Friday, January 30, 2009

Show and Tell Friday – New Pop-Up Nativity

In November I shared a pop-up nativity book in this post.

Last month my middle sister informed me that I would love one of my Christmas gifts from her, and she couldn’t wait until I opened it. It was very special – a fold-out or pop-up nativity.

Here is the description from the back of the box:
"A fold-out, three-dimensional nativity scene with dramatic changing wheels, brilliant watercolor illustrations by Bradley H. Clark, and a pull-out panel retelling the timeless Christmas story."
It is copyright 1994 by Wild Honey, A Division of Ottenhiemer Publishers, Inc. for Victor Books.

This is the front cover, with its gilt ribbon ties.:

With the front flaps opened, we see the title, "Holy Night: An Illuminated Nativity Story With Fold-out Creche":

With the creche folded out:

The two side flaps, left and right:

It is a beautiful gift for a nativity scenes collector, don’t you think?

Thank you for stopping by today. See more Show and tell Friday treasures at Kelli’s blog, There is No Place Like Home.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nativity Scenes From – Europe Part 1, Italy

This is the second in a series of posts about nativity scenes from different world areas. We turn now to Europe since that is where our western concepts of the nativity scene were developed. The display shows items from western Europe and ends with Italy. This post will focus on Italy because the tradition of the nativity was initiated there.

On Christmas Eve in 1223 St. Francis of Asissi provided a simple live nativity scene in a cave in Greccio, a village near Assisi, Italy. The scene consisted of a manger filled with straw an ox and a donkey and was set in a cave near the town. It took place as part of a Christmas Eve service at which Francis preached. In time this became a practice followed in other places across Italy.

Then, representations of the nativity of Jesus were made of ceramics, porcelain, wood and other materials. In homes of the wealthy these representations became quite elaborate, with dozens of characters in the scene. The custom spread across Europe and then to the new world.

Perhaps the most well-known nativity product in United States is the Fontanini line. Made in Italy, it is available in many sizes. The most popular size is the 5 inch size, for which many different stables and figures have been produced. In the U.S. Fontanini is distributed by Roman, Inc. Following are views of my Fontanini™ Heirloom Nativity.

I started out with 13-piece set of 12 figures and the stable.

Since then I have added other figures, accessories and structures to the scene.

I plan to enhance the setting with a multilevel unit and a more effective layout to depict the nativity story.

Here are the angels and the shepherds and their sheep:

The Roman soldiers near two Kings tents:

The last grouping I have for this Fontanini set is an animal shelter with attendants:

The photo in the header of this blog pictures another Italian set, the Castagna nativity. It is made of alabaster and resin, referred to as "cold cast marble", "hand finished after removal from mold." The Castagna Collection was made in Bagni de Lucca, in the Tuscany hills of Italy in 1991.

"When Castagna was asked to make a Nativity Collection, she insisted that a few conditions be met. The setting would not be an Alpine manger or stable, but rather a stone structure as found in Bethlehem at that time. The figures would not be Italian or Spanish. They would have to be of Biblical origin. The figures would have to be animated and communicate the awe that Joseph and Mary must have felt when visitors from afar came to the humble stable to worship their child. The outcome of her efforts is yours to behold."

Next we have a grouping of three small nativities.

At the top is a vintage white plastic nativity scene. 6 pieces: 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 inches.

On the left is a hand painted ceramic nativity by Nuova Capodimonte. 1-piece sculpture. 5" T x 4" W. inside a yellow grotto the colorfully dressed Family takes shelter.
On the right is a handpainted nativity family by Demetz Art Studio. 7" T. 6" W x 4 1/4"D wood base. "On bottom of base is an embedded gold color disc that identifies this as a Vincenzo Demetz Figlio piece."

Next is a three-piece set of art glass infused with gold, made in Murano, Italy.

Another small one-piece nativity is of pewter and stained glass with brass. 3 1/8" T. Brass base displays pewter figures of Joseph, Baby Jesus, and Mary in front of a round stained glass with a shooting Star.

This scene shows a cave-style stable, which was likely what the place for sheltering animals was like in long-ago Bethlehem.

The next post in this series, Nativity Scenes From – Europe, Part 2, will show creches from the British isles and continental Europe.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Lovely Award – Thanks Sheila

Sheila at The Quintessential Magpie has honored this blog with the Proximadade Award, which translated from Portuguese means, "This blog contributes to and supports or believes in close friendships."
"This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

I am passing this award to four bloggers, each of whose blog provides much warmth to blogland.

Susan – A Southern Daydreamer
Lady Katherine – Lady Katherine Tea Parlor
Nancy – Southern Lady
Nicole - Blue Jeans Hostess

Again many thanks, Sheila for this lovely award.

Vintage Thingies Thursday – Three Book Illustrations

For today’s vintage subject I’d like to share three framed illustrations from a book
titled 'A Talking Book- The First Christmas Morning' story by Minnie Lake. Narrator Frank Phillips. Illustrations by John Mansbridge; Music by Leslie Bridgewater; Produced by Nicholas Sandor; A TPL production in cooperation with Religious Films Ltd., London. Trade Distributors Horace Marshall & Son LTD Temple House, Temple Avenue London. 1948.

I bought these three prints from the book in 2005 from an eBay dealer in England. The frames were bought at Michaels.

The first print is "Mary, Newborn Jesus, Joseph, Shepherds." In the center we see Mary with the reclining Babe in arms, and Joseph nearby. On the left are shepherds and a lamb, and on the right an ox, donkey and sheep.

The second print shows "Joseph Welcoming Three Kings." In the left foreground we see an animated Joseph at door motioning the three visitors to come in.

The third print is "Angel Announces Jesus Under Star." Here the Angel under the Star announces Jesus’ birth to shepherds in field with their flock.

I enjoy the composition of the illustrations. They each provide a fresh view of the nativity story.

Please visit Suzanne at Coloradolady for more Vintage Thingies posts.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Nativity Ornament Trees

Earlier, in this post I introduced one of two nativity trees. Today I’ll share a second nativity tree.

The two types of nativity ornaments in the collection are defined in the post, "What the Collection Includes,": a. creche ornaments -These are small nativity scenes meant to be hung on a tree as ornaments. Example:

b. creche figure ornaments - These are individual figures meant to be put on a tree as ornaments.Example:

The two nativity trees I have set up each uses one type of nativity ornament as defined above. The first one I’ll call "Bethlehem Vignettes" – creche ornaments (depicting aspects of the nativity story)

As mentioned above, this tree was presented in the post for Nov. 20, 2008:

Here are closeups of the various nativity ornaments.

The second tree might be called "Figures of Bethlehem" – figure ornaments (people and animals of the nativity story)

This particular tree is 6 ½ feet tall. I have left it in its box in the garage since I could not get it to stand straight after the first year I used it. It kept leaning and leaning. So now I must find another 6-foot tree so the creche figure ornaments can be displayed securely.

Finally, an 18" miniature tree holds miniature nativity ornaments. It was presented in the Nov. 13, 2008 post.

The theme of the nativity is wonderful when a family desires to focus on the true and most meaningful reason for the Christmas season.
If you would like a nativity theme tree for Christmas 2009, now is the time to start collecting your ornaments. Some sources are given here.

For more Show and Tell Friday posts, go to Kelli's blog.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Vintage Thingies Thursday – Antique Photogravure

For this week’s Vintage Thingies Thursday entry I will share an antique print. It was published by Gebbie & Husson in 1889. The title printed in the lower margin reads, "Nativity Night, Shepherds, Sheep Goats."

This photogravure was based on the original painting by Henry Rankin Poore (1859-1940). With an 8" x 9" image area it was printed on heavy-weight paper, with the reverse left blank. The paper measures 11.5" x 17".

Though it does have some light foxing on the far outside margin edges, the print remains in very good condition with the image area crisp and clean. I was happy to add it to the collection in 2006.

This very expressive picture shows the shepherds discussing what has been revealed to them by the angels.

"When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. "When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
"and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
Luke 2:15-18

Please visit Colorado Lady for more Vintage Thingies Thursday posts.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Word-Filled Wednesday – Matthew 2:9

Batik wall hanging from India

…and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them
until it stopped over the place where the child was.
Matt. 2:9

The Star of Bethlehem is an important motif in the story of Christ’s nativity. What a wonderful symbol of the Light that had been born into the world – Jesus, the Savior of His people.
For more Word-Filled Wednesday please visit Amydeanne.