|Early in 1990, I was thumbing through a Christian catalog advertising all kinds of Christian items. Among them was a solid silver statue of Moses holding the 10 Commandments over his head. It was mounted on a limestone rock from Israel. I decided to order the figurine and use it on this year’s card. When I received it, I was surprised that it was so highly polished in all areas except his beard, hair, and waistband. I knew this was going to present the same problem of reflections, so I sprayed him with a flat matting spray used especially for photographs. With proper lighting against a black background, I was able to produce the proper intermediate tones for a good representation. For the first time, I used type to display John 1:17, although I hand lettered the Merry Christmas & Garman Kimmell.|
|In 1947 I showed Barbara and Kay looking at a small manger scene. In 1972 I showed Martha with the first pieces of a new Hummel creche which Vera was buying a piece at a time. The 1972 card did not show the three wise men. So for 1991 I decided to use the three wise men presenting their gifts to the Christ child. This was one of the easier cards, partly because the porcelain-painted figures have a mate finish. Again, they were photographed against a black background, and the card was produced by projecting them through a film positive carrying the lettering. (I gave the creche to Martha several years ago.)|
|By 1992 I had three sons-in-law and 7 grandchildren, the oldest of whom (Thomas) was married. The subjects were spread from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Irvine, California, so it presented a little bit of a problem to take their pictures. I asked all of the out-of-towners to send me an approved, recent picture—either in black and white or color—and that I would rephotograph them for a Christmas card. For the local family, I took their pictures. I copied each of the out-of-towners and made prints of equal size and density. The procedure from here on was identical to the 1976 card. People liked this one, because it provided a composite of the family.|
|October 7, 1993, marked my 80th birthday! As a surprise and birthday present, Kay had borrowed my Christmas list and asked everyone on it to send her a comment about their relationship with me and any other remarks they would like to make, along with photographs. That winter I decided to use the album on a Christmas card. Because I cherished the album and it seemed to pertain to Psalm 90:10, I photographed it against a white background projected it on the card through a vignette and then exposed the lettering through a negative. A thanks to all responding to Kay’s invitation was enclosed with the card.|
|Oh boy! I had new live subjects for my Christmas card! The photographs I made of Thomas Hill’s #1, TAH, IV, and David Hill’s #1, DKH, Jr., were projected onto the card through separate vignettes (2 exposures) and then the lettering contact was printed through a negative film.|
|The enclosed note fully explains this year’s card:
Last Christmas two great grandsons, David Kimmell Hill Jr. (5-16-94) and Thomas Austin Hill IV (8-8-94) were featured on my card. Each was given a “custom” rocking horse for Christmas. This year they are featured again doing one of their favorite “things.” Thought you might like a “bring-up.” P.S. Have a third great grandson now, Tate Tinsley Bullard (11-29-95) son of Karen, my daughter Kay’s youngest.
The horses were made from American White Oak. Dusty Miller was visiting us in the fall; and when I decided to make the rocking horses as Christmas presents, we went to a number of merchandisers and looked at their horses. Dusty and I returned to the drawing board and developed a design. The horses are made of American White Oak and are glued and doweled together. No metal was used in their assembly. When I saw them riding the horses, I knew I had a new idea for a Christmas card.
|All the subjects for the 1996 card were in Oklahoma City, including three additional great-grandkids. I thought it might be interesting to place them at the apexes of a five-pointed star with a picture of me in the middle. (At this writing, this five has grown to 13!) I took a group of pictures (it was fun taking their pictures!) of each child, gave the parents proofs, and they chose the one for the card. I placed the photographs on a vertical surface and rephotographed it for a single exposure for the card.|
|For many years I have challenged family and friends to come up with Christmas card ideas. With the 57 cards so far, new ideas are more difficult to come by. In the summer of 1997, Martha sent me a Smithsonian Institute ad for a jigsaw puzzle displaying a nativity scene. She said her idea for the card was to take the several pieces of the puzzle that represent baby Jesus out of the puzzle and photograph them beside the completed puzzle. John 16:33 mentions Christ putting together the puzzle of life. So we titled the card, Put Christ in Christmas. The puzzle cost $40.00, so I sent Martha $60.00 for her idea. The going rate is $100.00 for the whole idea! Photographically, a very easy puzzle; photographed on a pure white background. Projection was through a film negative to produce the lettering.|
|Sometime during mid-1998, I saw a combination/ photograph cartoon of a wheel with decorations on the spokes. A Christmas card idea? Maybe I could put pictures of the now 9 grandchildren between the spokes of a wagon wheel. I drew the wheel on a 15” x 21” card and lettered the names and families. I photographed each of the great grandkids and made prints. Thomas Hill scanned each of the pictures into the computer and removed the background. Then he arranged the pictures in a circle and sent the computerized design to a group, which made a negative. The card was really quite simple because the computer adjusted the contrast and eliminated all of the background. So all I had to do was print the children and then expose through a negative film the lettering and the wheel. This is only one of two cards (the other being 1963) which have more than one piece. I used a rotary cutter to produce the hole in the center of the wheel. I then set the drill press up with a post the same diameter as the hole and used a fly cutter to cut the circles. The wheel was mounted on the card with shoe eyelets, which came from Mom Setzer’s collection of shoe repair! There were several hundred eyelets of different colors in the collection—enough whites for the 180 cards. She had also given me the dies to crimp the eyelets.|
|A review of all the appurtenances of Christmas disclosed only a few symbols or icons left. Bells by themselves were one of them. In discussing the card with Greg Robertson, he said that he could arrange to furnish the hand bells from Westminster Presbyterian representing the notes of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” My friend, Virginia Field, tied bows on the bells, and I photographed each one separately. Each hand bell represented each particular note. Reflections in the polished bell surfaces created a real problem. I finally built a white cloth box to put the bells in for photographing them so that items in the room wouldn’t be reflected on their surfaces. Thomas Hill scanned each of the bells into the computer and arranged them in their proper position with respect to the music staff. I drew the staff, notes, and hand lettering on a 15” x 21” card and a 5 x 7 negative was made. The computer completely eliminated any background, and the negative produced from the computer output made projection simple. The card was double exposed. Bells in one exposure and lettering through a negative film.|