Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Ornate Ornament Display at the Timken Links Classroom and Community

Ornate Ornament Display at the Timken Links Classroom and Community

Photo credit: Raindrop Marketing

The holiday season in San Diego sparks the return of many well-established traditions, including the Timken Museum of Art’s extensive display of the Hord and Schlappi ornament collection. This year, the exhibition has been revitalized with the help of SDSU students from the MFA in Design and Technology program in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film.

Numbering over 2,000, the ornaments are a collection of unique, handmade works (often compared with Fabergé eggs) that were designed and created over the span of 80 years by local San Diego artisans Florence Hord and Elizabeth Schlappi. Since 1988, the vast collection of elaborate ornaments has been displayed on the Timken holiday tree.

This December, the ornaments will extend beyond the tree and immerse museumgoers in holiday cheer. The entryway and hallway of the museum, along with the main lobby area, will be decorated with the intricate works of Hord and Schlappi.

The Project

“I had heard about these unique ornaments prior to arriving at the Timken in 2015. However, when I saw them in person, and I realized the history and craftsmanship that went into each piece, it became my personal mission to find a way to showcase the entire collection within the Timken walls. We are thrilled to work with the talented graduate students and faculty of SDSU and look forward to unveiling their creative display this holiday season,” said Timken Executive Director Megan Pogue.

Over the past few years, the Timken Museum has forged collaborative ties with SDSU. Denitsa Bliznakova, head of the Costume and Design Program at SDSU, along with D.J. Hopkins, Director of the School of Theatre, Television, & Film, worked closely with the team at the Timken, and together the group focused on project related to the Hord and Schlappi collection.

“They (the Timken team) were interested in collaborating with our students in creating a beautiful installation that would attract many visitors to the museum over the holidays,” Bliznakova said. “The Timken team was excited to be able to carry on the Hord and Schlappi tradition in a new way, all the while offering the chance to inspire the next generation of design students.”

The SDSU Students

The ten students involved in the installation are enrolled in a class at SDSU titled Collaborative Studies and are each pursuing an MFA in Design and Technology. Their respective emphases are scene design, lighting design, costume design, and technical directing.

This year’s display of ornaments was based upon the most favored of three installation ideas that were developed after of a month’s worth of collaboration and brainstorming. The finished project concept gained approval by the board of the Timken after providing the students feedback.

Not only were the graduate students responsible for conceptualizing a design, they are also in charge of creating and installing the displays. The students envisioned and implemented a design that will showcase the most special ornaments while creating an immersive experience. The display is a multimedia, and incorporates a brief film introducing the installation, the history of the ornaments, and the collaboration between the Timken and SDSU.

“At SDSU, we have a long tradition of working with the community,” said Joyce Gattas, Dean of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts. “The partnership with the Timken is yet another example of how collaboration benefits students and the community. Our students are provided an opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom, and the Timken is able to present a state-of-the-art installation for the community’s enjoyment.”

The Hord and Schlappi collection will be on display from Friday, Dec. 2 until Saturday, Dec. 31 at the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Museum admission is free and open to the public.

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