Monday, December 17, 2007

Crèche Fetish

What a busy weekend! On Saturday, Bart and Kathy invited me to go with them to an open house being hosted by a woman who collects nativity sets. She had them all on display throughout her house, including the bedroom and yes, the bathroom! There were nativity scenes on the walls in the hallway (like the Indian painting at the left), crèches filling the bookcase shelves in the kitchen, on top of the fireplace mantle as well as in front of the hearth, and spilling over the top of her baby grand piano onto the floor where there was a needlepoint rug displaying a nativity scene. The hostess was even wearing a necklace with the figures of Mary, Joseph, and the Christ Child strung on it.

She has been collecting these sets for years and from all over the world. Each set was labelled with the country of origin and sometimes the artist, or artists, who created them—Germany, the Slovak Republic, Mexico, the pueblo Indians of New Mexico, Tasmania, New Orleans, Russia, Kenya, Rwanda, and even an origami set from Japan. The origami set one was created in a box and when you want to store it away, you just fold up the lid of the box. No need to move anything!

The materials used were equally varied—wood, ivory, stone, paper, cork, beads, glass, and one unusual set that was carved wood blackened with coal dust and resin from West Virginia. It was very hard to get a good picture of that one. Some were very ornate like this set from Peru, and some were plain and simple like the one up top. Some were very old and some were contemporary. It was a photographer's paradise and I had a great time taking photos. The only hard part was choosing which ones to show on my blog!

Here are a few more. The colorful crèche on the left is created with thousands of beads glued to some base, wood I presume. It was created by the Huicitol Indians of Mexico. And I just fell in love with the expression of the faces of this polyform set made by Jovenia of New Mexico.

But my eyes really lit up when I saw the knitted set below that the hostess herself had made. Like the gnomes of last year, I just had to have the pattern. So did a lot of other people. She graciously dug out the pattern book and it turned out to be another UK booklet by Jean Greenhowe. If you want to get the pattern, you can order it from Annie's Attic in the US.

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