A long tradition developed out of Silver and Iron Ore mines
The majority of our wood products are hand made in Seiffen, Germany—a quaint little town located in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) region, near Dresden. In Seiffen, the tradition of woodwork has its roots in the need to survive the industry cycles of mining ore and silver while using local resources like the forests for wood and creeks to power the wood mills.
When silver ore was discovered in the region south west of Dresden in the 12th century, the foundation was laid for what was going to become one of the unique traditions from Germany. Over centuries, silver and iron ore mines drove the economic growth of the Erzgebirge. Around 1850, silver lost value rapidly due to the increasing importance of gold in the monetary world; the closure of mines resulted in losses of jobs.
Clever and entrepreneurial in mind and spirit, the local families used their woodworking skills and traditions to manufacture handcrafted objects—pieces of art—that reflect the heart and soul of the people and area. Entire families participated in the manufacturing of wooden toys. From these roots, a variety of Christmas pyramids, nutcrackers, candle arches and incense smokers was developed. Each handmade, these wooden gems offer a glimpse of how previous generations interpreted their world as well as magically transporting us back to a simpler, less complicated time.
While travelling to the area, we met with some traditional manufacturers to see first-hand how these wooden gems are created. The visits to the origin of the wood carving traditions were an amazing experience for our entire family. We saw smokers, nutcrackers, pyramids and candle arches in every corner of the village! People are working with tools that have been invented and improved over centuries and the skills of all the workers – from carving the wood to assembling all the necessary pieces to painting and decoration; the attention to detail and quality of craftsmanship is overwhelming. Every part of the design—from selecting the right kind of wood at its right age, to the parts and pieces that are often made from century-old designs, to many of the specific tools that have been developed and enhanced over the long tradition of wood carving—everything fits together perfectly. The final result is a unique, beautiful product.
Our passion for these products led us to another fine element of German craftsmanship: Glass-blown ornaments. Inge-Glas®Manufaktur has been creating their custom hand-blown Christmas ornaments since the 1850s. From start to finish, only the finest materials are used. Each one is unique and a true piece of valuable German heritage and craftsmanship. You can learn more about our glass-blown ornaments here.
In our home, many of these decorations are on display all year. They mean so much to our family – and bring back precious memories of our special visit to Germany. For sure, they are always there to remind us of what life is all about: genuine and real things—like family and friends.
We hope you enjoy our Traditions from Germany products as much as we do.