Monday, November 7, 2011

John Hessler, City Planner Extraordinaire

John Hessler manages Valley View's patio department for half of the year. He uses his artistic talent to create patio settings that people might enjoy on their porches and patios. But, by late summer, John switches hats as he begins to display our Department 56 Village Collection. John just finished designing and building the 11 different villages that we offer. The display sits in the center of our Christmas shop surrounded by over 100 decorated themed trees. John is a talented city planner---we've got an amazing 80 foot display as proof.

John Hessler shows us how its done!

I asked John which village is his personal favorite and he quickly answered "Christmas in the City". John's own collection includes over 30 buildings from that collection and another 30 from the North Pole series that he began collecting when his daughter Ashlee was just 3 months old. Ashlee is 20 now.
John is happy to share tips and techniques with customers everyday at the store. Every year we showcase John's talent during our Department 56 event, being held this year on the weekend of November 12th and 13th. We are also honored to have Department 56 Village artist Tom Bates with us on Saturday. Tom is the predominant designer of the Christmas in the City series, and also works on The Alpine Village, The Original Snow Village, and The North Pole Series. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet Tom and have him sign your Department 56 piece from 12-4 pm.

Tom Bates signing as Cathy Kramer talks to a collector

We are also pleased to have Ken Scwartz with us. Ken will be here all weekend to discuss the villages with collectors. Ken is the founder of one of the oldest Department 56 Collectors Clubs in the country. I'm pretty sure that between Ken and John, every possible question anyone may have about the villages, past and present, can be answered. Also, Cathy Kramer, our representative from Department 56, will be here to talk to folks about their village pieces.

Clockwise from top left: Tom Bates, Ken Scwartz, Kathy Foard, Cathy Kramer and John Hessler

John's display demonstration will be held this year on Sunday at 12:00. We'll all learn some great tips to make our villages more beautiful. I should mention that some of our most avid collectors work at Valley View Farms. Max Barton, whose mom and grandmother both work here, may be working as John's assistant.

John and his able assistant, Max

I would have added the photos of John's 11 villages, but photos just don't do it justice. Stop in and take a look yourself and meet John and the crew.