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Crafting a Creative Christmas : A Sampler of Creativity in Every Card She Sends

December 25, 1986|Gerald Faris | Times staff writer

It's boom time for many South Bay artists, especially crafts people and others whose works make good Christmas gifts or decorations.

Maudette M. Ball, executive director of the Palos Verdes Community Arts Assn., calls the holidays an "everybody wins" time: Artists get a market for their work, and buyers get "something that is made by the human hand."

Times staff writer Gerald Faris takes a look at what some of those hands have been doing this holiday season.

Virginia Wyper hasn't bought a commercial Christmas card in 40 years. You don't have to when you design and print your own.

This year, the subjects are the Point Vicente Lighthouse and a barn in Rolling Hills. In the past, there have been leaves, Christmas trees and a forest scene.

One year, the Rancho Palos Verdes artist did a little something extra, making small zinc engravings and stringing them together as necklaces for gifts. "They looked like silver," she said.

"Getting some glory" is the reward of creating Christmas cards, Wyper says. "I really enjoy it. I've been making them since 1947, and it's always very special."

One thing she has found is that when people get a card one year, they expect one the next. "It's a challenge to come up with new ideas."

To make the cards--which really are prints that can be framed--she first sketches a design on a shiny zinc plate, backwards because of the reverse printing process. Then she engraves the design with a stylus and etches it in by applying an acid wash. Next, she applies one or more colors to the plate and uses a press to transfer the design to a special rag printing paper that has been dampened.

Making about 100 gift cards for the season may be fun, but it also leaves her "Christmas tired" by this time, Wyper says. "I'm a housewife, too, and the cleaning lady."

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