Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Benign Belsnickle & Nicholas The Wizard

Once again, Will has joggled my mind, and I whisked something off of my little cabinet in the kitchen, to share with you. 

But first, I decided to go against my initial self-ban, and post a photo of a Yuletide doll here, since I myself pointed the conversation in the current direction.  Bear with me. There is a purpose.


I've had this 30+ inch Belsnickel for 6 or 7 years now, purchased at one of our local year around Christmas shops.  The artist gave him switches (which the shop owner didn't know why. .she and I are going to have a chat!),


And even a pack on his back for either coal or carting off naughty children, depending upon his mood, I guess.


However, the artist backed off on completing the character, choosing instead to make him the well loved, benevolent Santa Claus, carrying a wreath, and a wearing a compassionate face.  In studying him though, I like to think that is a ploy to lure in the naughty children, so that he can grab them with those over sized hands he has! :-)


Next, I proceeded into the kitchen, and took this off of the shelf!  He was produced by the Brown Bag Cookie Mold Co. in 1998, and was their first limited edition.  His title is "Celestial Santa".  I have a number of other cookie stamps that they produced, but has been my most treasured one, simply because of his blue and purple robes, and he is cradling the Moon in one hand, and has a staff of the Sun in the other, with stars circling his head.  And while his face is kindly, he looks like he could have a bit of spirit, a tad of spunk in him, should the need arise.

Free spirited artists have been tinkering with Santa's image off and on for some time now.  His first overhaul was back in the 1860's, when Thomas Nast took the chance, creating his interpretation of Santa for Harper's Weekly. And I do have to admit, I love the details of his illustrations, especially the early ones.

Then, in 1931, through a thoroughly commercial venture, artist Haddon Sundblom, took the reins, and created the Santa as we know him today for a Coca Cola ad!  I found this quote from Coca Cola to be intriguing:

"Before the 1931 introduction of the Coca-Cola Santa Claus created by artist Haddon Sundblom, the image of Santa ranged from big to small and fat to tall. Santa even appeared as an elf and looked a bit spooky."

. . . .looked a bit spooky. . hmmmm, for years now, various artists have played around the edges with interpreting Santa, but have never changed him like Nast did, or refined him like Sundblom's version.

Maybe now IS the time to refresh Santa once again.  With all of the increased interest in not only Halloween, but vintage Halloween, and vintage Yuletide, but in Wizards, Dragons, Faeries, Elves, Gnomes. .the whole mix.  Maybe it IS the time to put the spice back into Christmas, to bring back Santa's Companions, and the Spirits who visit in December, not just in October!   

And, this is the time of a Blue Moon! What a fortuitous sign!  William, I'm sure that I'm not the only one who would love to see you come up with a Santa that you would be happy with. .are you up to the challenge?  Are you going to be the one to lead Santa out of his saccharine saturated "traditional since the 1930's" life, and put some spunk, some mystical bite back into him?   No pressure though! lol (I'm just teasing you, although I would LOVE to see what you would create!)

But everyone here should think about it. We have some other Halloween & Holiday artists here too. Maybe it would be fun for everyone to recreate Santa in their vision.  A Santa Revolution! What fun!  Again, no pressure. Just give those creative genes a quick stir, and see what starts to form. .or not. lol

2 comments:

  1. I don't mind a little naughty mixed in with the nice - just not too scary, I get nightmares!

    I love your cookie stamp - wonderful!

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  2. Hi Suzie, About those lights: there are some small windows but we don't get much sun during an Ohio winter so I have several flood lights that I move as needed. I like the compact flourescent floodlights at 150 watt equivalent because they stay cool and the light is dazzling bright. I keep one regular incandescent flood to spotlight my painting projects because it is easier on the eyes. Those clamp on work light fixtures are great for this type of set up.

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