Note: We have had the honor of sharing gorgeous hand-painted ornaments by Brenda and Rick Schodt of Southwest Ornaments since we opened. Brenda has also created unique, limited-edition Tumbleweed Tree ornaments for Sibley's West since 2012. As the 2017 edition is unveiled today, we share this marvelous profile of Brenda from a 2014 edition of Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine. It was written by Shawndrea Corbin, with wonderful photography by Leland Gebhardt. Here's a link to the original story.
ARTIST BRENDA SCHODT WORKS ROUND-THE-CLOCK PAINTING ICONIC DESERT SCENES ON CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENTS
In 1980, Brenda Schodt boarded a plane for Phoenix, where she planned to attend Arizona State University in pursuit of a fine arts degree. “I brought my pen and pad of paper on the plane with me. It was my first time out of the Midwest,” she recalls. “I saw that Arizona sunset, and I just had to draw it. So I did, with my pencil, right there in black and white, and that was when I knew I had to make art depicting this beautiful state.”
In her senior year of college, Schodt found a part-time job with a company that painted designs on ornaments. “They had four different patterns, so my test was to take some home and replicate them. Well, I got the job!” she says. “So, I actually started my art career with ornaments.”
After the company moved, Schodt graduated and found work as a design assistant for the Mesa, Arizona, school district. “At the same time, I was still painting ornaments for family and friends as gifts. Everyone began to encourage me to start selling them,” Schodt explains. “Once my children were born, I decided to stay at home with them, and that’s when I decided to see if I could really sell them.”
So, Schodt packed up her ornaments and went to her first arts festival. “It was my first time showing them to the public, and I had them packaged in paper lunch bags,” she says with a laugh. “They actually sold out, and that was really what inspired me to keep painting.”
Schodt’s husband helped her add an air conditioning unit to the space and a pass-through window for conveniently handing off finished ornaments ready for packaging. Recently, the company has expanded to printed ornament designs and, as of July, has become the official ornament provider of Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and University of Arizona.
“I feel so thankful for all of my customers. I’m very fortunate that people continue to want my ornaments. It’s all very humbling, and customer appreciation keeps inspiring me.
“The sunset ornament will always be my favorite though,” Schodt divulges. “I’ve stuck with it. It was always the design I wanted to create the most. After all, it all began with the sunset.”