The Design Process

A Self-Taught, Dedicated Artist

Pipka, a self-taught artist, has always been passionate about the history and stories behind her creative projects.  The first step in the design process for her Old World Santas is to research the santa’s heritage, such as the costumes and clothing of that country and what the children would see Santa carrying in his sack, then incorporate the local customs into her design. This initial idea and research process can take Pipka weeks or even months. “I try to immerse myself into a country’s culture so that I can represent it in the best light.,” says Pipka.  This learning process is a key motivator for Pipka’s art. “I’ve always been interested in the cultures and traditions of other countries, especially Old World countries where these traditions still linger after being passed down through generations.” 


2012 Polish Santa


Once Pipka completes her research, she begins a series of sketches until a final posture is chosen.  Next,  the painting process.  Pipka is known for her intricate paintings and each detail is meticulously enhanced so that her sculptor, Gaylord Ho, can interpret her work authentically.



Since Gaylord’s studio is located in Taiwan, he takes photos of every angle of the clay model and e-mails them to Pipka. Printed out, each photo is nearly 11x17 inches so every facet can be inspected. Once Pipka approves the clay sculpture, a cast is made from the clay sculpture and, after fine sanding is done to make everything perfect, Gaylord paints the first figurine. Pipka carefully looks over the painted figurine and sometimes makes changes: a different color on a doll’s dress or a teddy bear’s bow. Once approved, the process of making the figurines starts with  a marble resin compound poured into the molds. When the compound sets, the mold is removed and another fine sanding is done on each piece. Here is Gaylord's interpretation of Pipka's artwork for the 2012 Polish Father Christmas.

Many molds are made for the same clay figure because process itself can dull the mold’s edges so that the figurines could lose the beautiful details for which Pipka’s Collectibles are known!

Once the run has been produced for a particular figurine (for example, the Polish Father is a limited Edition of 3200) the molds are broken and the piece retired.  Each figurine comes in its own designer box with a story of the Santa’s background  and special history.  Here is the final figurine of the  Polish Father Christmas, just as Pipka first pictured him in mind!


Master and internationally acclaimed sculptor Gaylord Ho has been interpreting Pipka’s art since her first collection in 1995. Gaylord’s fine art sculptures are in galleries around the world. In 2007, Gaylord presented Pope Benedict XVI  with his “A Family’s Guardian Angel”  (shown behind Gaylord) for the Pope’s 80th birthday.

Pipka figurines are painted by a small select family of artists.  Once the figurine is out of its mold and carefully sanded, the artists begin their work. Apprentices are allowed to paint backgrounds while the more skilled artists paint the finer details.   Only the most experienced of artists may paint the faces, often using a brush with just one bristle for the fine details.  Since each figurine is hand-painted, no two are exactly alike, making your Pipka Collectible truly one-of-a-kind.

Each piece has its name printed on the bottom and is hand-numbered consecutively. Once the run has been produced for a particular figurine, the molds are broken and the piece is retired! Each figurine comes in its own designer box with a legend of the piece’s background and special history.

From the first sketch to the final painting, Pipka’s Collectibles are created with great care, skill and love.  “It is my wish that my santas and figurines will bring joy to you and become a part of your own family’s lifelong tradition.”