WESTFIELD-The natural surroundings of Stanley Park continue to inspire countless individuals to capture its essence through a variety of mediums, and this holiday season, a city woman has designed a greeting card that spoke to her after experiencing the Carillon Tower from inside looking out into the rose and flower garden.
“I am a lifelong resident of Westfield and grew up a few streets down from the park,” said Denise Calvo-Berndt, who has created a colorful holiday card that uses as its centerpiece a stained glass window from the Carillon Tower.
Calvo-Berndt, a real estate agent with Real Living Professionals, said she chose to expand her volunteer efforts last year after a friend told her about opportunities at Stanley Park. She is also a member of Westfield Kiwanis.
“I started at the park in 2019 and was welcomed with open arms,” said Calvo-Berndt, noting she assisted with events for children as well as for the annual park fundraiser.
“I was also going to help with weekly history walks they had on Thursdays this year then COVID struck,” she said, noting in mid-August was the first time she was able to host a history tour.
“It is so fun to learn about the history and special places all around the park,” said Calvo-Berndt. “At the end of the walk we were able to go into the Carillon Tower where I saw the stained glass windows for the first time.”
The Carillon Tower was completed in 1950 and was dedicated to world peace in a national broadcast ceremony on ABC Radio. The tower’s bronze doors are decorated with 14 relief sculptures portraying various aspects of Stanley Park and Stanley Home Products, including profiles of Frank Stanley Beveridge and Catherine L. O’Brien. Beveridge and O’Brien co-founded Stanley Home Products in 1931 and in 1941, co-founded Stanley Park.
From that one moment in time, Calvo-Berndt was inspired to take a photo of the window and then add her magical touch of watercolor artistry to bring the holiday season greeting card into focus.
“I am not a trained watercolorist,” said Calvo-Berndt, who considers herself more of a “doodler.”
After she took a class at Piece of My Art Studio on Union Avenue, she was encouraged to pursue her painting. She has since become a “friend” of ArtWorks of Westfield, Inc.
“Seems as an older person I can draw and paint a bit,” said Calvo-Berndt, adding she now paints almost every morning.
“It has turned into what I call ‘Find the Heart Art’,” she said, noting each of her drawings has a heart imbedded in the artwork and she also posts some of her work on Facebook.
“If I forget the heart, Lordie, people catch it and respond to me,” she said, adding, “it has turned out to be so much fun.”
Another unique feature of her drawings includes the use of fairies.
“As for the fairies, that is once again a coincidence,” she said. “I just started playing around with them, I saw the beautiful stained glass window, and knew they had to visit the park.”
Last fall she sold some of her greeting cards at Pilgrim Candle on Union Avenue and she noted she is already receiving requests for this holiday season. She will be selling “A Stanley Park Christmas” card and will donate 50 cents from the sale of each card to Stanley Park. A smaller sized card is $2.50 and is also available in a larger size for $3.50. Cards were printed at Appalachian Press in Westfield.
“There is also a hidden 7 in the card which was Beveridge’s lucky number and there are seven letters in Stanley,” she said.
“Denise is always eager to help out in any way she can,” said Robert McKean, managing director, Stanley Park. “She is always enthusiastic and we are so happy to have her as a volunteer at Stanley Park.”
Calvo-Berndt’s card selection at Pilgrim Candle will also include a Thanksgiving card.
“What I hope is that someone writes a note inside the card,” said Calvo-Berndt, adding she is hearing that some people are buying the cards, framing them and giving them as gifts.
“The card with a little note inside can be a gift in itself with a frame,” she said, noting the cards are blank inside.
Calvo-Berndt is also selling some of her matted artwork imbedded with hearts at Pilgrim Candle this fall. Matted prints are available in 8”x10” and 11”x17” sizes and prices are $25 and $45 respectively.
“This year I know the world is difficult for retail due to COVID so I am hoping that some people will come into Pilgrim Candle to check out the cards and all of the other gifts that are sold at the shop,” she said.