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Icicles that reach from the roof to the window sill are as much a part of winter in the Erzgebirge as are the candle arches that send out their warm glow into the twilight from the room
Seiffen in the Ore Mountains is world famous as a craft Christmas workshop. Smokers, nutcrackers and wooden pyramids are handmade there.
Chips are flying, the lathe is buzzing. Sometimes the saw sets the tone, then the cutter. And a fine layer of wood dust covers the time-honored machines like freshly fallen snow the ways in front of the door.
The brothers Cornelius and Ekkerhard Hilscher took over the Seiffen workshop from their motherIn the Seiffen workshop "Paul Ullrich", led by Cornelius and Ekkerhard Hilscher in the fourth generation, there is a lot of activity. Below are individual parts for angels and smokers prepared: From wood arise round hollow bodies, cones, balls and rods. The turning technique typical of the region around Seiffen promotes such simplified basic forms. They still do not let us guess what will become of it.
The glasses must not be missing in the workshop in Seiffen - after all, Santa Claus must be able to read the wishlist in his handBut the work on the first floor makes this clear: Here is painted and glued. Brush stroke for brush stroke, the figures come alive. The mold, for example, now receives its red coloring, which reveals itself as the coat of Santa Claus, at the latest when the hands and finally the head to come. Not to be missed of course, the reading glasses and the pipe. Because in the lush belly - "our males are fine, they are not thin," says Cornelius Hilscher laughing - there is room for a burning incense candle. Fragrant clouds of smoke escape through the open mouth. And in the shop next to the handicraft workshop at the Seiffen gate visitors can see more than 50 different of these peacefully "nibbling" fellows. Around 1850, as the custom of smoking spread, the figures became known. Today they are among the most important symbols of Erzgebirge craftsmanship.
The handcrafted pyramids from Seiffen are even in the VaticanJust as unthinkable from the Christmas tradition: the pyramid. If you drive further up the hill from the Paul Ullrich factory, you are right in the middle of the toy village of Seiffen, where you can watch "Richard Glässer" at the Schauwerkstatt as small worlds arise on spinning disks. The company was one of the first to produce pyramids in large numbers and shipped them all over the world. For two years even a copy is in the Vatican, a gift from Germany to the Pope. Originally, Christmas pyramids were created on the model of the Christmas tree: its pointed shape was once recreated with poles adorned with green branches and candles.
However, the idea to provide these frames with figures and impellers comes from the Erzgebirge: Mary and the baby Jesus, sheep, angels and miners were placed on a disc or on top of each other. "Just a single Joseph consists of at least ten parts," says Klaus Hübsch, who heads the manufactory. And with five storeys and a height of one and a half meters, around 40 figures can come together, spinning in circles on the discs, when in the Erzgebirge of Advent it means: "Get the pyramid going, the neighbors are already running". Candles are lit, warm air rises and the wings throw moving shadows to the ceiling. Christmas can come!
Olbernhauer Strasse 35
Telephone 03 73 61/46 60
The smoking Santa Claus can be sent to private customers.
Main street 80
Telephone 03 73 62 / 18-0
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Impressions of the arts and crafts in Seiffen (15)
"Meadow Awakening" is called the bringing out of the Christmas figures from the store. The treasure chest with chip trees and colorful toys comes from Cornelius Hilscher's grandfather Paul Ullrich, who was already involved in the arts and crafts.
The company logo of the Seiffener Manufaktur shows a fir over "P" and "U" for "Paul Ullrich".
Since 1880, the manufactory already exists. Today it is housed in a former inn at the gate to Seiffen.
All machines in the Seiffen workshop are operated by hand, some are still from the grandfather.
Hundreds of turned parts are stored ready for use in boxes and boxes.
Rounded shapes and friendly faces characterize the smokers who also exist as mushroom pickers, hunters or bakers.
Every move of the wooden toy maker - that's the job description of the artisans - has to sit. Here is the cap glued on.
With glasses on his nose and a wish list in his hand, the Seiffener Santa Claus is ready for sale in the adjacent store.
The craftsmanship of the Paul Ullrich manufactory is sold in the adjacent shop.
Richard Glässer founded a small trade in Seiffen in 1932. When there was nothing to sell after the war, he produced himself.
Moving figures are created by oblique cutting, for example, the part of a skirt on which the upper body is placed so that it leans forward.
A sure-footed feeling is required when cutting chipboard: A spindle is used to pick up shavings freehand and evenly, which must not fall off the "trunk".
"Joseph is getting dressed," smiles an employee of the Seiffener Manufaktur, who is currently applying the color for the cloak.
In the grommets later candles are used. These should be as low as possible so that an air flow between flame and impeller can develop.
The teddy in the basket is like everything from the turning workshop made of blocks, balls and cones composed.