Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ornament Review: Country Church - Candlelight Services #5 - 2002 Hallmark Ornament

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Nice sculpt and plenty of windows for the light
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
A very good sculpt
With lots of glowing windows
Make this a winner

A Visiting Sculptor Does a Great Job with the Country Church

Usually, one Hallmark Keepsake artist sticks with a series he or she is working on for years.  That's why I was a little surprised to find that Country Church, the fifth ornament in the Candlelight Services series, was sculpted by Duane Unruh, especially since he did none of the other ornaments in the series.  I don't know the story behind the switch (especially since original artist Ed Seale came back the next year), but what ever the reason, I love the result.

Like the others, this ornament is designed to capture a different style of church.  I'm not quite sure I would classify this one as a Country Church, however.  When I hear Country Church, I start thinking about a small church with little to no frills.  That's not what we have here.  The main part of the church is basically a bit square.  True, the sides stick out a little, so it doesn't look super boxy.  The plastic has been molded to create the look of the wood planks making up the outside of the church.  And the roof has two peaks running perpendicular to each other, creating four separate sections.  And each of those sections has some snow that hasn't quite melted yet on it.

The front of the church has two towers.  The left one has the steeple that sticks up a good inch above the rest of the ornament and is topped by a cross.  The right side probably has the belfry, but it is closed up so we can't see the bell inside.

Of course, the real point of this series is the glow effect, and here is where the ornament shines (pun partially intended).  The back of the ornament has a hole in it just large enough to insert a light bulb from a traditional Christmas tree light set.  The other sides have windows, and there are a lot of them.  Each side has a stained glass window with lots of different colored diamonds on it.  They are full of reds, yellows, greens, and blues, and are very pretty to look at.  The two towers also have lots of windows, eight each by my count.  They are all gold, but they are very pretty when lit up.

You really have your choice with these ornaments.  They come with a big, flat white base representing snow, so if you want to display these on a mantle or shelf, you certainly can.  The base on this one is actually not much bigger than the church, but that still gives you roughly 3 inches square of solid material.  Also on the base, you'll find the 2002 copyright year and the 5 in a Christmas tree since this is the fifth entry in the series.  There is a 2002 on the foundation of the church, but you really have to look for it to find it.

If you want to hang the ornament, there is a little brass ring just to the front of center on the roof.  It might tip slightly back when you hang it, but it's barely noticeable.  Of course, if you are hanging this ornament and plugging it into lights, both things will affect how straight it hangs.

The later ornaments in the Candlelight Services series are by far my favorite.  But Country Church provides a nice change up and really demonstrates just what this series can be.

Be sure to check out the other ornaments in the Candlelight Services series.

Original Price: $18.95

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