Dear readers, you can see in the picture above that this year's Christmas Card is done! I am running late, it is not to the printers or mailed, but I wanted to include it in this post because the theme of the card, the Nativity, matches the theme of this post. I had hoped to post this blog sooner, but I am running late.... And because I am running late, I will not bore you with showing you ALL of my Nativities.... just a select few!
To begin with, one of my earliest Christmas memories is of reading a book about the Christmas story that showed the birth of the Christ Child and the manger with the animals looking over him. I was fascinated with that story, and always wanted to have my own Creche. But it wasn't until I saw the magnificent antique Creche that my ex-husband's family bought in Sicily many years ago, that I was inspired to create one of my own. Theirs was entirely hand made of paper mache and cardboard and included many figures representing the local villagers dancing on the lawn, and shepherds and at least a dozen angels with musical instruments flying overhead. The figures were each about eight inches tall, so the entire creche set up took up a large part of their living room! I was inspired to try to make my own version - and while my creche copied some of their features, it was not at all like theirs in the end. My figures ended up slightly larger in scale - between eight and ten inches tall, and I didn't end up making as many of the extra village figures as I had originally planned. Mine are made from paper mache and old fashioned brown paper bags on wire armatures, eventually painted with acrylic paints (a process which took me nearly FOREVER to complete!) The whole Creche takes up a fair amount of room, but I set it up in a corner of my Dining Room/Studio next to the Lovely Old Dollhouse. Here below you can see most of it.... excluding the camels and the horse that the Kings travel on..... they take up too much room to fit in this picture!
And a closer view. The Innkeeper is looking on in the back of the stable, and his wife is acting as the midwife, drying a towel by the fire. The Kings approach on the left, and the shepherds are awed by the angels overhead.....
And here is a closer shot of the Holy family, with Mary preparing to nurse the newborn babe. I have made her with a bared breast in the manner of the numerous Medieval images of the Madonna nursing her child. (When I sculpted this figure I had a one year old son, so I was feeling particularly maternal!)
This creche is larger than traditional dollhouse scale, so I have not tried to incorporate it into my miniature dollhouse world. But that does not mean I have ignored the Nativity in my mini homes! On the contrary, I have collected tiny Creche figures over the years and carefully set them aside for the Someday Dollhouses! The smallest of these are set up in the bay window of the Folly. I am pretty sure it was NOT Arthur's doing! Pollyanna is the one who likes to decorate! (These are not figures made by me....)
And Pollyanna has a much larger and fancier version which she has set up in the Lovely Old Dollhouse! She has invited Sally May and Chip to bring Annabelle to see it.
As for the Medieval world in my Castle Dollhouse...... the Nativity was a VERY important part of the liturgical year. And while in Medieval times, they may have had creches that they set up to show the scene of the Christ Child's birth, it was more often that they had painted walls depicting the Nativity, or carved Altar Screens showing the stages of Christ's life from birth to death. Because I am running SO LATE with my projects, I have not yet painted the wall that will have the Nativity scene in the Chapel. I promise to show it to you when I do get it finished!
But nonetheless, it is Christmas Eve and the humble people living in the Castle have gone to the Chapel to hear the Midnight Mass performed by the traveling Monk who has come just in time! He has lit the Altar Candles and is about to begin.......
You can see that they have a carved and gilded Altar Screen depicting the Birth of the Christ Child.... and a very beautifully ornamented book from which he will read the story....
So we are gathered together the whole world over, to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child!
I have always been fascinated with the Nativity, and have come, like many of you, to adore the newborn babe.
And so I send you all a Christmas wish;
That you find Love, Peace, Health and Joy in your Coming year!The Nativity And The Christmas Card Too!