Hord & SchLappi Ornaments

Hord & SchLappi Ornaments

The Timken Museum of Art Partners with San Diego State University to showcase annual holiday display of Hord & SchLappi Ornaments. Glittering gems, swirls of colors, elaborate filigree, whimsical designs – it’s the JEWELS of the SEASON: Holidays at the Timken with the Schlappi Collection of Hord and Schlappi ornaments that have adorned the Timken Museum of Art holiday tree since 1988, and this season the display will be greatly expanded. 

This year the Timken partnered with San Diego State University School of Theatre, Television, and Film to create a custom, multimedia design to showcase the holiday treasures. Faculty and graduate students infused the long-standing holiday tree decoration tradition with a dash of creativity to create their concept, engineer the design and seamlessly display the ornaments among the Timken’s tapestries.

Together, the organizations created a holiday vision to highlight the personality and whimsical elements of the ornaments, while capturing the holiday spirit. The Timken will sparkle with decades of craftsmanship in a contemporary twist. The ornaments will interact with the museum patrons, masterpieces and newly installed central seating area.

"At SDSU, we have a long tradition of working with the community,” stated Dr. Joyce M. 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."

Each year since 1988, the Timken has had the honor of showcasing the exquisite Hord and Schlappi ornaments. Viewing the works of art on the Timken tree has become a San Diego tradition, warmly embraced by patrons, both residents and tourists alike.

The ornaments were designed and handcrafted by local artists Florence Hord and Elizabeth Schlappi. Florence Hord, wife to famous sculptor Donal Hord, began making the exquisite ornaments in the 1930s. In 1959, Florence invited family friend Elizabeth Schlappi to aid her efforts, and together they grew the collection to more than 1,400 ornaments in the course of 80 years. Creating the elaborate designs and patterns – even for a single piece – requires from two days to two weeks to complete. Florence and Elizabeth were inspired by their roots in San Diego, personal interests and travels, and the ornaments were crafted as expressions of their experiences.

“I had heard about these unique ornaments prior to arriving at the Timken in 2015,” said Timken Executive Director Megan Pogue. “However, when I saw them in person and 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 these talented graduate students and faculty of SDSU and look forward to unveiling their creativity this holiday season.”

Today the collection contains more than 1,400 ornaments, including an eight-inch sphere of beads and sequins displaying a proud Burmese peacock – and an ornament dedicated to the San Diego Zoo’s first panda. The holiday display will be on view at the Timken December 2 -31, 2016.

About the Timken Museum of Art

Affectionately called San Diego’s “jewel box” of fine art, the Timken Museum of Art is located in San Diego’s historic Balboa Park on the Plaza de Panama. It is the permanent home of the Putnam Foundation’s significant collection of European old masters, 19th century American art and Russian icons. Notable works in the collection include Rembrandt's Saint Bartholomew (the only painting by the Dutch artist on public display in San Diego); Pieter Bruegel the elder's Parable of the Sower; John Singleton Copley's Portrait of Mrs. Thomas Gage; Eastman Johnson's classic The Cranberry Harvest: Island of Nantucket; and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's View of Volterra. Known as one of the finest small museums in the world, the Timken provides visitors with an accessible and enriching cultural experience featuring a beautiful collection, intimate surroundings, and free admission.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and Sundays, noon to 4:30 p.m. It is closed on Mondays and major holidays. For more information, visit http://www.timkenmuseum.org. Follow the museum on Facebook or Twitter at @TimkenMuseum or call (619) 239-5548.