Watch Now: Local Artist Bobbie Whaling Continues Tulsa Ornament Tradition | Home & Garden


After adopting her two children and working as a freelance artist at home, Whaling went to work for Another Point of View, a gift shop in Tulsa, where she began making personalized Tulsa ornaments.

“Jo Ainsworth, the owner of Another Point of View, told me ‘Kansas City has its own adornment, I think Tulsa should too,'” said Whaling. “So I started designing ornaments for them, and then soon after, they asked me to be an art teacher at Saint Mary’s School in 1990.”

Whaling was certainly a busy woman during this time, as she balanced her work as a teacher, designing ornaments, and caring for her two young children. However, it all came to a halt in 2001, when Ainsworth retired, thus ending Tulsa’s tradition of ornamenting.

“When she said she was closing the store, I thought that was it, that was the end of the adornments,” Whaling said. “But then I got phone calls from three or four people – I have no idea how they found me – saying, ‘We know you are designing the ornament and you can’t stop. So I spoke to my husband and we ended up continuing the mission. The following year, 2002, I honored our firefighters by making an ornament of the oldest fire station in Tulsa, and the rest is history. I’ve done one every year since.

All of Whaling’s ornaments are three-dimensional brass painted with a 24k gold wash. The ornament making process takes about three months and begins with Whaling choosing a theme, then sketching her at home and finally sending her final project to a Rhode Island company that manufactures the design, giving life to Whaling’s vision.

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