Sunday, October 5, 2014

31 DAYS of SANTA CLAUS Day 5 Ded Moroz

I had to work at the lake house today so I wasn't able to craft any Santas. Instead, I unpacked some glasses and dishes to put in our new kitchen cabinets.

So, today I want to tell you about my Russian Santas. Actually, the Russian "Santa" is named Ded Moroz which translated to "Old Man Frost" or "Father Frost". He is similar to Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas in that he brings gifts, but where Santa likes to sneak in the house, Ded Moroz prefers making a grand appearance in his lavishly decorated coat and thick round hat to hand out his gifts in person.

But did you know that where St. Nicholas got his claim to fame for his generosity, Ded Moroz (who is no Saint) is the descendant of and evil character named Morozka who froze parents and stole their children? Then the parents had to give HIM gifts. That sounds like a pretty good arrangement to me. The parents get a few days away from the kids, they get to shopping together, then go pick up their kids. I don't see a problem with that.

Anyway, now that Ded Moroz has cleaned up his act, he brings his own granddaughter, Snegurochka also known as The Snow Maiden along, perhaps to improve his once dark image. She is always dressed in white and wears a decorative crown. Even though Disney's "Frozen" featured a similar version of The Snow Maiden, poor Snequrochka has a cold heart that only true love can melt, but her version of the story does not always have a happy ending.

Now, why did I decide to collect Ded Moroz when he really isn't Santa?

Well, I first saw him in a magazine, and I just loved his face and his beautiful coat. Each Ded Moroz is hand carved and painted by skilled craftsman in Russia instead of being mass produced in China.  Now, to be fair, some of the smaller ones are reproduced, much like the nesting dolls, but many are one of kind and come with quite an impressive price tag.

These works of art inspired my Santa Claus gourds in that I wanted to find a way to add more dimension to my gourds and that I wanted to incorporate more detail and designs into their coat.

Here are some of my Santas from last year's Holiday Arts Tour juried show in Ruston, LA. My Santa gourds have a variety of expressions, but most are happy. My techniques with combining paint and colored pencil, papier mache' fur, and heavily textured and carved beards add dimension to my copyrighted gourds.

This is my first Ded Moroz. He is only about 5" and I found him on eBay for next to nothing. I've had him for many years, and for many years he's been alone, until if found him a girlfriend. It wasn't Snegurochka, but someone more colorful. Right now she's hanging out with some angels on my staircase wall.

My collection is small, and I mean that in number and size, but I was fortunate to find a larger one (10") at an estate sale for $4.

Say it with me now, "If the Lord meant for me to have it, I would find it at an estate sale." He is missing his magic staff, but I'll whittle him one out once I get some of my other projects under control.

So, This inspired me to look for more good deals and even though I could not beat $4, I found some more smaller ones that usually run around $30 each and I was able win them all on eBay for what one would have cost.

I was able to find some that represented different styles and the work of different artist. You sure don't see many Ded Moroz playing the accordion.

So, there they are, and for now, I will probably just keep this collection small. Unless...I find some at a garage sale!