Orville Wilson knew he’d work at Hallmark from a very young age. “When I was little, I was always drawing. I even won a few contests at school. My mother always said I would work at Hallmark one day.” As we all know, Mom knows best, and Orville found his way to the marketing department at Hallmark in 2016, where he spent much of his time designing the Dream Book. It was not long after that Orville’s manager said there was an opening in the Keepsake Village. “I jumped at the opportunity,” he says. “I had spent my free time learning to create 3D designs. So I scrambled to pull them all together and even re-rendered a bunch of them to create a portfolio.” That portfolio that got him an interview-and onto the team.
“Growing up in Kansas City, I always wanted to work for Hallmark,” Anita Marra Rogers says. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t good enough at two-dimensional artwork to get in the door.” That’s hard to believe, coming from someone who’s in her 38th year in the Keepsake Studio. “But luckily, I met Peter Dutkin, a Keepsake artist at the time. And he looked at my work and told me I had talent.” He showed her around the department, and that’s when she spotted a few of the artists sculpting ornament designs. “It looked like so much fun! I just knew I had to try my hand at it.” With a little encouragement, Anita had found her calling. She assembled a new portfolio filled with 3D artwork. And that’s how we ended up with more than 600 of Anita’s designs.
-Hallmark For Keeps: Volume 22 • 2023
Anita Marra Rogers’ Star Trek ornaments: 1995 Picard, 1995 Kirk, 1996 Spock, 1996 Riker, 1997 McCoy, 1997 Data, 1998 Janeway, 1999 Worf, 2000 Seven of Nine, 2000 Worf (Blown Glass), 2001 Sisko, 2001 Q (Blown Glass), 2002 The Doctor, 2003 The Scorpion (w/ Lynn Norton), 2003 Archer, 2003 T’Pol, 2004 Tucker, 2004 ”The City on the Edge of Forever”, 2005 Khan, 2005 Locutus of Borg, 2006 The Transporter Chamber, 2007 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 2007 Uhura Red, 2009 ”The Menagerie”, 2009 Uhura Gold, 2010 Kirk Legend, 2010 ”Amok Time”, 2011 Spock Legend, 2012 McCoy Legend, 2013 Scotty Legend, 2014 Sulu Legend, 2015 Uhura Legend, 2016 Chekov Legend
Jake Angell had previous experience with Hallmark Star Trek ornaments but he really made his mark with his work on the Storyteller series.
Not only has he made many of the Storytellers characters but he is credited with the Enterprise Tree Topper that has become so familiar on many nerd Christmas trees.
Robert Chad only sculpted one Star Trek ornament but his solo venture was a duo doozie.
Arex and M’Ress were characters from the often overlooked Star Trek: The Animated Series but they hold a special place in the hearts of those that watched them on Saturday mornings in the early 70s.
In 2018, Chad was called upon to sculpt a rare two ornament set. The ornaments were available at San Diego Comic-Con, Las Vegas Star Trek Convention and New York Comic Con and limited to a run of 2,800.
On occasion, Hallmark has released an ornament that is classified as a Special Limited Edition. These ornaments have larger run numbers than the Special Event ornaments that spring up at conventions but not quite the quantity that the normal Keepsakes line has.
The Special Limited Edition Ilia Probe ornament was Julie Forsyth’s first and only Star Trek sculpt. Even with her sparse Trek resume, Forsyth has made quite the impact with other lines with Hallmark. Artistic talent runs in the family, Julie has worked side by side at Hallmark with her sister, Sue Tague.
Hallmark only produced three blown glass Star Trek ornaments and Rich LaPierre was responsible for one of them.
In 1999, LaPierre designed the two sided oblong ornament. On one side, the profile of the U.S.S. Enterprise on a starry background and the opposite side emblazoned with the words STAR TREK in that familiar Trek font.
This rare blown glass ornament gives some extra sparkle on every Trek tree it hangs from.
Emma Leturgez-Smith “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing, painting or sculpting. When I was a teenager, I started to get the wild idea that maybe I was onto something.”
“Video games, cartoons and landscapes are big sources of inspiration for me, but sometimes random things like an appealing combination of colors can also be inspiring.”
“Most of the ornaments I’ve sculpted from home were done with a talkative Parrot hooting in my ear.”1
Lynn Norton has a fleet of over thirty Star Trek ship ornaments under his belt beginning with the original Enterprise ornament in 1991. Norton details that endeavor, “Now, I also had to fight the initial idea of having a string of garland hanging along the edge of the primary hull, and Santa Claus popping out of the bridge — true story! I wanted to make it as accurate as possible.”
“At Hallmark, Don Palmiter, Dill Rhodus and I brought fine scale model-making to the ornament business. We really had to convince our art directors we could go beyond cute and traditional and make really believable small models to be used as ornaments.“ 2
“I consider the ships I have sculpted to be like characters rather than objects,” he says. “Each is recognizable, and almost as specific as a human face. I’m looking at them as a fan, of course — I’ve been watching since the first broadcast—but also as a sculptor who appreciates their beauty and qualities as icons.”4
Hallmark has made three Star Trek ornaments with Magic Motion and happily they all have a Tribble theme. The first of the Tribble ornaments was released in 2008 and brought about by Hallmark artist Don Palmiter, his only venture into the Star Trek ornament universe.
“The Trouble with Tribbles” design is the most complex Star Trek ornament as it incorporates a hidden belt system to recycle the miniature Tribbles and uses a special anti-static coating to keep the foam Tribbles from clumping together as they fall.
Magic Motion would be revisited twice more in 2019 and 2020 when the furry Tribbles would become life size.
Responsible for the most famous Hallmark Star Trek ornament of all time, Dill Rhodus was the artist who brought the Shuttlecraft Galileo to life.
There is a huge population that grew up hearing ”Shuttlecraft to Enterprise, Shuttlecraft to Enterprise. Spock here. Happy Holidays. Live long and prosper” every December.
If Lynn Norton is the king of Star Trek ship ornaments then Anita Marra Rogers is certainly the queen of the the Star Trek character ornaments.
Rogers would contribute more than thirty Star Trek ornaments during her career. Her Trek career began with Captains Kirk and Picard in 1995 and went through the Star Trek Legends series more than twenty years later. From 1991 through 2016 Rogers would be responsible for all but two of the character ornaments.
Rogers would also make her mark with some of the scene ornaments including “The City on the Edge of Forever” in 2004. ”I just love that episode. It has everything that’s made Star Trek so popular for so long.”5
”After so much research on the characters, I couldn’t help but get interested in all the journeys and battles and mysteries. And there’s such depth to the characters they’ve developed for the various series. I call myself a fan now. Not quite a Trekker, but definitely a fan.” 5
In five years, from 2011-2015, Valerie Shanks was the artist behind some of the most memorable ornaments in the Star Trek line.
“I love Star Trek, so (2013’s ”Arena”) was one ornament I really wanted to do! I sculpted the characters on the computer, so I got to print them out in 3D and pose them to make sure everything fit together well. The real challenge was making the rock look real—that’s what I like the most. I wanted it to have a nice texture that felt like limestone.”
“Go big or go home” seems to be the motto of Orville Wilson who is responsible for two of the largest Star Trek items in Hallmark’s line. In 2016, Wilson’s ”To Boldly Go” table topper was released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.
Just three years later a new take on the Transporter Chamber was offered up by Wilson in a similar scale as his last piece.
The previous Transporter Chamber ornament of 2006 measured 4.25” high while Wilson’s measures a whopping 7.6”.
1998, Deep Space Nine and Voyager were on the air and Star Trek: Insurrection was in theaters. Hallmark had only released its 16th and 17th Star Trek ornaments and Kevin Dilmore interviewed longtime Hallmark Star Trek artists Anita Marra Rogers and Lynn Norton for Star Trek Communicator magazine. The magazine, a bimonthly publication of the Official Star Trek Fan Club, folded in 2005.
A big ‘thank you’ to the wonderful reader who sent me this article.
“It is Paramount’s criteria that the characters do not have a hook in any part of their bodies. Therefore, we have to incorporate a part of their environment with them as a vehicle to place the ornament hook.”
Anita Marra Rogers
Within two years Seven of Nine would have a hook driven into her cranium, a practice that continues with character ornaments to this day.
This book tells the stories of Keepsake artists, their families, hobbies and the mystery of creativity itself…ordinary stories that reveal the extraordinary talent that’s made Keepsake the innovative leader in christmas ornaments for so many years.
Star Trek – Lynn Norton – U.S.S. Bellwether Mixed Media Sculpture 18″ x 11″ x 8.5″
Literature: See Star Trek: 50 Artists 50 Years, Titan Books, London, p.77 (illus).
Fictional starship display model, U.S.S. BELLWETHER, NX-90866, INGRESS CLASS science vessel with experimental METAWARP propulsion by Lynn A. Norton.
Lynn A. Norton is an artist who, since 1991, has sculpted nearly all of the Star Trek starship ornaments that have been produced by Hallmark for their beloved and bestselling Keepsake Ornaments line. Norton sculpts and prototypes original patterns for ornaments and toys from his personal home studio. His process remains the same as always. He starts by making detailed drawings and then employs engraving tools to hand-carve the ornaments from synthetic wood. Though Norton technically retired back in 2006, he continues to sculpt Hallmark’s Star Trek Keepsake Ornaments. As he told author John Peterson for the book Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments: The Inside Stories from the Artists Who Create Them, “I’d like nothing better than to sculpt starship ornaments until my fingers fall off.” He lives in Leawood, Kansas.
Comic-Con International San Diego, CA, United States July 21 – July 24, 2016 at Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts 363 5th Avenue San Diego, CA
Star Trek Convention Las Vegas, NV, United States August 3 – August 7, 2016
Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) Toronto, Canada August 19 – September 5, 2016
The Paley Center for Media New York, NY, United States September 16 – September 25, 2016
Destination Star Trek Birmingham, United Kingdom October 7 – October 9, 2016
Star Trek: The Exhibition Blackpool, United Kingdom October 14 – October 31, 2016
French Paper Gallery Paris, France November 10 – November 26, 2016
Star Trek: 50 Artists. 50 Years. Shoreditch, London, United Kingdom December 13 – December 18, 2016
Star Trek Cruise I Miami, FL, United States (*Note – The cruise sailed the Caribbean to Cozumel, Mexico and the Bahamas returning to Miami) January 9 – January 16, 2017
Chabot Space & Science Center San Francisco, CA, United States February 3 – March 12, 2017
Middle East Film & Comic Con Dubai, United Arab Emirates April 6 – April 8, 2017
Lynn Norton is a 3D artist who has sculpted nearly all of Hallmark’s “Star Trek” ornaments since 1991. “I imagine the ship I’ve designed to be a science vessel that is capable of exploring the galaxy beyond the range of existing Federation craft,”