"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Oh Come, All Ye Faithful

OK.  I'll admit it.  I have a soft spot for nativities.

New or old, I'm drawn to them, especially the 1960s Fontanini sets, which is what I grew up with during Christmas.

For years, I've been picking up pieces.  I can't resist them.  I've got such a mish-mash of hard rubber, chalkware, paper mache and celluloid pieces. 

Most are made from Italy and Germany.

I like the camels the best!

Some pieces are as small as an inch.  Then I found this towering shepherd boy about 8 inches high.

Recently, I discovered a club on the internet whose members create their own nativities, including whole towns, and incorporates old figurines. One man inspired me to repaint the characters. The artist in me was dying to try it, but I asked him, "Doesn't it bother you to change a vintage piece?" "If I make it look better," he said, "I have no problem with it."

So, I decided to give it a try and started with this little musician.  I painted the one on the right and for all you miniaturists out there, you've got to try this!  It was fun and challenging.  Actually, I'm not finished painting him.  I want to add more details, give his face a lively hue, and of course, antique him. 

Looks like I'm set with projects for the rest of my life! 

So much to restore, so little time!

 I plan on keeping one set in its original condition.

 What's a nativity without angels to herald in the Good News?

And shepherds watching their flocks by night?  Remember, it wasn't the kings or priests the angels came to tell about Jesus's birth, but the lowly shepherds.

Not that the kings weren't important with their gold, frankincense and myrhh!
 Who would have a zombie in their set?!

The hardest pieces for me to restore are the old paper mache statues made from Germany.  I hate to change the integrity of a piece this old.  But, the paper mache had disintegrated, leaving cracks and wire exposed. 

Better to restore and repaint than leaving them vulnerable to breaking even further.

So, that's my collection......

Storing these is not a problem at all, but oh, the stables!!   But that's another story!


  1. I have a neighbor / friend that too loves and collects nativities, so I understand your love for them. You know what I will keep my eyes peeled for any to add to your collection~ Happy Summer, Diane