Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Flair

My mother never thought that she had much artistic talent.  I think that she always loved looking at those who could paint something and make it beautiful.  I would argue that she had a great deal of artistic talent…just not the traditional kind. 

Christmas Decorations 2012 - Living Room
When I was about six years old, Mom really got into ceramics.  Mom never did anything part way – she always dove in and immersed herself with whatever skill she was attempting to learn.  That Christmas, Mom decided that we kids were going to make our grandmother Christmas presents.  So, each one of us chose something and we painted it with a glaze it was fired and Grandma Cappy got several gifts including an ugly shaker shaped like a mushroom that was about 8 inches tall.  I don’t know what my sibling made – but that was the masterpiece that I made.  I still have it, hiding in a shelf in my bedroom.  Mom decided that she too was going to make a present for her mother as well as a few decorations for our tree.

Mom began assembling a fairly large nativity set.  She painted each one with the appropriate colors.  As it was, I’m sure it was painted beautifully – but here is where Mom’s artistic talent came in.  Instead of making it look like a normal painted nativity scene, she washed everything in gold.  The colors were still there, but she made it look special with gold tint.  Dad made a stable for the nativity set and when it was presented to Grandma at Christmas that year, she was absolutely thrilled.  She didn't do much decorating, but every Christmas that followed during her lifetime, she lovingly unpacked her beautiful nativity set and placed each piece in the appropriate spot.  When Grandma died in 1985, Mom took the nativity set back and I remember us putting it up near the fireplace.  Over the stable, Mom would place green boughs and some of Grandma Cappy’s artificial poinsettias.  I think Mom thought of it as a wonderful way to honor her own mother at Christmas.  The stable has long since fallen apart and now I am the one who puts it out each year in honor of both my mother and grandmother.  I place it on the electronic baby grand piano that Mom so loved and place a large poinsettia in the background.  As you walk in the room, it still draws the eye.  I've had my nieces help me set it up in some years and I show them the marks under the pieces that say when the nativity pieces were painted and by whom and then I tell them the story. 
Mom's Nativity Scene
There are also Christmas ornaments that Mom made that same year.  There are probably close to ten of these ornaments.  I’m probably most fond of the Santa ornaments myself…but there are a few angels and holly hobby pieces as well.
Some favorite ornaments
  No matter how small the Christmas tree that I have, those ornaments will always be on the Christmas tree.  I don’t know if it was the same year, but Mom also made a wonderful Santa who is holding his sack open to provide a place to put Christmas cards.  As I look around the house decorated for Christmas – there are so many memories and beautiful pieces that my Mom lovingly created with her own unique artistic flair.