LACMA’s 2013 ornament makes for a surreal Christmas

A frozen plume of water? A ghostly guppy? A dragon tear? Those are just a few of the things that may come to mind when you first lay eyes on the 2013 LACMA holiday ornament.

An annual tradition that taps Los Angeles-based designers and artists to create ornaments inspired by the museum’s holdings (much like the Wear LACMA program does with apparel and accessories), this year’s was created by brothers Simon and Nikolai Haas whose downtown L.A. design studio cranks out a range of things -- from freaky looking furniture, candelabras and vases to set pieces and props for movies and television.

For the ornament project, the Haas brothers found inspiration in LACMA’s Drawing Surrealism exhibition, in particular a drawing technique called “decalomania” which involves transferring images from paper to other surfaces (it’s apparently also the source of the word “decal”).


The shape of the ornament was created by dipping a run-of-the-mill latex balloon in curing resin and then expanding and contracting it to create the wrinkles and ripples.

The resulting ornament, which looks like fragile glass, is actually made of lightweight resin. It measures about 7 inches long and is available in a range of colors at the LACMA Store at 5905 Wilshire Blvd. and website for $50 ($45 for members).


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