Taylor contributes art to museum
December 7, 2005
While Judy Taylor usually paints with watercolors, some of her most popular works don’t hang on walls; they hang on trees.
Each year since 1995, Taylor has drawn the designs for the Christmas ornaments sold by the Park City Historical Society and Museum.
Every year, the historical society board of directors gives her a subject usually a local historical building, but sometimes a something else, a stagecoach or a fire truck along with a group of pictures capturing the subject. Taylor does some research and then, if she can, seeks out the subjects and sketches them, finding different angles and perspectives as she maps out a final drawing.
In early fall, she submits a final proof to the historical society for approval, and then the drawing is sent to the ornament’s Connecticut manufacturer. The ornaments are then unveiled at the Historical Society’s annual Dungeon Party in October.
While each ornament is different, all are similar shiny, flat, die-cut brass, a few inches wide in the shape of the subject, with intricate details cut into the surface and for the past few years, a few raised surfaces. They are tiny pieces of shaped brass lacework.
"We’re getting more sophisticated with the 3-D, and we’re starting to put paint on them," said Taylor.
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But this year’s ornament would still be equally at home hanging among a mish-mash of art-class ornaments or on a Victorian-themed tree trimmed by the most tasteful decorator.
"We’ve been very successful with them," Taylor said.
The ornaments are a small fundraiser for the Historical Society and Museum, but according to the Sandra Morrison, executive director of the organization, the nonprofit organizes the projects with another aim in mind.
"It’s really more of an educational thing," said Morrison. The ornaments, she explained, promote the historical society’s mission and the organization itself.
"It’s an opportunity for us to get some Park City history out and on people’s Christmas trees," she said.
She said the organization has been making the ornaments since 1990. The subjects aren’t chosen by any specific process. Occasionally, one presents itself; the historical society featured the Miner’s Hospital on the year of its 100th anniversary and its stagecoach when the organization obtained the object. This year the subject, a 1926 fire engine, stemmed from the fire truck that will be part of the museum’s upcoming expansion.
This year, for the first time the museum, has also organized Christmas cards featuring the fire truck. The cards are designed by Taylor.
"I guess the fire department, when they saw the ornament, they asked to have a card," she said. Both the cards and the Christmas ornament projects fit perfectly into Taylor’s area of expertise.
"I like to do the historic buildings and I have lots of prints and cards that are of the historic buildings," she said.
She has practiced her trade around town for years. A 32-year resident of the Thanes Canyon-area, Taylor owned her own Main Street art gallery for 9 years, selling her watercolors and other works, and from 1986-1990, her husband, Hal, was Mayor of Park City.
Before coming to Utah, Taylor worked as a commercial artist for 13 years in the San Francisco area. But she said her heart was always with her painting.
"Fine art is the most rewarding," she said.
While advertisements and newspaper pages are thrown away daily, she noted that fine art endures. That’s part of the reason she likes working on the Christmas ornaments for the historical society.
"Seeing the ornament hanging for years on somebody’s tree is a reward in itself," she said.
With the ornaments, Taylor noted, she can see her work all over town and she can see it promoting a cause historical preservation and education she supports. She simply said she was grateful that she had the chance.
"I’m flattered that they choose me to do it," she said. "And it’s a pleasure to walk into somebody’s house and see it on somebody’s tree."
The cards and Christmas ornaments are available from the Park City Historical Society and Museum on Main Street. Flat ornaments are $10 and 3-D ones are $20. For more information, go to http://www.parkcityhistory.org or call 649-7457. Judy’s Taylor’s paintings are available at Stone Art Gallery and the Phoenix Gallery. For more information on Taylor’s work, go to http://www.judytaylorartworks.com.