Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Artist Christa Smith to Demonstrate Traditional Bavarian Painted Wooden Boxes at Kentucky Artisan Center
On Saturday, June 30, Elizabethtown artist Christa Smith will demonstrate traditional Bavarian painted wooden boxes from 10:30 – 3:30 at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
Christa Smith was born in Germany and moved to America over 35 years ago. Once in this country, she became fascinated with the cultural contributions German immigrants had made to this country. She began creating traditional crafted items that she had known in Germany such as Chalkware Santas, Beeswax ornaments and painting on wooden boxes in the Bavarian Folk Art tradition or style.
The Bavarian Folk Art of “Bauernmalerei” dates back to the early 16th Century. The correct translation is ‘peasant or farmers’ painting, but during this period, hardly any peasant or farmer would have had the time or the energy to paint furniture, especially after working in the fields all day. Most of the time, cabinetmakers and/or traveling painters went from town to town offering their painting skills to “touch up” furniture pieces.
From the very beginning, there were as many different styles of "Spanschachteln" meaning boxes made from wood shavings. as there were painters of other art forms. Many styles of boxes are painted with simple lovely flowers like tulips, roses, and small blossoms. This painting was at times crude, but could be highly skilled as well, with bright colors such as blue, red, white and yellow used in common. After 1850, painted wood and furniture began to lose its appeal and many traditional painted pieces were relegated to attics and cellars, or even destroyed.
Christa Smith is one artist who is working make painted wooden box “Bauernmalerei” treasured and collectible again. In the last 125 years there has been a revival of this long neglected traditional art form. Christa creates round and oval painted wooden boxes, bowls and trays -beautifully painted with colorful floral imagery in brilliant colors.
Works by Christa Smith are regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, located just off Interstate 75 at exit 77 (Berea). The Center’s exhibits, shopping, and travel information areas are all open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the café from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. The Center currently features works by more than 650 artisans from all across the Commonwealth. For more information call 859-985-5448 or visit the Center’s web site at www.kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Commerce Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.