Vaillancourt Boston Common Ornament

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Boston Common at Twilight, 1885-86
Childe Hassam, American (1859-1935)

The soothing effects of dusk on freshly fallen snow are juxtaposed with Boston's busy streets in the beloved painting by Hassam. This image adorns the coat of this Santa ornament that was created by Judi Vaillancourt exclusively for the MFA. Vaillancourt Folk Art is one of America’s last remaining Christmas collectible makers.

Vaillancourt has traveled to Poland to have glass ornaments made as companion pieces to their chalkware designs. Using traditional techniques dating back 450 years in Eastern Europe, these hand-blown ornaments differ from the rest because they are painted with a matte finish, which allows the subtly and richness of the hand-painted details to stand out. When Vaillancourt Folk Art (VFA) began searching for glass blowers to make ornaments as companion pieces for their chalkware designs, they selected a small traditional glass studio in Poland. The molten glass is blown into forms made to exact specifications based upon Vaillancourt's 3,000-piece collection of antique confectionary molds (both chocolate and ice cream). After blowing the glass into the molds to shape the ornaments, the glass blowers then silver the insides of the ornaments and the exteriors are hand-painted. Although there are many styles of glass ornaments available today, the hand-blown Vaillancourt ornaments stand out from the rest because they are painted with a matte, or unglazed finish, not with the overly glitzy and shiny finishes of other ornament lines. Not only does the matte finish better complement the companion chalkware pieces, it allows the subtlety and richness of even the tiniest hand-painted details to stand out. To make sure their glass ornaments will increase in value over the years, VFA retires several ornament patterns each year. This insures that their limited editions are really limited. While other manufacturers issue large limited editions of 5,000 or more pieces, VFA keeps each limited edition to no more than 3,000 pieces, and in many cases, far less.

6.5” tall