Tabernash artist’s Santas share joy of the season
Grand County, Colorado
For hundreds of years the sight of Santa Claus has brought joy, hope and laughter to children of all ages. Made famous through cartoons, song, radio, television and films, his plump figure is well known throughout Western cultures. He is known by many names, such as Kris Kringle, and is usually decked out in a red coat and pants with white cuffs and collar, black leather belt with shiny golden buckle, black-as-coal boots, red and white hat, and carrying a huge sack of toys.
The vision gives Sandra Geiser of Tabernash special pleasure year round. She has been collecting figures of the legendary jolly man, somewhat of a monarch in the North Pole, for many years.
A “hobbyist” at heart, Geiser has been participating in statewide craft fairs since the 1980s seeking out creative gifts and collectibles. Growing up in rural Minnesota, she and her sister were inspired by the arts through their creative mother. In their quiet town they had time to share and learn, she said, especially during the winter months.
Their grandmother gave Geiser the art of working with fibers, teaching her the ins-and-outs of tatting and bobbin lace.
She attended Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and her interest grew in Texas with friends and business partners, and through classes in various mediums from individual artists there. Later she attended art classes in Denver and her creative eye has grown stronger through her move to the Fraser Valley.
It is an area that abounds in those things that inspire her most ” nature “and all the peaceful beauty around you which stimulates your mind to be creative,” she said.
While her collections began to grow, Geiser also owned a hand-made jewelry business in Houston, which catered to several stores. Now that she is retired she said she has found more time to enjoy her love of the arts, especially the gathering of the eclectic figures of Father Christmas.
She has always enjoyed giving handmade gifts, she said, and seeing their bright and cheerful Santa faces relaxes her. She appreciates the workmanship and time an artist spends in creating the pieces. Many of her Santas are made of unique things, like seashells and painted items like gourds, okra, leaves and corncobs. One even has a beard made of buttons.
Other arts she finds fascinating are felted purses and bags, and decorated gloves and wine bottles she puts together herself. The purses are made of hand-knit wool that is boiled and shrunken, pulling the stitches together. The gloves are made with novelty yarns adorning the cuffs. With the wine bottles she inserts miniature lights and decorates the outside and turns them into lamps.
Geiser also dabbles in pottery (including several wheel-thrown pieces she treasures), painting, jewelry design, sewing (dolls), knitting and scrapbooking. She also is proud owner of her mom’s distinct corncob collection, which was on display at the Fraser Valley Library. Her prized Santa collection is on display through the first week of January at the Granby Library.
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