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  • Writer's pictureMary Gobet

Mad skills

There is a different way to look at art here in Germany. They take pride in skills like nothing I have ever seen in the US. But they also look at earning money with your art differently. Here in Germany if you make jewelry or hats or carved wood objects and you sell them at fairs or shows. . .AND you do not earn enough money to support yourself (have a regular day job) then you are considered a hobbyist and not an “artist” no matter if your art is wonderful. So here my purses are a hobby. And I am not an artist.

When I look at some of the things at the Christmas markets here I see great skills and artistry. The large markets have real “businesses” in the booths and the smaller markets have hobbyists.

Germany takes pride in certain regions being the experts in certain skills. This goes back to the time these regions were separate countries. Now they are considered States inside Germany. Munich is in the state of Bavaria, Karlsruhe where we are now is in the state of Baden-Wurtenberg (yes Baden Baden is inside this state.) Now that I explained this you will understand that Zschorlau where Mario lives is part of Saxony and also known in general as Erdzeberger (air-dza-burger). And this is where the famous wood carved nutcrackers, and smoking men figures come from. The Baden-Wurtenberg is known for the Black Forest and the cuckoo clocks.

While with Mario this week we visited one of the biggest stores for the smoking man figures. There were so many beautiful figurines. The designs were charming. Yes I brought home a few. . . ok alot.

Here are just a few pics of the window in front of the store. I didn’t want to take pics inside where there were too many people. Mario gave Jerry a wonderful smoking man that is a guy standing next to a smoker with the meat on the grill. He will cherish it forever.

We also visited a Koppel schule (Lace school). The town of Zschorlau has a special school for the lace making and another one for wood carving. The Lace school was a wonderful surprise for me. There were students there some young like about 12 year olds and then two ladies and of course the teacher. They demonstrated for me and of course their fingers flew so fast.

Above the lace school was the library. This was a fairly new addition to the village. And it is located in the oldest building of the village. I was quite impressed at all the books for children they had there. I think Zschorlau pays a lot of attention to the education of the kids. Both in normal school subjects and of course the traditional skills that the region is known for.

On one day we went to Annaberg for the christmas market. Annaberg is part of the Erdzeberger region as I said before it is the wood carvers center of Germany. Not only was the christmas market different, full of carved ornaments. But the best thing was the museum called The Manufacturer of Dreams. Check out the link, there are beautiful displays of hand carved figures that are 300+ years old.

Here are a few of my pics. A full chandelier entirely carved of wood. A noah’s ark with all the animals lined up and it took 3 shelves to get all the animals on display. Matchbox scene.Just think about how small they had to carve these things to et them in a match box.

I even found a beaded chandelier.

And Loui posed for me in a wood chair.

Back at Zschorlau while doing a walking tour with Mario & Tina we were shown a carving that a family member was doing. This was larger than life and it wasn’t completed yet. Tina said that the person who was the model of this statue was her science teacher. Even in this rough form this is so detailed. Even had buttons already carved in on the sleeve. I hope they will send us a picture of this finished carving when the artist finishes it.

WE can even find amazing work at a local mine. I wil have a different blog about the Silver in. But here I will put a few pics of the miniature display to show the mine history. The detail of these CARVED little figures are just mind boggling. Let alone the landscape.

All in all I was overwhelmed at all the skills these people have. And how just a short 2 hour drive you can see regional difference in styles and pride in the differences. To have schools for these skills is also to be commended. they truly want the next generation t continue with the heritage their families have been developing for over 200+ years.

Our art schools are not based on regional skills or designs. Sure wish we could find a way to bring these kinds of schools into our areas.

Check out the videoson the beyondmirays facebook page.

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