Mandy Treptow Glass Explores Handmade at German Christmas Markets
This weekend I went to my home town of Leipzig in Germany and around Christmas there is one thing not to be missed – a visit to the Christmas Market. People in Britain think of German Christmas Markets mainly for mulled wine and sausages but the Germans go to the market equally for another reason – handmade crafts. Traditionally made and beautifully crafted goods are on sale as much as food.
Christmas markets are one of the biggest outlets of traditional and handmade crafts in Germany. It is the time when people are more conscious of buying quality and are prepared to spend a little more money to buy something extra special and, more importantly, handmade. Traditional wood crafts such as Christmas tree decorations and Schwibbögen (a traditional candelabra displayed at Christmas) and pyramids (a rotating Christmas ornament fueled by candles) are the best sellers and sometimes sell for hundreds of pounds. There are traditional glass Christmas ornaments too as well as handmade candles and paper advent stars lit up with light bulbs. Now of course not everything is handmade or locally sourced anymore, but a lot of them are.
Germany has a deeply rooted history of handmade crafts. And in their language they make an interesting distinction between craft: ‘Handwerk’ (craft) means carpenters, plumbers or electricians but ‘Kunsthandwerk’ (art craft) means potters, glassmakers or woodturners. All of these vocations are learned in a two or three year apprenticeship. With a further qualification they can become ‘masters’. Only then are they able to train others in their craft and the Germans are very proud of this. This year the Christmas tree outside Windsor Castle comes from Coburg and is adorned with 2,000 hand blown golden glass baubles. They were blown by glassblowing apprentices at Lauscha Glass School – Lauscha used to be a beacon of handmade glass ornaments and Christmas tree baubles in East Germany and still is.
This weekend you will also have the chance to buy handcrafted gifts and decorations from dedicated and skilled craftspeople – right here in England. North London’s Crouch End is host to an incredibly talented bunch of designer makers at the London Local’s Etsy Made Local Christmas Market.
The market will have a range of homeware, stationery and prints, jewellery, kidswear, accessories, skin care. It may be a little different from the traditional German Christmas markets, but it will still have plenty of Christmas cheer. Rachel Emma Studio from the London Local Team, who will be at the market this weekend, is an example of an English designer-maker using real wood, with a rustic feel, like many German crafters do; but giving the craft a contemporary twist.
And of course, London is a melting pot of different cultures coming together, which is one of the reasons the city is so special. The Etsy Chrismas market will definitely reflect that with these Mexican Christmas decorations by Deja Oh and Scandinavian inspired dala horse ornament by Oohlala Design.
It will be on 3rd + 4th December at Hornsey Town Hall, from 11am – 5pm, each day. For more information click here.
So come and see us and buy handmade this Christmas! For the loved ones in your life or to treat yourself of course. Be sure to find that one very special gift that is absolutely perfect – and handmade!
Mandy of Mandy Treptow Glass is a Fused Glass artist and will be selling handmade Jewellery and Christmas decorations at the Etsy Local Christmas Market in Crouch End on Sunday 4 December. If you are one of the first 30 visitors on each day, you have the chance to grab an Etsy Local Christmas Market goody bag. Amongst other fabulous things it also includes a small gift and voucher by Mandy Treptow Glass. Merry Christmas!