Unveiled Secrets: Why Willow Tree Figurines Are Faceless

Ever wondered why Willow Tree figurines, those cherished symbols of love and hope, lack facial features? It's a deliberate choice by artist Susan Lordi since the year 2000, aiming to evoke emotions and connect people more deeply. Without faces, these figurines become a blank canvas for your feelings, allowing you to project your own stories and relationships onto them.

The faceless design of Willow Tree figurines isn't about anonymity; it's about universality. It invites you to see yourself or your loved ones in the figure, making each piece deeply personal and meaningful. Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or seeking solace, these figurines offer a unique way to express what's in your heart.

History of Willow Tree Figurines


The inception of Willow Tree figurines traces back to 1999, a pivotal year when artist Susan Lordi began sculpting these distinctive pieces. Created in her art studio in Kansas City, Missouri, Lordi's figurines are more than mere decorations; they are a form of expressive art that connects with people on an emotional level. Each original sculpture is carved by Lordi herself, using a special sculpting clay favoured for its ability to capture the nuanced gestures and forms she desires.

Early Designs

In the early stages, Lordi's focus was primarily on the simplicity and purity of emotion. Her earliest designs captured everyday sentiments: love, closeness, healing, courage, hope—all the emotions that weave into the fabric of our lives. Crafted with no facial features, these figurines were intentionally designed to communicate through body language and gestures alone, inviting you to impart your personal narrative onto the piece.


Willow Tree figurines steadily gained popularity due to their universal appeal and the profundity of simplicity. People from various backgrounds found resonance in the figurines' ability to convey emotion without a single etched feature. With each figure's meaning left open to interpretation, the brand saw a rise in collectors and enthusiasts who valued the personal connection each piece evoked. This surge of interest transformed Willow Tree into a symbol of personal storytelling through art.

The Meaning Behind Blank Faces

Symbolic Representation

In the world of Willow Tree figurines, the lack of facial details goes beyond artistic choice—it’s a meaningful strategy. Faceless sculptures are a canvas for your personal connections. As you gaze upon these art pieces, the absence of a face on the figurine symbolizes universality. Unlike detailed representations, these simple forms don't convey a specific identity, making them inclusive of any age, gender, or ethnicity. The figurines embody a range of roles and emotions, from a loving embrace to a comforting presence, all without the bias of specific facial characteristics.

Encouraging Imagination

Imagination plays a critical role when it comes to engaging with art that has intentionally omitted details. Blank faces on Willow Tree figurines encourage you to project your own narratives. It's a concept similar to reading a book versus watching a movie—you're more likely to form a unique and personal connection when using your imagination to fill in the blanks. This interaction not only makes each figurine special but also strengthens the emotional bond between the giver and the receiver of these meaningful gifts.

Emotional Expression

The design of faceless figurines focuses on body language to convey a wide array of emotions. Lordi’s figurines harness the silent language of a tender tilt of the head, a gentle touch, or a protective stance to express what words often cannot. Through these subtle gestures, you're able to experience empathy and connect emotionally, recognizing familiar feelings of love, friendship, or solace. The figures become vessels of emotion, ensuring every piece resonates with your personal experiences, making them timeless keepsakes of your most treasured memories.

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The Artistic Choice

Focus on Body Language

When you look at a Willow Tree figurine, its silent communication reaches out to you, not through facial expressions, but through carefully sculpted body gestures. This is by design. The creator believed what was left out of the figurines could speak louder than what was visually apparent. It's the subtlety of a tilt in the head, the gentle curve of an arm, or the protective way one figure may hold another that conveys a wealth of emotions and narratives. Here are the ways in which body language takes center stage:

  • Gestures speak volumes: Each figurine’s posture and movement are thematic, embodying emotions like love, comfort, and hope.
  • A focus on form: Removing the specifics of facial features draws your attention to the shape and line of the figurines, adding a timeless elegance to the piece.
  • Power of imagination: Without definitive facial expressions, you're invited to imprint your personal experiences, making the emotional connection with the figurine stronger.

This thoughtful approach ensures that your interaction with the figurine is reflective and deep, as the absence of a face requires you to engage more fully with the piece.

Universal Appeal

Willow Tree figurines aren't bound by the constraints of detailed facial characteristics, making them universally appealing. They do not represent any particular individual but rather echo a pure form that transcends ethnic, cultural, and age barriers. Here's how they achieve a universal language of emotion:

  • Subtle skin tones: The creator uses a palette of four skin tones that appeal across a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds.
  • Cultural diversity: Multiple pieces are open to interpretation as ethnically diverse, celebrating the variance found in our society.
  • Family representation: The figurines provide options to combine different figures, reflecting the unique dynamics of multiracial and blended families.

This element of universal appeal ensures that Willow Tree figurines resonate with you, regardless of where you come from or what story you bring to them. By simplifying the figures to their essence, you're encouraged to find a piece of yourself within them and to interpret them in a way that holds personal significance.

Collecting Willow Tree Figurines

Limited Editions

Owning a piece from the Willow Tree collection goes beyond mere possession; it's about holding a slice of artistic narrative. Limited edition figurines emerge periodically, instilling a sense of urgency for collectors. These special releases are often celebrated for their unique design elements and scarcity, which potentially increase their value over time. When you collect limited editions, you're not just gathering objects; you're capturing moments and memories encapsulated in something tangible and rare.

Displaying and Caring for Figurines

As you expand your collection, displaying your figurines becomes an art form in itself. Placement plays a crucial role; for optimal impact, arrange them at eye level where they can be admired easily. Direct sunlight should be avoided to prevent fading. Dusting should be done with a soft brush or cloth to maintain their pristine condition. It's also recommended to regularly rotate display positions to refresh your environment and keep the energy dynamic.

Community and Events

The passion for Willow Tree figurines often extends into a community of like-minded enthusiasts. Throughout the year, various events enable collectors to unite, share stories, and showcase their collections. These gatherings are not just social affairs—they're a source of new friendships, exclusive insights, and sometimes, access to special edition figurines. Engaging with the community online through forums or social media groups can also enhance your collecting journey with tips, trade opportunities, and camaraderie.

Where to Get Willow Tree Figurines

You've seen how the unique design of Willow Tree figurines serves to evoke emotion and foster personal connections. Their faceless forms aren't a lack of detail but a canvas for your imagination, allowing you to infuse your own stories and memories into each piece. These timeless figurines break the boundaries of individual differences, uniting collectors through shared sentiments and experiences. As you add to your collection, remember that it's not just about the figures themselves but the intangible bonds they represent and the community they bring together. Hallmark Timmins sells Willow Tree Figurines and other timeless keepsakes, whether they be a gift for someone, or to add to your own collection.
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