Design from Beckley, Barboursville artists selected as First Lady Cathy Justice’s official 2023 Christmas ornament

PRESS RELEASE:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – First Lady Cathy Justice joined West Virginia Arts, Culture and History Curator Randall Reid-Smith, on Tuesday, to unveil her official 2023 limited edition Christmas ornament.

This year’s ornament was created and designed by West Virginia artists John DesMeules of Beckley, a renowned glassblower in residence at Tamarack, and Christie Saunders of Barboursville, a talented artist who is a juried member of the West Virginia Watercolor Society.

W.Va. First Lady Cathy Justice’s official 2023 Christmas ornament, designed by Christie Saunders of Barboursville and John DesMeules of Beckley.

DesMeules crafted a hand-blown round glass ornament swirled with gold and white accents, featuring a sandblasted area on the front, which served as the perfect canvas for Saunders.

First Lady Justice worked with Saunders to conceptualize a heartwarming scene of two children beneath a Christmas tree, wrapped in a starry night with the words, “shine bright,” echoing a message of inspiration for all children. 

“I wanted to emphasize the children of our state this year,” First Lady Justice said. “Christmas is such a special time for everyone, but the nostalgia of this season is centered around children and different family traditions that bring everyone together. John and Christie did an incredible job with these ornaments. Saying that these two artists put forth a labor of love to complete this project would be an understatement. I hope these ornaments bring joy to everyone who takes one home, because I know they will for me.”

According to DesMeules, the whimsical ornament was created by gold and white colors of sand being placed into the heated glass and then blown to size. He sandblasted the oval surface, then drilled a small hole into the bottom for a battery-operated light to be inserted. Once DesMeules finished the glass bulb, it would be sent off to Saunders to use the oval surface as her canvas. 

“I am honored and blessed to have been chosen a second time for the First Lady’s Christmas ornament. It was a privilege to partner with a fellow West Virginia artisan to continue this holiday tradition,” DesMeules said.

Artists John DesMeules of Beckley and Christie Saunders of Barboursville show off their Christmas ornament alongside First Lady Cathy Justice.

“I love this ornament,” Christie Saunders said. “It takes me back to my childhood when life was much simpler. I remember decorating the tree with my family and some of my favorite gifts I would receive. Completing these ornaments brought back great memories I had forgotten about. I was honored when my design was selected for this year’s ornament.”

The limited number of 500 ornaments are priced at $35 each and are only available at the Tamarack Marketplace at The Culture Center in Charleston.

Those interested in purchasing an ornament may call (304) 205-7911 and leave a voicemail with their name and phone number. 

It is strongly recommended that anyone leaving a voicemail leave only their name and number, not their credit card information. If you need your ornament shipped, Tamarack will advise on packaging and shipping costs. 

The Tamarack Marketplace at The Culture Center hours are 9:00 am-4:30 pm Tuesday-Saturday. Any voicemails left regarding the ornaments while the shop is closed will be returned in the order they were received.

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