Design Toscano Collectible Ornaments

This year's ornament is called Protector of the Gothic Portal Celtic Dragon2010 Ornament

Here is the story of how we started creating the collectible ornaments.

We called our first ornaments Greeting-Goyles. They first ran in our Holiday 1996 catalog. 

One of our staff artists was chosen to complete a special project for a very good customer. The customer had a lamp and fan business and wanted Toscano to do pull chain sculptures for the lamps he sold. The designs were non-Toscano images like stars, moons, cats and dogs. Items his clientele would respond to but not necessarily ours. As the Toscano creative team reviewed the quality of these lamp and fan pull chain sculptures, we had a great idea when seeing the pieces hanging in front of us. How about making a holiday ornament version for our customers. We had the staff artist create two versions of our best selling gargoyles at the time The Emmett and the Florentine Gargoyle for us.

Over the years we have asked some of our hottest artists to sculpt the featured Holiday Gothic Beast. Because of our customers trends, we have changed the focus from Gargoyles to Dragons and have never looked back. Over the years, we have had works of art from Toscano artists like Jaimy Chuang, Frederic Levesque, Alan Dickinson, Gary Chang and this year's artist Liam Manchester All have sculpted an exclusive collectible version for our customers enjoyment.

Our Holiday dragon ornaments are not for everyone—but we always try to have fun with the design, and maybe that is why our customers have grown to love each year’s design. We have offered a Santa riding a holiday dragon, gargoyles biting a star, dragons with a sword, a gargoyle jumping out of wrapped holiday packages, dragon with a sweet tooth (holding a candy cane), a dragon twisting around a holiday wreath and a gargoyles tong frozen to a ice cube.

Artist Liam Manchester, Toscano’s British, senior sculptor, accredits artists Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo as his creative inspiration. Liam created this year’s 2010 collectible Dragon ornament. The Protector of the Gothic Portal Dragon ornament, which features a sparkling crystalline resin Celtic orb. Manchester thought the use of the beautiful crystalline resin orb would be the perfect compound to catch the light off a twinkling holiday tree light. Manchester sketched many versions of the dragon but settled on a more heroic medieval beast protecting the mystical gothic portal. Manchester regularly sculpts pieces for home and garden for Toscano.  His favorite being; The Spirit of Nottingham Woods: Greenman Tree Sculpture, Treebeard Ent with Mystical Orb Statue and the The Dweller Below Garden Sculpture
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Remembering Frederic…


This week Design Toscano lost a trusted business partner, a creative artist, and most of all a good friend with the passing of artist Frederic Levesque. Frederic holds a special place in Toscano lore: He was the first living artist Design Toscano partnered with to create unique statues. His “Winston” and “Feast on Fools” gargoyle statues helped garner attention for Toscano, leading to a mention in Time magazine.

Known for his imaginative, Gothic fairy tale sculptures, Frederic first exhibited at the Grand Palais in 1987. A graduate of the highly regarded École Des Beaux-Arts in Paris, whose esteemed graduates include Degas, Delacroix, Fragonard, Ingres, Monet, Moreau, Renoir, Seurat, and Sisley, Levesque went on to become famous worldwide for his work as an illustrator and avant-garde sculptor.

Toscano Creative Director Steve Pseno remembers:

“In the early days of Toscano, I heard stories of this crazy artist from France, but when I met Frederic in Paris, that wasn’t the man who was standing in front of me. You could see the sparkle in his eyes and feel the creative connection as we spoke about projects that would be of interest to our customers.

 “He invited me to his apartment in the French quarter and I walked into the apartment he called his studio. It looked as if a bomb had gone off, a creative atom bomb, with small clay and plaster sculptural concepts scattered everywhere, accented by at least twenty-five, filled-to-the-rim ash trays! That night, as we sat at his kitchen table, he sketched a chubby man in a rowboat, with fingers and toes plugging holes in the boat, on the back of a croissant bag next to his ever-present ash tray neatly stacked with butts. I wish I had that drawing today; he was just filled with so much creative energy.

 “Frederic was one of the most creative people I have ever met and also one of the nicest characters I have had the pleasure to come in contact with. He was truly a gentle soul and I will miss him.” 

Levesque’s work showed his love for his native region of Normandy, but he also brought in worldwide themes, making his work universal. He brought in themes from all over art history -- from the Middle Ages and 18th-century French fairy tales to French film spoofs. He also created parodies of various works of motion picture art, including Georges Méliés’ A trip to the Moon (1902) and W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922). Frederic contributed more than 50 truly unique works of art to Design Toscano.  From a submarine engulfed by a giant squid and an actual smoke-breathing dragon called Bessemer to an alligator lunching on his caretaker. His designs were done in a style that was truly Frederic: proportionally exaggerated and comically robust. He was truly one of a kind and Toscano will miss his creative genius.

He will be buried in the Village of L’Hôme-Chamondot not far from his beloved home in Normandy.

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Unique Gifts for Everyone

Design Toscano is a great place to look for gifts for everyone in your family.  The variety of products from furniture to wall art to garden statues will amaze you.  There are products for the Religious person in your family with religious scupltures as the St. Francis Sculpture 
Nature’s Nurturer: St. Francis Sculpture
or the Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane Sculpture
Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane Sculpture 

Not sure what to get the animal lover that has everything how about an animal yard statue like The Meerkat Gang 
The Meerkat Gang Sculpture

 or The Tranquil Tortoise.
The Tranquil Tortoise Garden Sculpture - Large

 Design Toscano even carries products for the Gothic person in your life with gothic decor products like Vampire Bats

The Vampire Bats of Castle Barbarosa Wall Sculptures
or Legendary Dragon of Glenshire Lidded Box.

 Legendary Dragon of Glenshire Lidded Box

Or if you are looking for that hard to shop for person consider Basho the Sumo Wrestler 
Basho the Sumo Wrestler Sculpture

or Freedom's Pride Eagle.

 Freedom's Pride Eagle Wall Sculpture

There is really something for everyone here. 
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