In the summer of 2011, Melissa and David Loder presented me with a project: to help them bring their mental vision into living color. They had an idea of a Christmas village; I put it on paper. Then they went to work. Unlike the homeowners of most exceptional holiday yard displays, the Loders do it all themselves: cutting, building, painting, glittering, lighting and installing. They are tirelessly enthusiastic and genuinely generous people.
Last year, they wanted a whimsical train. I drew it and David and Melissa brought it to life, complete with a working steam stack.
This year I designed and built two paper mache sculpture reindeer for David and Melissa. Who would have thought that as soon as they were hung from the tree limbs we'd have a record-breaking ice storm in North Texas? Still, they survived for several weeks until just recently, when the pink lady succumbed to the rigors of an unusually harsh December. I will repair her and she'll be back on display next year.
If you're in the mood for Christmas light-looking, be sure to include the Deerfield neighborhood in Plano. It's worth the drive. The Loders' display will be active until the first of January. (You can see some of the original sketches on my FB artist page, The Gretchen Show.)