Metal artists Julie and Ken Girardini strongly believe that the objects people interact with on a daily basis need to be well designed and functional in addition to being beautiful. So when we needed a way for Artful Home customers to enjoy their artist-made ornaments year round, it was natural to turn to them. We visited with Julie to get the details behind the development of their ornament displays.

Tell us more about the story behind your ornament displays.

“This was a collaboration between us and Artful Home. They came to us with the project, and we worked together to come up with the ornament stands. They are a way for collectors to enjoy their ornaments all year round, so we wanted to stay away from ‘Christmas’-theme stands.”

How did you get started as artists?

“I think if you are a creative person, you have to be an artist. If you don’t follow that dream you die inside. Ken has always painted since he was 12. His parents were concerned about his being an artist because they feared he would not make a living at it. But, so far…nearly 20 years as full-time artists. We feel very fortunate. My family was always ‘crafty’—I mean macramé and crocheting. I grew up on a farm, so our hands always had to be busy. It was just a way of life.”

In this husband and wife partnership, Ken is the welder and Julie the finisher. Together, they create objects for the home that look artful and sculptural even before a bottle of merlot or a daisy is added.

To begin, Ken and Julie gather metal bits and pieces from around their studio and try different combinations of scale and size until they find a basic form with aesthetic appeal. Ken draws from his background with NASA to engineer these designs. Their pieces are built from structural or cold-finished steel, welded, polished and ground until smooth.