I'm representing Mississippi this year for the National Christmas Tree in Washington D.C.
Thank you to the Mississippi Arts Commission for nominating me.
Twelve of my handcrafted ornaments are featured in the 2016 National Christmas Tree display, called America Celebrates: Ornaments from across the USA, in Washington, D.C. I'm a member of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi and a Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) Roster artist, and was selected by MAC to represent Mississippi for the 94th annual display.
My ornaments adorn one of the 56 trees representing each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia from December 1, 2016 through January 1, 2017. The trees form the Pathway of Peace, a walkway open to the public that surrounds the National Christmas Tree at the Ellipse at President's Park, south of the White House. During the month of December last year, the National Christmas Tree site saw more than 250,000 visitors. See photos of the ornaments and the tree in Washington D.C. on Facebook (no need for an account).
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama officially lit the National Christmas Tree on Dec. 1st at the annual ceremony. Watch the whole star-studded holiday event on YouTube.
My ornaments depict birds native to Mississippi. Each contains a wing feather from a Mississippi eastern wild turkey, on which I have painted one of twelve different birds that frequent my neighborhood near the Natchez Trace Parkway. Watch a short video where I show my whole process for creating the ornaments (and listen for the music "Happy This Christmas", which includes myself on bassoon and my husband on violin, which was recorded here in Jackson last summer).
I’m honored to be a part of this project and hope that my painted feathers will bring awareness to the wonderful wildlife that lives in our state, and to the National Park Service, which maintains the Natchez Trace Parkway, a jewel that runs through our city and our state.
Presented by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation, the National Christmas Tree Lighting is one of America’s oldest and most beloved holiday traditions. The first National Christmas Tree lighting took place on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a 48-foot fir tree decorated with 2,500 electric bulbs in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse. Since that day, each succeeding president has carried on the tradition, which continues to bring Americans together in hope and peace.
For information on the National Christmas Tree, visit www.thenationaltree.org and follow the National Christmas Tree on Twitter at @TheNationalTree and the hashtag #NCTL2016.