubber

“Let me start by saying that you don’t have to be a cat-lover to love Pusheen, but it definitely helps. For those of us with cats in our lives, Pusheen’s mannerisms are on point. If you don’t know Pusheen, Google her immediately, and let the giggling begin. You might remember her from Facebook. You might know her from her adorable gifs on the interweb. You may even know her from the plushies released last year by our sister company GUND.”

“If you’ve never heard of her Pusheen is a tubby little gray lady kitty. And she’s hilarious. She likes to eat pizza and doughnuts, loves spending Christmas with her fluffy friend Stormy and of course, like any cat, enjoys napping. Basically Pusheen is my spirit animal.”

“Artist Clare Belton created Pusheen. The tubby gray lady kitty was born of Clare’s comics on everydaycute.com. Sadly this site no longer exists.  But fear not! Pusheen has become an Internet sensation. This year I had the pleasure of working with Pusheen Corp and Clare in developing a line of ornaments for Department 56. I was so excited about this line and am hoping you find these little ornaments as charming as I do.”

Pusheen ornaments will be available starting this summer at your local gift retailer and at www.department56.com

©2017 Pusheen.

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Exploring the Department 56 Art & Architecture Series

The Heurtley House

The Arthur Huertly house was constructed in 1902 in Oak Park, Illinois. The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust details this iconic home by saying: “Solid and monolithic, the Heurtley house is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest residential designs. Located a short distance from Wright’s own Home and Studio in Oak Park, the house was commissioned by banker Arthur Heurtley. While the rectangular form and monumental massing of the building, evoke Wright’s earlier Winslow house of 1893, the design reflects the remarkable evolution of Wright’s work, and the emergence of his mature Prairie style design vocabulary.

Situated on an expansive lot, the house is anchored to its site by a substantial stone water table. A low-hipped roof with broad, overhanging eaves, shelters the residence. The horizontal form of the building is further emphasized by Wright’s use of two colors of Roman brick, laid in alternating, projecting bands. On the upper level of the house, in place of a decorative frieze, a continuous band of leaded glass casement windows extend across the façade.

heurtly houseEntrance to the house is via a heavy Romanesque arch. The ground floor is given over to a reception hall, a large reception room/playroom, guestrooms and a servant’s hall. Similar in concept to Wright’s Husser and Thomas houses, the principal rooms are elevated to the second story. In contrast to the darker lower level, the upstairs area is defined by airy, open and contiguous light-filled spaces. At the heart of the home, a substantial arched fireplace occupies a central position in the living room. In form and material, the fireplace echoes the prominent arch on the exterior of the building. Leaded glass windows that line the west side of the house, flood the main living spaces with light. An open air elevated porch, accessed via French doors in the living room, blurs the division between interior and exterior space.” For more information visit http://flwright.org/researchexplore/wrightbuildings/arthurheurtleyhouse

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“Heurtley House” by Department 56

American Gothic

Sold to the Art institute of Chicago by the artist himself, Grant Wood, in November of 1930 the American Gothic painting transforms into a beautiful Village piece.

american gothicThe Art Institute of Chicago writes “This familiar image was exhibited publicly for the first time at the Art Institute of Chicago, winning a three-hundred-dollar prize and instant fame for Grant Wood. The impetus for the painting came while Wood was visiting the small town of Eldon in his native Iowa. There he spotted a little wood farmhouse, with a single oversized window, made in a style called Carpenter Gothic. “I imagined American Gothic people with their faces stretched out long to go with this American Gothic house,” he said. He used his sister and his dentist as models for a farmer and his daughter, dressing them as if they were “tintypes from my old family album.” The highly detailed, polished style and the rigid frontality of the two figures were inspired by Flemish Renaissance art, which Wood studied during his travels to Europe between 1920 and 1926. After returning to settle in Iowa, he became increasingly appreciative of Midwestern traditions and culture, which he celebrated in works such as this. American Gothic, often understood as a satirical comment on the Midwestern character, quickly became one of America’s most famous paintings and is now firmly entrenched in the nation’s popular culture. Yet Wood intended it to be a positive statement about rural American values, an image of reassurance at a time of great dislocation and disillusionment. The man and woman, in their solid and well-crafted world, with all their strengths and weaknesses, represent survivors.” For more information visit http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/6565

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“American Gothic, Set of 2” by Department 56

 

 

 

Also in the Art & Architecture Series:

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“The Chrysler Building” by Department 56

The Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Center is located on 42nd Street between Lexington and Third Avenue on the east side of Midtown Manhattan. Built in 1930, the building underwent purchase and renovation in 1998 with completion by mid-2000 creating a total rental area of 2,062,772 square feet. Amazing 360-degree views of Manhattan and the outlying area overlooking the East River, Central Park, Times Square, and Grand Central Terminal.

Still want to learn more? Consider checking out the following links:
http://www.tishmanspeyer.com/properties/chrysler-center
http://untappedcities.com/2015/02/19/top-10-secrets-of-the-chrysler-building-in-nyc/10/

 

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“Neuschwanstein Castle” by Department 56

Neuschwanstein Castle

“Seven weeks after the death of King Ludwig II in 1886, Neuschwanstein was opened to the public. The shy king had built the castle in order to withdraw from public life – now vast numbers of people came to view his private refuge. Today Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular of all the palaces and castles in Europe. Every year 1.4 million people visit “the castle of the fairy-tale king”. In the summer around 6,000 visitors a day stream through rooms that were intended for a single inhabitant.”

Still want to learn more? Consider checking out the following links:
http://www.neuschwanstein.de/englisch/palace/
http://www.schloesser.bayern.de/englisch/palace/objects/neuschw.htm

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