Tuesday, July 27, 2010

First Coat - The sealing secret

Norwegian - God Jul og Godt Nyttår

The painting process has begun. Tom must seal the wood and apply just enough color to tint the bare areas. My entire surface must then sanded again and a tack cloth used to remove all of the dust. I will be rubbed with a clean, dry cloth and given a final check for unwanted tool marks. The adding of color will be a gradual process to guarantee the look that sets Tom’s creations apart from other carvers’ works. Sometimes Tom applies the color all over. Sometimes only on certain parts of his figures, depending on the look he is trying to achieve. As soon as the added pigments dry, Tom will be able to begin painting me. Interestingly, another Tom, Thomas Nast, created one of the first images of me in 1863.

See you later.

St. Nick

Thomas Nast (1840-1902)

America's foremost political cartoonist and the creator of the image of Santa Claus as we know him today.

In 1863, political cartoonist Thomas Nast began a series of annual drawings in Harper's Weekly which were based on the descriptions found in Clement Moore's  poem and Washington Irving's work.

Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862; Santa was shown as a small elf-like figure that supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years and along the way changed the color of his coat from tan to the now traditional red. Nast popularized several political symbols: the Democratic donkey, the Republican elephant the Tammany tiger. He also gave us our present-day conception of Uncle Sam, John Bull and Columbia. The figure Nast drew, which was based on Pelznikel, the St. Nicholas of his German ancestors, is the famous Santa Claus, now known to everybody in the country.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Carving Completed!

Mandarin - Sheng Dan Kuai Le, Xing Nian Kuai Le

Hooray. I have been looking forward to this day for 23 weeks. The carving process is over and my transformation from cypress knee to Father Christmas is complete. It has been time consuming but for Tom, it has been a labor of love. The addition of color is the next thing that will happen. I don’t know what colors I will wear, but I trust Diane’s judgment. Keep in touch.


Tom says he like to work with different types of wood, so here’s a fact about holly.

Holly was the sacred plant of Saturn and was used at the Roman Saturnalia festival to honor him. Romans gave one another holly wreaths and carried them about decorating images of Saturn with it. Centuries later, in December, while other Romans continued their pagan worship, Christians celebrated the birth of Jesus. To avoid persecution, they decked their homes with Saturnalia holly. As Christian numbers increased and their customs prevailed, holly lost its pagan association and became a symbol of Christmas.

And there will be a new generation of carvers:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Details and Code Words

Irish -Nollaig Shona Dhuit

Hello again. I can’t believe that the journey is almost over. Thank you for being a part of my transition. I am almost done. The finishing details are tedious and time consuming but it is this process that brings the personality to my friends and me. The next time we talk, I will be ready for the painting process. See you then.

It is said that the traditional Christmas carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written as a secret teaching tool to instruct children in the meaning of the Christian faith. From 1558 to 1829 Roman Catholics in England were, apparently, forbidden from openly practicing their religion. So, this carol was devised to get the message across without upsetting the Protestants. Here is the broken code.