Tuesday, January 3, 2017

It's genetic!

I don't know what the donkeys are made of
but they are covered in a soft corduroy and other fabrics and are just beautiful!
I added the ruler so you can see the height of the figures and church.
The Barbies tower over everything!
With a 10-inch entrance, the stable is not quite tall enough for Barbie.
(Although that would be weird if Barbie showed up at Jesus's birth.)

There are a variety of people inside the church,
including the politically incorrect bellhops and the luggage
I've commented before that my love of miniature worlds was inherited from my father, who owned a large electric train set when I was a little girl, and who made the buildings to accompany the set from cardboard.  In fact, my earliest memory of Dad is him cutting out cardboard to make one of the buildings, and Mom getting annoyed with him because he used her brand new scissors to cut the cardboard.
But I had forgotten about the hobby of my grandfather, that is, my father's father, Anthony "Whitey" Wernke, who died before my parents had even met.  It wasn't until this December when I dug out his handmade toys from the boxes in my mother's basement that I even made the connection.
My father was born in 1933, and from what my mother has told me, Whitey had made toy buildings for my dad.  I don't know if these buildings (you would never use the term "dollhouse"!) were made from kits or if Whitey followed patterns but used his own supplies.  He sawed apart shipping crates to make the bases and frames, and then nailed twigs over the frames to make log cabins and other buildings.  There were hundreds of branches and nails used to make all of them.
Most of the buildings are what are now termed as "1/12 scale," that is, the scale of dollhouses.  A few pieces are larger.  The biggest building is a huge stable that is not quite Barbie sized.  Whitey also bought figures to accompany the houses.  Most of the figures (humans and animals that are molded celluloid, metal or heavy cloth) are dollhouse-sized; again, a few are larger and some are really tiny!  Although some of them have the countries of Japan or Germany marked on them, most have no country written and no manufacturer listed at all.  I'm dating the figures to be from the 1930s because one of the females has on a Depression-era fur coat and cloche hat.
This photo is from 1960, my parents' first Christmas together.
I would be born the next February.
As for the stable, that has been my mother's Nativity set for as long as I can remember. Whitey bought beautiful statues to put in the stable, including an angel that attaches by wire to the roof of the barn.
Mom doesn't use the wood stable any more because it takes up a lot of room, although it's still in the basement.  She just sets the statues out now at Christmas.  I am going to show you some photos from the past and present of these incredible creations.  The style is what you would call primitive, but that's not a derogatory word, it's an actual art term.

No comments: