Blog

Wendt and Kühn Angel Musician with Bass Flute - New for 2021

Posted on April 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

Wendt and Kühn Angel Musician with Bass Flute - New for 2021

     

"The bass flute is a member of the flute family. It is in the key of C, pitched one octave below the concert flute. Despite its name, its playing range makes it the tenor member of the flute family. Because of the length of its tube (approximately 146 cm (57 in)), it is usually made with a J-shaped head joint, which brings the embouchure hole within reach of the player. It is usually only used in flute choirs, as it is easily drowned out by other instruments of comparable register, such as the clarinet."  Wikipedia

a Grünhainichen Angel

2-1/2" tall

WK no. 650/82 with a Wendt and Kühn Presentation / Gift Box

A delightful addition to your collection.

Posted in Angels, German Folk Art, Wendt and Kühn

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Posted on December 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

My Growing Traditions is Moving and Closed 19-26 December

Posted on December 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

We are moving and are closed 19-26 December.

We will ship all orders placed during that time on 28 December.

If you have a problem with a shipment you have received, please write us an email at admin@mygrowingtraditions.com.

Shipping is moving slow this year because of over whelming online orders, we will not be held responsible for late deliveries, once the package is picked up it is out of our control.

Behind Provence’s famous traditional festive figurines - The Story of Marcel Carbonel Santons

Posted on December 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

We are delighted to share this wonderful article by Camille Renoux on the tradition of Marcel Carbonel Santons - the premier Santons workshop in Provence, which we are very proud to carry. Only Carbonel paints Santons with the meticulous painting processes detailed here.

"During December in Provence there are numerous fairs selling individual handcrafted traditional crib figures known as santons made in the region.

One of the oldest workshops is Santons Marcel Carbonel, named after the first man to be awarded Meilleur Ouvrier de France for his work as a santonnier in 1961 (santonsmarcelcarbonel.com).

The company, awarded Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant for its traditional savoir-faire has stayed in the same family for four generations.

Why are santons made in Provence?

The first live crib was created by Saint Francis of Assisi during a mass in the forest of Abruzzi in Italy in the 13th century.

In the 17th century we know that a Capuchin friar, with a gift for sculpture, reproduced the characters for use by his congregation in Marseille.

Up until the Revolution, churches used to have nativity scenes at midnight mass, but afterwards these were forbidden and people started making miniature versions they could display in their own homes.

First, they would make them out of anything to hand, but gradually a profession grew up around them.

Master-craftsmen appeared in the 19th century and they would include characters from everyday life.

The first annual Foire aux Santons et aux Crèches was in 1803 in Marseille, and it is still an annual event today. Provence probably became the centre because the craftsmen made the figures out of clay which was readily available in the region.

Who was Marcel Carbonel?

He was a well-known santonnier who had studied at the Beaux Arts and worked as a lithographer before he started making his first crib figures in 1935.

His father, who was an electrician, also made cork santons as a sideline, which he sold at the Foire aux Santons in Marseille.

When he died, Marcel started making his own, out of clay. His figures stood out from others because he made his own natural pigments, still used today, to decorate them so they were brightly coloured but not shiny. He painted the faces with fine details which made the figures come alive as real personalities. He set up his first workshop in Marseille in 1942, and we are still here nearly 80 years later.

How are the santons made?

Everything is done by hand. First a character has to be designed and created.

Every year we introduce a new one to our range. Then a plaster mould is made and copies of a poorer quality are made which are sent out to our crafts people who mostly work in their own homes.

The poorer quality mould is designed so that it will not last for long, so it won’t be copied. It is in two parts. The clay is pressed into each side and then pressed together. The figure is released from the mould and carefully trimmed so that you cannot see any trace of the seam.

The craftsperson adds fine details such as the handle of a basket or the drumstick of a tambourine player by hand. After drying the figures are fired in a kiln. “Each piece is checked at each stage of the production and rejected if there is the slightest sign of any defect.

There are two firings a week all year round. Santons are in the kiln for 24 hours. It takes 12 hours for the kiln to heat up to its maximum temperature of 980°, they bake for six hours and then it takes six hours for the oven to cool so the figures can be taken out without cracking.

How are they decorated?

There is a chief decorator who works out the detail of each character and other decorators follow his or her instructions.

The watercolours are all prepared in our workshop. Each figure has 16 layers of paint. The decorators paint 50 at a time, and repeat the same layer on each one, so by the time they have reached the last one, the first has dried and they will be able to start with the next layer.

Each decorator paints around 150 a week. Each piece is checked at each stage of the production and rejected if there is the slightest sign of any defect.

What skills do you need to make santons?

You have to have passion and dedication. Santonniers have to be very meticulous with great attention to detail.

Who are the figures in a Provençal crib?

The different local crafts and jobs are represented as well as the biblical figures found in all crib scenes.

They come from the Pastorales Provençales, [plays which are traditionally acted out around Christmas, particularly around Marseille. They depict the nativity story as it would have happened if it had been in Provence].

Our characters come from one of the most-famous pastorales called la Maurel. All types of work carried out by local people are represented. There are olive pickers, stone masons, shepherds, lavender pickers, a woman with a baby, a monk, a fisherman and so on. Every year we add a new figure. This year’s was a hat maker.

When is the crib set up?

Traditionally, families open the box where the crib has been stored all year in November. They plan what it will look like and what new characters to add.

Maybe there will be a walk to collect moss, leaves and small wood chips to decorate the scene. It takes time to set it up. The finished crib is then traditionally on display from Sainte-Barbe, on December 4.

This marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Provence when wheat grains are planted in three saucers of humid cotton and if they have grown well by Christmas Day it is a sign of a good year ahead. Every day the santons are moved to create a new scene.

Finally, on Christmas Eve, the Baby Jesus is laid into the manger, at midnight. The three Kings start approaching until they arrive for the Epiphany. The crib is then put away until the next year.

Are your clients mainly from Provence?

We have customers all over France. It is a tradition that has spread throughout the country. Often families add a new figure every year and grow their collection.

They are all types of people. Provençal, Parisian, religious, carrying on a family tradition. Often the crib is passed down the generations and we have families who have been faithful to us over many years. We also sell to the United States, Japan, Belgium and Switzerland.

Many countries have their own cribs. What is different about those from Provence?

We have a museum with more than 2,000 pieces from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries from all over the world.

They are made in many different materials including wood, cork, paper, glass and porcelain. In Provence, they are made from terracotta. There are five major producers including ourselves in the region and we all have our own characteristics."

Posted in Carbonel Santons, Christmas Traditions, French Christmas, Nativities, Provence Christmas

Wendt and Kühn Gold Edition #13 - the Dreamer with Butterfly / New for 2020

Posted on May 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

The 2020 Wendt and Kühn Gold Edition is #13 - the Dreamer with Golden Butterfly.     

Available in the Limited Edition (shown above) and with simply the "golden" butterfly:     

The Dreamer is very special, with 24-karat Gold-plated butterfly (and for the Limited Edition 24-karat Gold-plated butterfly and base in a splinter box). As Wendt and Kuehn explains: "No-one has expressed the power of positivity more fittingly than that well-known fan of Wendt and Kuehn figurines, the famous Walt Disney himself: 'All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.' And this year's Gold Edition... the Dreamer is truly a perfect dream. When we created the 'Angel with Golden Butterfly' a year ago, little could we have known how symbolic its meaning would be for the times we find ourselves in today. A wonderful gift for small people with big dreams and for grown-ups...." who simply stated, cherish the ability to dream.

Both are available now and you can find them here.

Enjoy!

Posted in Angels, Erzgebirge, German Folk Art, Wendt and Kühn

Wendt and Kühn Angel Musician with Two-Tone Block / New for 2020

Posted on March 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

For 2020 Wendt and Kühn has introduced the Angel Musician with Two-Tone Block.

     

The Two-Tone block is a percussion instrument made of wood, usually teak.

     

Two-tone blocks became known through early jazz music. It is an instrument that produces its sound through the use of the material from which it is made, without needing strings or a stretched skin. Composers have used two-tone blocks to imitate a variety of effects from horses' hooves to a dripping tap and a ticking clock.

2-1/4" tall

WK no. 650/79 with a Wendt and Kühn Presentation / Gift Box

Made in Germany

Available in Blonde or Brunette hair color.

Now available - shop here

__________
Wendt and Kühn of Grünhainichen, Germany,
a "Toymakers Village"- since 1915 
Imaginative, unique, elegant, and delicate
figurines from a traditional workshop -
meticulously hand-crafted by 155 artisans -
80 are painters,
but only four (4) paint faces.
Winner of the 1937 World's Fair, Paris
Gold Medal - Grand Prix
Simply Exquisite!

Posted in Angels, Erzgebirge, German Folk Art, Wendt and Kühn

WENDT & KÜHN ELEGANT LIMITED EDITION MADONNAS WITH CHILD INTRODUCED IN 2020

Posted on February 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

Wendt and Kühn has introduced two exquisite Limited Edition Madonnas with Child.  

       

 

These figurines are masterpieces made exclusively to order. They are available by SPECIAL ORDER (see the details below) and are 16-1/2" tall. Each year Wendt and Kühn will create only 100 pieces. The label on the underside of the base will show its number out of 100 together with the year it was made. My Growing Traditions is offering them at a savings of $300.00. 

The two Madonnas offered are very different in appearance. While the Madonna in the dark-blue richly painted dress exudes elegance, the one with the pale-blue robe touches us with her gentle demeanor. Regardless of which version you choose, the skill and artistry that has gone into their painting means these impressive large figurines represent the master craftsmanship of the Wendt and Kühn workshops like no others.

    

To order please call My Growing Traditions at 1-877-831-6077 (Eastern Time).

Each extraordinary Madonna will be produced exclusively to order, one by one. These pieces require a very high degree of craftsmanship from the skilled craftsmen and women at the Wendt and Kuehn workshops.

A $750.00 non-refundable deposit will be required.  Once ordered this item cannot be canceled, it is limited to 100 pieces per year and if not available it will come the next year. In placing your order you agree to wait for delivery.

Brunette or Blonde hair color may be requested, but is not guaranteed.

It is not known whether Grete Wendt was interested in the Virgin Mary in a religious sense or if she took a more humanistic view of the Madonna as a depiction of a mother and child. What we do know is that she was very taken with a particular painting of the Madonna, the “The Virgin and Child with a Pear” 

by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), a German painter. A reproduction of this work hung on the wall of her living room.

In the coming years Wendt and Kühn intends to select with great care, and at regular intervals, a number of genuine treasures from their extraordinary treasure trove of designs.

__________
Wendt and Kühn of Grünhainichen, Germany,
a "Toymakers Village"- since 1915 
Imaginative, unique, elegant, and delicate
figurines from a traditional workshop -
meticulously hand-crafted by 155 artisans -
80 are painters,
but only four (4) paint faces.
Winner of the 1937 World's Fair, Paris
Gold Medal - Grand Prix
Simply Exquisite!

 

Posted in Angels, Christmas Legends, Christmas Traditions, Erzgebirge, German Christmas, German Folk Art, Sale, Wendt and Kühn

1 2 3 25 Next »