Seed Pod Newsletter
Snowman and Crows © 1999 Maria Pahls
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Seed Pod #061
© Copyright 1998 Maria Pahls
Published to the internet
by arrangement with Homespun Peddler.

Fence Post
the fence post
(editor's letter)

dear friends:

what a busy time of years the holidays are! let us remember that getting caught up in the scramble to acquire more material "things" is not what the season is about. take some time to enjoy the company of your family or other loved ones because these are the true gifts and blessings that make the season bright!

primitively yours, maria pahls
drop a line
miscellaneous letters sent in by readers

verlene stole a moment recently to write in:

"Hi - just thought I'd share about my first 3 shows this year, I'm soooo excited!

The Magic of Christmas is a wonderful show I've dreamed of being in for 10 years, but never had the courage to take my stuff in for jurying.

Well, they found me! I was doing the Holiday Food and Gift Festival in Portland with my friend Judy and they came by our booth and asked if we'd like to fill a cancellation they had. Boy would I !

So with only 4 days notice I signed the contract... and I'm sooo glad I did. My new "Village Folk" (primitive clay dolls) were a big hit, I sold everything I had except one doll (which I priced really high cuz I wanted to keep him). Not only that but I have orders for more, plus a life-size santa! She said, "I'm giving you a whole year to work on it!" ha ha! I'm sooo excited... we have reserved 2 booths side by side for next year!

Then we had a home show at my friend Judy's house... which did very well for a first time home show. She's got another one coming up in 2 weeks so I'm still cramming.

The Holiday Food and Gift Festival was ok, but only 2 primitive booths there! The Magic of Christmas is awesome... Christine Crocker from Deerfield Farms was just down the aisle from us, she is such a sweet lady and has such wonderful dolls! Her daughter had painted a wall-size picture (Grandma Moses syle) of a hillside with snow and cattle which Christine used on one wall of her booth. It was a great show and I'm already dreaming about my own booth display for next year! "- Verlene/Jiggety-Jig

and a note from judie nemo!

"I have been busy getting ready for the one show I signed up for this year. It is the first weekend in December and of course I need about an extra month.

I also have had really good luck with the Museum of American Folk Art in New York. Toni encouraged me to go to them with my dolls, something I probably never would have thought of on my own. They just called last week and reordered a doll after selling out in less than 2 weeks.

I am trying some new designs with them. It is hard to believe the prices they get, way more than I could sell the same doll for anywhere around here. It is fun though because I feel like I can design what I want to instead of what seems to be the flavor of the day around here.

Well, I had better get back to work." Judie

Santas by Gloria Bowlin

primitive ponderings
questions asked by readers, then replied upon in later issues.

what are you thankful for (#59)

what i am thankful for... first off i am thankful for my family... and the husband that the good lord led me to after traveling down the wrong path a few times!

and i am thankful that we live in a country where we have the freedom to worship as we like i am also thankful for my friends, and all that they have shared with me and done to enrich my life.

i am thankful that i was able to retire from the workplace early so that i can care for my parents and i am thankful that the good lord is not done with me yet as i need lots of improvements!!!!!

i am also thankful for maria, who has brought alot of sunshine to my life on those gray gloomy days and from whom i have learned a lot and for whom has provided us a wonderful forum for sharing and learning as well as fellowship!

At the risk of sounding sentimental I'm grateful for the following;

my husband above all else, my health, my parents still living independently, our (husband and self) ability to make things with our hands (however humble),

the variety of different people we've had the opportunity to meet and know, our animals, and the ability to enjoy and appreciate a variety of things.

What is the quote from Robert Louis Stevenson "The world is full of a number of things, I sure we could all be as happy as kings" or words to that effect. There are so many things out there to do and try in the craft world as well as the wider world...

I am most thankful for FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

NEW questions from frannie:

Do you find it hard to give up your dolls to sell after you have made them? What has been the most 'memorable' doll you have made this year?

tips & techniques

making pulp from recycled office paper:

put the paper in a pillowcase (tie very tightly or it may break open and create a huge mess in the washing machine). then run it through a wash cycle. using bleach was not mentioned but probably necessary for removing the ink.

after washing and spinning, remove pulp which can be stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator or freezer until needed.

use to make doll bodies and heads then cover with paper clay for a more finished look. ~toni (found this tip in the Loosely Glued Collage news)

orange you clever!

Last week I had an idea for a doll with a ball shape for a head but I was not sure how to make a pattern.

I ended up taking an orange and slicing off the skin in quarters. Then I took one of the quarters and flattened it and traced it. Add a seam allowance to the tracing, and it made a great spherical head. -judie

mirror mirror

If you're interested in seeing your creations - graphic or otherwise - in an objective way, hold the item up in front of and facing a mirror from a distance of 3 to 5 feet.. You'll be better able to critique your item and tell where another detail may be added, or another color repeated, or an area needs to be broken up with an addition of something. It will also tell you, for instance, if a doll needs a hat or a different color of hair! If your artwork is too 'flat' looking, you'll also see that so that so you can choose to use add more dimension. I rely on this method with everything I make and it never fails to give me success! Jean Ahearn


saint nicholas and krampus

st nicholas is historically listed as a bishop in 4th century asia minor who saved three young women who without a dowry, would be sold into slavery. he tossed the bags of dowry into their window and was there by permitted to return from being on what is now his feast day (dec. 6) to bring gifts to the good children.

in the united states, St. Nicholas has been commercially evolved into jolly santa claus, but in europe st nicholas travels with the ferocious -krampus. the pair is quite a sight with saint nicholas (who carries a book in which the guardian angels have written down children's good and bad deeds) leaving fruits, nuts, and sweets for the deserving children; and krampus clad in fur, rattles chains and threatens the naughty children with birch branches.

not to be frightened, the children retaliate by throwing snowballs - but they must be quick at it or risk being put into krampus' pac! now days it resembles a sort of a combo between christmas & halloween and the threatening part is just for fun.

(source-house on the hill catalog)

belsnickel: a german term used to refer to antique figures of st. nicholas. in reality belsnickel was the name given to a disguised adult that would visit homes in mid- december with a sack of treats. belsnickel might chide naughty children in the family and in some cases was actually the mother disguised and using a gruff voice!

fraktur - pennsylvania german illuminated manuscripts

when german immigrants first settled in the pennsylvanian southeastern valleys in the early 18th century, they brought with them the art of fraktur. these illuminated documents recorded various important events in a family's life, such as birth certificate (guburts-schein), marriage (trauschein), or a house blessing (haus segen) etc.

created entirely by hand from homemade colors and inks, and largely done by school masters and clergymen, the beautiful documents and illuminated letters, were mostly preserved in the family bible and seldom displayed. invention of the printing press in the mid 19th c. saw the decline of fraktur, which today is seen as a treasured example of folk art.

(source- marta urban brochure)

pennsylvania german art

a distinctive folk style brought to the united states by southeastern pennsylvania settlers comprised mostly of european immigrants and nutured on the isolated farms where they made their homes.

this work is characterized by motifs that emphasize flowers, birds, and elaborate decoration along with the bold use of color.

in the late 17th c. immigrants from switzerland, the palatinate, and the upper rhine regions of germany began arriving in pennsylvania (mostly they were peasants, small farmers, and artisans). being an industrious people, they cleared the heavily wooded lands & worked the soil to establish a new life in america where agriculture was predominant industry.

over time society became more firmly rooted, and farmer-craftsmen could devote some of their energies to producing and decorating the many articles of daily life. their isolation from outside influences prevented their assimilation into the mainstream of american culture until the 20th century.

pennsylvania german art flourished over 200 years and is now an important element of the american folk art tradition.

marta urban
fraktur artist
for free brochure send a .33 sase plus .33 loose stamp to her at
rd 2 box 527 greensburg,pa 15601
greensburg,pa 15601
she offers many styles of framed (using an 1800's technique) and unframed pieces using authentic techniques, hand stained papers and homemade colors. the verses used are taken from original frakturs and combined with her original copyrighted designs. make a lovely housewarming, birth of a baby or marriage gift.

hooked on rugs
po box 109
novi michigan, 48376
hand dyed wool strips,kits,patterns including lots of motifs with crows and folk art themes also sell a few hooked doll kits including an angel.

christine crocker has some work available thru holly berry hill

The Museum of American Folk Art (212) 247-5611

book wormie   book reviews
books of interest

of course i have another mary emmerling book to mention!
American Country Christmas
by Mary Emmerling, Chris Mead, Joe Chapman
ASIN: 0517573865
(check it out at the library!)

spider web
web sites of members & other sites of interest

more on the history of santa:

Fraktaur sites

snowflakes sites:
actual pics of real snowflakes

chinese paper cutting site

Santas by Gloria Bowlin


no warmth,
no cheerfulness,
no healthful ease....
no comfortable feel in any member---
no shade,
no shine,
no butterflies,
no bees..
no fruits,
no flowers,
no leaves,
no birds---
~ thomas hood.

simple gifts
'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn, will be our delight
'Til thy turning, turning, we come down right.

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

here's a seasonal thought from frannie:

"With what, to me is the most 'beautiful' season of the year (Autumn)
I am reminded of "Simple Wisdom" from the "Shakers"- the American religious sect that flourished in the nineteenth century. The shakers produced beautifully simple hand-crafted objects and inspirational writings. Of course this thought can be used for a much wider view of the world we live in -- but -- "Autumn" brings IT into my mind:


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