Artist Profile: Terri Steiger

Hallmark Senior Artist

Started at Hallmark:

August 21, 1996

Started at Keepsakes:
January 2003

Cleveland, Ohio

Terri comes from an artistic family—several of her siblings have creative jobs or hobbies. Her mother is a quilter and her father likes to build objects (he is currently building a boat). Both parents have always encouraged creative solutions to their children’s projects.

While in school, Terri loved to draw and create things. She particularly enjoyed 3-D projects, such as making a miniature replica of a fort and clay models of the human muscular system for a science fair. She went on to graduate from the Columbus College of Art and Design.

After college, she was recruited by Hallmark and became a greeting card designer. A few years later, she decided to freelance, which gave her an opportunity to travel around the U.S. and to take a mission trip to Russia. Missing Hallmark, she returned and eventually worked in almost all the creative areas. She was drawn to Keepsakes because she always liked making 3-D gifts, plus she enjoyed learning something new. A self-described “research junkie,” she finds inspiration for her ornaments everywhere.

At home, Terri loves to sew and do art projects with her two adopted daughters from China. Not surprisingly, her favorite ornament is the 2007 Chinese take-out box with the symbol for double happiness on its side and the fortune cookie that says, “What good fortune to have each other!”

Terri’s Ornament Gallery
Terri’s Ornament List


Graduation Day (2016)

Graduation Day

These days, Terri Steiger is experiencing life’s big moments across the generations. This spring, Terri’s niece will graduate from high school in Cincinnati and she’s seeing many similar milestones happening among her friends as well. “I’m at the age where a lot of my friends’ kids are graduating from high school,” Terri says. “Some of them are getting married and having kids, too.” So it’s been the perfect time to create Keepsake Ornaments celebrating milestones from baby’s first Christmas to graduation. “I really like doing these,” says Terri, who’s been a Keepsake artist for about 10 years. “It’s the best job I’ve had here and I’ve pretty-much-done everything—love the people, love the products we make. It’s like Christmas every day!”

For this 2016 graduation piece, she used porcelain and a real tassel. “We felt like it should be a premium material for such a special occasion,” Terri says. “And we just wanted to keep it classic and simple.” Like she does with all of her ornaments, Terri started with sketches and then uploaded the drawings into Photoshop and Illustrator, so she could make minor adjustments on screen. The columns and banner give it an iconic, campus-style feel. She wanted the graduate’s photo to really stand out, so for the sample image, she chose someone jumping instead of a standard portrait. “I think that picture captures how most kids feel about their high school or college graduation.” This ornament can be found in Gold Crown stores now in the Celebrations section.

Beary Cute (2016)
Baby’s First Christmas

Beary Cute

It doesn’t get much more straightforward than celebrating baby’s first Christmas. Keyword: adorable. That’s how you end up with a Christmas bear holding a pacifier in its mouth and pulling a wagon that holds a frame. “The bear was added, you know, for cuteness,” Terri said. Yes, sometimes it’s just that simple! This ornament “bears” a very strong resemblance to a lot of the characters that Terri used to design for kids greeting cards before she moved to the Keepsake Studio. At Hallmark, they’re casually referred to as “bringers,” which means a critter of some kind on the cover who is helping the card-giver bring hugs or kisses or wishes for a wonderful day to a special child. That’s true whether they’re being delivered across the room or across the miles. And with this delightful ornament, it could be friends, relatives or the parents themselves doing the delivering. “The basic idea was that babies are a gift,” Terri says. “And the photo holder makes it easy for people to personalize.”

Our First Christmas (2016)

Our First Christmas (2016)

When Terri creates a concept for a photo holder ornament, she wants to make sure the look of the piece doesn’t get in the way of the picture. And just like the 2016 graduation ornament, Terri created this couple’s ornament to have a simple and elegant tone that allows the image to stand out. “I wanted to keep it white with little highlights of glitter,” Terri says. “I felt like that would really make the photograph pop.” She chose a sample image of a couple kissing because she liked the intimacy of the moment. The ornament features a raised, embossed surface and a ribbon attachment. The depth of the photo holder creates a shadowbox effect and the back has a sticker for easy personalization. Whether it’s an ornament or a frame, Terri always tries to mix in something new. “I like to vary the shape and not just have it be a rectangle or a square,” Terri says. “That’s why I chose a snowy tree scene.”

New Home (2014)

New Home (2014)

Terri loves to play with texture—something you can clearly see in this year’s “New Home” ornament. Thanks to her attention to detail, the cookie walls and fondant rooftop look good enough to eat. Terri’s inspiration came from gingerbread house competitions where professional bakers present an array of candy flourishes. She purposely avoided the use of gumdrops and lollipops to put a sweet and simple spin on the traditional gingerbread house.

A Season of Faith (2014)

A Season of Faith

As a designer, Terri likes playing with colors and styles that make a statement. Her affinity for porcelain made the choice of materials for this ornament an easy one. “The hole in the middle has a sea-glass-colored bead hanging there. It felt a little like Jesus hanging on the cross. That’s how I wanted the word ‘Faith’ to stand out.”

Born in Our Hearts Adoption (2014)

Born in Our Hearts Adoption

As a parent of two adopted children, Terri wanted to add a Keepsake Ornament to this year’s selection that spoke to families like hers. “Born in our hearts” is a common adoption phrase that will resonate with any adoptive family. But the tree holds a particularly special meaning. As Terri puts it, “Adoption is like grafting branches onto a tree. To me, it’s final, it’s complete.” She kept the colors simple with just a touch of glitter so that the design would work well in any home.


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