Artwork: Nativity Set Wood Carvings
Of all her carvings, Coffman enjoys creating
her nativity sets the most. If a client is willing to allow
her enough time, it is generally no problem to create a
nativity using the client's broad suggestions. It should be
known ahead of time, though, that the suggested nativity
must be something that will make the carver proud of the
finished nativity scene.
Coffman will be making several nativity sets over the summer
in preparation for the holiday season. If you have in mind a
special nativity with a certain theme, it is very important
to discuss this very early in the fall, to make sure your
nativity will be done before Christmas.
Rather than turn out a wood nativity scene that resembles
the usual stiffly posed figures in mass produced nativity
sets, Coffman likes to create nativity scenes that reflect
separate moments in time, captured in wood. She tries to
give the setting a natural feeling of a candid snapshot,
rather than the structured appearance of a formal portrait.
Because Jesus was born in a city, Coffman believes that
there is no limit to the variety of characters that could
have been nearby that night, which could be added to the
nativity or used to create an original nativity that shows
their individual reactions to the event. Her interpretation
of what a nativity can be, could be seen as more flexible
than standard nativity scenes.
Different Figures In The
Nativity Scene Wood Carving Collection
A single sheep quietly looking at the
sleeping Baby Jesus is simple nativity.
Three village children pausing in awe by
the manger create a nativity.
An older couple exchanging a knowing look
while passing the nativity scene could be added to a
traditional grouping or made into a special nativity of
Build A Collection of
Nativity Set Wood Carvings To Pass On As Family Heirlooms
Many people start with a simple nativity
scene, and build it with new nativity pieces through the
years. Records are kept with photos of each nativity so
duplication of poses within the nativity is avoided. Care is
also taken so there is a flow between the separate groupings
within the larger assemblage. Varying the heights and ages
and standing or sitting positions of the individual pieces
helps to make an interesting scene. Adding palm trees gives
a sense of being out of doors. It also serves the same
purpose as a frame would for a painting, by containing the
scene, and calls attention to the figures by setting off
their naturally lighter hue of linden wood, against the
black walnut that the palm trees are cut from. The palm
tress are not carved, but cut in silhouette on a band saw.
Each Carving Of The Nativity
Scene Stands Alone As An Interesting Figure
Each single piece of the nativity set is
carved in detail, so if removed from the nativity it would
still be an interesting figure on its own merit. People have
often told the artist that they leave particular favorites
out on display all year.
It's not unusual for Coffman's artwork to be interpreted in
ways other than originally intended. Sometimes people will
notice a certain figure and it will suggest a completely
different story to them. Once someone thought the figure of
Joseph holding Baby Jesus up for the crowd to see was more
representative of Simeon. Shepherd figures holding a staff
have been bought because they reminded a client of Moses.
The child clutching the shawled woman's skirt reminded many
of a representation of a mothers love and protectiveness.
Whatever a person sees in the figures, as long as it is a
happy, positive feeling, then Christine Coffman is more than
amenable to see it find a home with them.