The Wood Workers Shop - An Advent Calendar and our Traditional European Artisans

Posted on October 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

As we near this holiday season we realize that My Growing Traditions is truly about celebrating with the best of European folk art and Christmas. The artisans and their workshops whose folk art we offer are ones that represent the premier of their genre. All of them have histories that go back decades, some closing in on 100 years, and some beyond. They are artisans that have perfected their art and are recognized world-wide as masters in their field. They have been instrumental in creating and maintaining tradition. We carry Inge-Glas of Germany Christmas ornaments - the oldest Christmas ornament company in the world (since 1596) - and Marcel Carbonel Santons (since 1935) of Marseille, France, the preeminent Santons workshop.

And, we rejoice in the smaller workshops of the Erzgebirge, Germany - from the official German Christmas Village, Seiffen, and the toy-making villages that surround.

These wood-working artisans are so beautifully depicted in Brück und Sohn's (printer Meissen, Germany since 1793) Advent Calendar - The Erzgebirge Woodworker's Shop.

 Click here for Brück und Sohn's other Advent Calendars available on My Growing Traditions.

Our fondness for the Woodworker's Shop Advent Calendar led us to want to share with you photos of the workshops of many of the artisans that we carry. 


Christian Werner of Seiffen (since 1985) specializes in the exact work of the Woodworker's Shop - he is one of only eight who work in Reifendrehen, or ring-turning. 

Bettina Franke has followed in her parents footsteps and carves wonderful Santas and nativity figures. Her workshop like Christian Werner's has flourished since the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of communism in Eastern Europe.   
The Emil Helbig Workshop (since 1933) of the toy making village of Grunhainichen in the Erzgebirge is renowned for their exquisite figures - here the wood carver works on a cat.






Classic Angels and many other wonderful wooden figures have been created by the Wendt and Kuhn Workshop in Grunhainichen since 1915.


And last but not least, we want to share with you here this picture of the creation of a wood-chip tree, or Spanbaum, a folk art that dates to the 1930s.

We have been privileged over the years to visit the workshops of each of these artisans - a true joy and an experience that has cemented our desire to make their work available to you.


Posted in Angels, Brück and Sohn, Christian Werner, Christmas Traditions, Emil Helbig, Erzgebirge, German Christmas, German Folk Art, Nativities, Santa, Trees, Wendt and Kühn

Emil Helbig Exhibit at the Seiffen Toy Museum - and yes, we carry their wonderful folk art

Posted on November 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

If, by any chance, you plan to travel to Germany before the 4th of May 2014, make a side-trip to Seiffen and their Toy Museum.  From 16 November 2013 and 4 May 2014, the Toy Museum is holding a special exhibit of the work of the Emil Helbig Workshop in Grunhainichen. Founded 80 years ago, the Helbig Workshop is one of the oldest existing wood working workshops (Schnitzwerkstatten) in the Erzgebirge and considered one of its finest.

A graduate of the Dresden Arts and Crafts School in 1919, Helbig worked at the Meissen porcelain factory where he was discovered by Professor Alwin Seifert, the director of the "State Toy School." Helbig founded his own very special workshop in Grunhainichen in 1933. The exhibit at the Toy Museum includes many pieces that have never before been seen by the public.

We proudly carry their nativity, from the Mary, Joseph, and Jesus (shown here) to a full set of other nativity figures

and many of their Christmas ornaments, this angel being only one of them. Visit here to see more delightful Helbig Christmas ornaments.


We look forward to carrying more and more Helbig folk art over the years.  Let us know if there are specific pieces you are interested in.

Posted in Angels, Emil Helbig, Erzgebirge, German Christmas, German Folk Art, Nativities