The Best Christmas Decoration EVER! (Not to Overstate it)

This year I was lucky enough to acquire one of the limited-run wall hangings created in printer Julia Garrison’s studio & shop, The Sarah Elizabeth Shop, in Rockport. The piece hangs near our dinner table and I stare at it during every meal, surprised every time by the beauty and the level of detail in the design.

The wall hanging was printed from a block carved in 1950 by local artist Delores Rapp, who was trained by Virginia Lee Burton, the founding member of the Folly Cove Designers, so it is only fitting that over six decades later, prints are being made from the block using the same Acorn Press that was used by the Folly Cove Design Collective, which Julia uses in printing both archival and her own original designs.

Julia prints this piece in a few different colors. Mine is printed in red ink on a natural linen background.

Julia prints this piece in a few different colors. Mine is printed in red ink on a natural linen background.

This year, the current owner of the vintage block (Delores Rapp passed away a few years ago) came to Julia and they worked out an arrangement that allows Julia to print a limited run of wall hangings from the block. All the wall hangings are hand-printed and sewn locally, using archival ink on linen, which lasts forever, so your descendents will still be enjoying this pieces many Christmas moons from now.

You can purchase the hanging (and see other options for ink/background colors) directly from Julia online HERE. Or better yet, go see her in her studio/shop this weekend at 5 Whistlestop Mall in Rockport to see the wall hangings — and her other wares — in person.

This piece is bound to be an heirloom in our own family — I am already attached to it more than pretty much any other holiday item I have — and will no doubt be equally as meaningful in the homes of every one else who gets their hands on one. It is beautiful both for the amazing design (when you consider that every detail was hand carved!) and for its connection to our local and current artistic heritage.

I’m sorry my photos don’t do it justice. Check it out at Julia’s online shop or in person to get the full effect of these limited-run pieces.

Just some of the detail of the design.

Just some of the detail of the design.


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12 Responses to The Best Christmas Decoration EVER! (Not to Overstate it)

  1. Kim Smith says:

    Stunning Sarah. Thank you for sharing and for sharing the background info, too. Merry Christmas to you!

  2. Beautiful ~ what work that must be! I purchase a book about the Folly Cove designers from the Cape Ann Museum. The book documents ~ a catalog of sorts ~ the designs by designer as well as telling the Folly Cove Designer story. I think the museum is closed for renovations, however you may be able to order the book on line. For me ~ the book tells and shows ~ another good Gloucester story ~

  3. Kim Smith says:

    Thanks so much again Sarah. My daughter Liv and I headed over after breakfast and purchased the same version as yours for my in-laws for Christmas. You are right, simply gorgeous in person. So happy to have a beautiful, handmade, and unusual gift to give!!!

  4. That is stunning! My 2013 calendar was the Folly Cove designers one that the Museum sold – they did such beautiful work and now Julia is carrying on the tradition!

    • S.D. Kelly says:

      I wish I had seen that calendar! And it is really great to know that Julia is carrying on the tradition, isn’t it?

  5. PV says:

    The shop was buzzing when I went in this morning. Just beautiful things. Rockport’s hidden gem with lots of parking!

  6. Dave Moore says:

    These surely are classics:-)

  7. Patti Amaral says:

    Had to go to the shop the other day after seeing it here, wanted to see if it was Mrs. Kenyon’s machine they were using. I used to clean for Mrs. Kenyon and have a print she gave me some time ago. Wonderful gifts that have history.

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