Started at Hallmark:
Started at Keepsakes:
Born in Tampa, Florida
United States Air Force
Patricia Andrews doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a love for art. Her childhood motto was “If I have any spare time, I could be drawing.”
She remembers looking forward to days when her father would bring home paper from his office. Treasuring it as she did, Patricia divided each piece evenly into four separate pieces so her supply would last longer. She used that paper to spend many happy hours illustrating stories. Some she made up herself, others came from something she had either read or seen on television.
Knowing they had a genuine artist on their hands, Patricia’s parents put her in an adult art class at the age of 8, where she managed to hold her own and even outdo some grown-ups. This passion for any art medium continued throughout school.
There was very little three-dimensional curriculum offered at Auburn University. Instead, she majored in drawing and graphic design, not realizing there was potential for having a sculpting career. After graduating in 1976, she landed a job at Hallmark in the Engraving Studio because of the high detail in her college portfolio. This was the first stop for her and many fine sculptors and future Keepsakes colleagues Lynn Norton, Don Palmiter, John Francis, and Dill Rhodus (her husband).
Disney Aladdin (2017)
When her daughters were little, in the 1990s, Patricia Andrews vividly remembers them singing and dancing to the iconic Disney animated movies of that era. (Parents of Disney’s Frozen generation will understand exactly where she’s coming from.)
“They’d play them over and over and dance all around the living room,” Patricia says. “They knew every word and all the lyrics.” This was back in the days of the VCR, of course. And they watched the movies so many times, the tapes eventually wore out and had to be replaced.
As the girls grew up, Disney continued to be woven through their lives. Daughter Andrea was in a 5th grade production of The Lion King that included every word from the movie and lasted nearly four hours. Laughing at the memory, Patricia says, “I don’t think the teacher knew what she was getting into. But Andrea didn’t need to rehearse very much!” And then daughter Liz worked as an intern at Walt Disney World in Orlando for two semesters during college.
So it’s only fitting for Patricia to work on Keepsake Ornaments that celebrate Disney animation’s legendary moments, like the magic carpet scene from Aladdin. Partnering with Keepsake Artist Jim Kemme, Patricia designed the carpet, Jasmine and Aladdin, and he handled the cloud base with the small palace scene.
Patricia searched through the movie, almost frame by frame, before finding a scene with just the right emotion. She says, “It’s important to research and capture that ‘perfect moment’ when the two characters start to fall in love.” She wanted to have them close enough together so that it could be molded as one piece without making it seem like they’re squished together.
She considered the finer details as well, like the turban’s plume and the carpet tassels. They would need to show the detail without being fragile on the final piece. “That just comes from being in Keepsakes a long time,” Patricia says.
A button on the back of the ornament plays the film’s iconic song “A Whole New World,” transporting fans, young and old, back to their own living-room concerts.
In the Swing (2017)
Her daughters had finished college by the time Tangled came out in 2010, so there weren’t any living room concerts in honor of Rapunzel. But Patricia is still a big fan of Disney’s take on the fairy-tale character. And as she sat down to create her first version of this swinging ornament, she knew her greatest challenge would be knowing where to put all that hair!
“It was a fine balance of figuring out the right length of Rapunzel’s hair but still keeping it out of the way of the swing,” Patricia says. “We wanted to make sure she would rock perfectly without her feet or dress getting hung up on the base.”
That meant a lot of experimenting with multiple materials—clay for the tree, wax for Rapunzel, wire for the swing and Sculpey® polymer molding material for the rest. Every time something didn’t line up properly, pieces would break or bend, and she’d have to go back to the drawing board.
Since this ornament features solar-powered motion, she also needed to find a place for that tiny solar panel, as well as making sure the magnets in the bottom of Rapunzel’s dress and in the base would be close enough to react and make her swing. “It was challenging and frustrating at times,” says Patricia. “Like trying to juggle something on every finger on both your hands.”
When they finally hit on the perfect spacing, Patricia felt relieved and a bit surprised. “I thought: Wow, I did it. Whew!”