Discover old Erzgebirge folk art

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A journey on which you discover Erzgebirge folk art

Erzgebirge folk art Seiffen is famous. Erzgebirge folk art manufacturers of candle arches, pyramids, smokers, nutcrackers and other wooden figures have im Saxony Tradition. In other words, the region in Saxony is known for the Erzgebirge wood art and its handicrafts. These belong at Christmas along the border with the Czech Republic. In the meantime, however, this folk art can also be found on Easter, birthdays and anniversaries. We visit wood carvers in Saxony and learn more about their work and tradition.

 

 

 

As early as the 16th century, miners used their free time or periods of unemployment to work the wood in the region. The wood carvers in the Ore Mountains earned an additional income with wood carving. Apart from that, there were miners who switched entirely to the production of miner's figures, candle arches, Christmas mountains, humpback mines or nutcrackers. Other branches of trade were added later. These include, for example, the lace or the Glass Factory * (Advertisement). By the way, there are craftsmen in the Erzgebirge who have been practicing their profession for eight generations. The work is often passed from father to son. Erzgebirge folk art has a long tradition.

 

You can buy Erzgebirge folk art Seiffen here

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We have therefore started looking for wood carvers, lace makers, wood sculptors and artisans in the Ore Mountains. The result is a round trip that provides an insight into life in the Ore Mountains. A journey that is not only exciting in the Advent season.

Find your accommodation in the Ore Mountains using this map

 

 

Discover Erzgebirge folk art from Seiffen

Christmas angel

We start our journey to the Erzgebirge folk art manufacturers in Grünhainichen. The Wendt & Kühn manufactory is located there. Grete Wendt founded this company in 1915. Together with "Olly" Sommer (later Wendt) she creates the angel figures that are the reason for the success of the wood manufacturer. Since then, the angel's smile has conquered the Christmas world. Inspired by fairy tales, Grete Wendt then designs fairy tale characters. Cinderella, the Pied Piper of Hameln and other fairy tale heroes are part of the manufactory's repertoire. In the meantime, the figures also represent modern themes. What I like best is the idea of ​​the angel who goes on a journey. However, the most popular are the angel figures. In Grünhainichen you can visit the manufactory's shop all year round.

Wendt & Kühn world
in Grünhainichen

Chemnitz street 40
09579 Grünhainichen

Tel. 0049 37294/86 128

The Wendt & Kühn world in Grünhainichen is open Monday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. to 17.00 p.m.

Wendt & Kühn figure world in Seiffen

Hauptstraße 97
09548 Seiffen

Tel. 0049 37362/87 80

The world of figures in Seiffen is open Monday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. to 17.00 p.m.

 

Accommodation Tip: We stay two days during our trip Landhotel Kreuztanne *, This is located a few kilometers outside of Sayda on a hill in the forest. Are you looking for a hotel away from Adventstrubel in Seiffen, then you are right here. Instead of being disturbed by car traffic and turmoil on Advent markets, we enjoy the views of rolling hills and icy trees in the morning.

 

Angel with tulips ore mountains folk art manufacturer ore mountains folk art seiffen
Angel with tulips

 

wheelwrights

Seiffen is not known as a toy town for nothing. Many Erzgebirge folk art manufacturers settled here. You can find Erzgebirge folk art here on every corner. Aside from the world of figures from Wendt & Kühn, there are other things to discover in Seiffen. That's why we spend a whole day with the craftsmen in Seiffen and the surrounding area.

In the Seiffen open-air museum, we first visit the tire turner. First of all, we cannot imagine what his job title would be. We only know that he is one of the Erzgebirge folk art manufacturers. In his workshop, however, it quickly becomes clear what he is doing. It is located in a house from the 18th century. This stands next to a water pond on the museum grounds. So hydropower operates the machines in his turnery. With one grip on the belts, he controls their speed, stops them or makes the wheels run again.

Wooden tires are stretched out on metal brackets, which he grinds, notches or polishes. What initially looks like a procedure without a plan turns out to be a brilliant craft. After a while he takes the wooden tires off the machine and then puts them in front of him on the work table. It is still not clear what that should be. Then, however, he takes a knife and starts to split the wooden tires. "This is spruce wood," he explains. “This is the only wood that you can simply cut with a knife. Every other wood has to be sawn. "

Then he cuts a whole herd of elephants out of the wooden hoop with skilled hands. One after the other. "Each of them is unique," he says. "I cut by eye. It happens that they are of different thicknesses.

Open-air museum with tire turning plant

Hauptstraße 203
09548 Seiffen

"Motive

The mountain church Seiffen

Erzgebirge folk art, these are the Christmas Schwibbögen. Hardly a motif appears more often in the Schwibbögen in the Erzgebirge than the mountain church in Seiffen. Schwibbögen are now more popular as a Christmas decoration than Christmas trees. At least that's the impression we get on our nightly rides through the cities of the region. Many of the mining towns have sprung up on the steep slopes of the Ore Mountains. Therefore, the houses are often on top of each other and give a view of festively decorated windows. We see houses in which each window has its own Schwibbogen (or two). This creates a magical Christmas atmosphere in the localities. Whole cities show the mountain church Seiffen in their Christmas windows. We also discover them in the restaurant of our hotel in Sayda Forest.

Mountain church Seiffen

Deutschneudorfer Str. 4
09548 resort Seiffen

 

Nutcracker Manufactory - Ore Mountains folk art by hand

Because of the large crowd in front of the church, we continue to our next destination. A few kilometers outside of Seiffen is the workshop of Markus Füchtner, one of the Erzgebirge folk art manufacturers. He is already the eighth generation to make wooden figures. His ancestors were carpenters. As such, they worked on construction in the summer. By contrast, in winter they were unemployed. Instead of complaining, they made necessity a virtue. Carving knives and turning tools ultimately provided for the family's maintenance. It is therefore not surprising that Wilhelm Füchtner - the great-great-great-grandfather of Markus Füchtner - is considered to be the creator of the Seiffen nutcrackers.

Markus Füchtner also goes with the times. Instead of just making nutcrackers, he also takes on commissioned work. For example, there is a small army of decorative figures in his workshop waiting to be packed. “An order from Disneyland Paris that we have been receiving for several years now,” explains our host. “They serve as table decorations for the end of the year celebration. After the evening, the guests can take these figures with them as souvenirs. ”

 

"Nutcracker

 

You can discover the nutcrackers and other wooden figures by Markus Füchtner in his shop in Seiffen:

Retail store High-contrast

Hauptstraße 4
09548 resort Seiffen

 

 

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Nutcracker Museum in Neuhausen - old Erzgebirge folk art

We'll see even more nutcrackers in the Nutcracker Museum in Neuhausen afterwards. This museum emerged from Jürgen Löschner's passion for collecting. He was enthusiastic about handicrafts from the Erzgebirge and the works of the Erzgebirge folk art manufacturers. So in 1966 he started collecting nutcrackers. First the grim guys who poked fun at the local authorities and their mercenaries. The oldest Seiffen nutcracker from 1870 is among them, as are the earliest nutcrackers from Swiss. Then the more modern, representing the common people. Finally, the exotic ones who embody cowboys, comic heroes or Mexican caballeros. There are now more than 5500 nutcrackers to admire in Neuhausen.

Of course, you will also find the Nutcracker Museum, the world's largest nutcracker (10,10 Meter). With hazelnuts or walnuts, this is overwhelmed. He prefers cracking coconuts. Even the smallest nutcracker in the world can be found in the museum. At 4,9 millimeter height, however, one must look for nuts that can crack this.

Nutcracker Museum

Str. 20-24
09544 Neuhausen

 

 

The longest table in the world - Erzgebirge folk art

 

The sowing-sledge of Blockhausen - Erzgebirge folk art of the grandmaster

On the other hand, the huge wooden sculptures by Sauensäger Andreas Martin and his chainsaw friends from all over the world are very different from the fine woodwork of the manufactories. He too is one of the Erzgebirge folk art manufacturers, only in other dimensions. After the fall of the Wall, astonishing things arose in Blockhausen. In the middle of the forest, Martin built a log house village in which he pursues his passion - carving with chainsaws. This enthusiasm has now brought him around the world, where he takes part in chainsaw championships all over the world.

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Bison - Erzgebirge folk art

 

That gave him the idea: Blockhausen is now closed every year Pentecost Venue of the World Chainsaw Carving Championships. The best of the best from all over the world then gather at the longest table in the world. What is created during the Husky Cup stays in Blockhausen. Impressive wooden sculptures line the path from the parking lot to the log cabin village. You can also try your hand at chain saw carving. Martin regularly offers courses for this.

Walderlebnisdorf Blockhausen

Mordsteinweg 1
09619 village Chemnitz

After our visit we leave the region of Seiffen and continue to Annaberg-Buchholz. In the museum we get further insight into the craftsmanship of the Erzgebirge.

 

 

A Museum of Ore Mountain Folk Art - The Manufactory of Dreams

Not far from the town square is the Manufactory of Dreams. In it, the city of Annaberg-Buchholz exhibits a collection of Erzgebirge folk art. The collection is on loan from Dr. Erika Pohl-Ströher. Over the decades she has collected everything from angels and miners to nutcrackers and mass figures to toys. This created a unique presentation of Erzgebirge folk art.

Not only will I become a child there again. I keep hearing from visitors: "It reminds me of my doll's kitchen" or "Do you remember ...". A visit to the factory of dreams is not only nice at Christmas time. And it's guaranteed not just to please children.

Manufactory of dreams

Buchholzer St. 2
09456 Annaberg-Buchholz

 

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The miners' manger - today's Erzgebirge folk art

In Advent, the miners' manger in the mountain church of St. Mary shows scenes from the Christmas story. Here, life-size figures represent people from the village with their occupations. This makes the presentation of the birth of Jesus very lively. Erzgebirge sculptors have been implementing this project since 2000.

 

Miners in St Marien - Erzgebirge folk art
Miners in St Marien

 

Mountain Church of St. Mary

Münzgasse 5
09456 Annaberg-Buchholz

 

Accommodation Tip: The next two days of our trip we spend in Landhotel Rittersgrün *, This is halfway between Annaberg-Buchholz and Oberwiesenthal and offers good service, excellent cuisine and pleasant accommodation.

 

 

With the Fichtelbergbahn from Oberwiesenthal to Neudorf

According to our maxim to travel slowly, we take the Fichtelbergbahn from Oberwiesenthal to Neudorf. This is a narrow-gauge railway, which is still operated by a steam locomotive. Their cloud of steam we see from afar. In addition, her hoarse whistling reminds us to be punctual. For a good hour she pulls us puffing, steaming and zuckelnd over the mountains to Neudorf. This track has already returned the track since 1897. However, we do not drive to the terminus in Cranzahl. Instead, we get off in Neudorf. There you are already waiting for us.

Station Oberwiesenthal

Bahnhofstrasse 7
09484 Oberwiesenthal

 

For the

Weihrichkarzle for smokers - Erzgebirge folk art

Right next to the Neudorfer train station is a sign "Zum Weihrichkarzl" (Zum Weihrauchkerzl). There you can buy "Weihrichkarzle" or frankincense incense for incense smokers. If you want, you can watch how these are made in the show workshop. Or you can do it like the students in a German-English school class and try it yourself. One thing should be clear to you before you get involved: you don't keep your hands clean. The reason for this is the main ingredient for incense cones: charcoal. Therefore, the palms of the students will soon be carbon black. Nevertheless, they are very enthusiastic. Therefore, the first perfectly shaped "Weihrichkarzle" for smokers will soon be on their work surfaces. Depending on the fragrance added, they smell particularly good when lit.

To the Weihrichkarzl

Karlsbader Str. 187 / 189
09465 Sehmatal

The Soup Museum

After a quick lunch in the "Leffelstub" that I covered in our post Saxon specialties we have a stopover in the second attraction of Neudorf. Opposite the Weihrichkarzl is the Soup Museum. There you have collected everything that has to do with the cooking of soups. Kitchens spanning three decades, including one from the GDR era, show how life in the village has changed. Soups in Neudorf are so popular that the place now even calls itself Suppendorf.

 

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Every year in October the place celebrates the fair in the soup country. Then soups are cooked for what it takes. There is a soup competition, the participants of which bring home cooked soups. A jury made up of locals, guests and professionals will then evaluate them. The winner's recipe ends up in the museum's collection of soup recipes. In 2018, the beetroot soup won.

In addition, the visitors of the soup fair have a lot of fun with the soup pot pulling. This works like the Fingerhakeln in Bavaria. Only that the Saxon soup pot pulling not the ankles are used. Here competitors are fighting for a soup pot, which they have to pull on their side. A lot of laughter is guaranteed.

Neudorfer Soup Museum

Karlsbader Str. 164
09465 Sehmatal

 

 

Erzgebirge folk art - bobbin lace

At the end of our round trip to the craftsmen of the Erzgebirge we visit Heike Lautner in Oberwiesenthal. She is Klöpplerin and operates the Wiesenthaler Klöppelstub, a craft shop specializing in lace making. Here she sells her own creations and offers bobbin lace lessons.

It shows us how lace works. "You pull the strings together," she describes her work. I can imagine that there is a lot more to it than that. However, I cannot see this because her hands work with the clappers so quickly that I find it difficult to follow their movements. Skillfully and quickly she turns the fine yarn between her fingers. This creates magical lace work under her hands. Her specialty is lace making, which she incorporates into wooden frames and wooden figures.

 

 

"I get the wooden frames delivered," she explains. “They are particularly popular with visitors in Oberwiesenthal. They like to buy them as souvenirs. “Heike Lautner learned the craft as a child. “That's why I'm so quick to make lace. I taught my mother. It doesn't make it so quickly. "

Wiesenthal bobbin stub

Markt 10
09484 Oberwiesenthal

 

Conclusion: an experience of a special kind - Erzgebirge folk art

This ends our Erzgebirge folk art journey to the craftsmen in the Erzgebirge. We have discovered many surprising things, but also experienced a lot of tradition. Erzgebirge folk art is definitely something special. But even more are the people who continue this art. Passion is just as important as skill. But also spirit of innovation and motivation, and we have discovered plenty of it in the traditional Erzgebirge. We were most impressed by the people who lead this heritage of Erzgebirge life into the future. We thank you for the hospitable reception and the exciting insights into a world that we did not know until then.

 

 


Travel Arrangements:

Parking at the airport

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Arrival by plane, car, bus and train

Compare and book flights here*. The nearest airport is in Prague or Dresden. It is also possible to travel by train. From there you can continue by train, bus or by train

Car Rentals:

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Hotels in the Ore Mountains:

Accommodation in the Ore Mountains * For example, you can book through our partner booking.com. You can also find accommodation in the towns in the article.

Travel Guides

Travel Guide for the Erzgebirge * is available, for example, at Amazon.de.

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By the way: suggestions for Vacation in Germany by car here.

 

 

Christmas tips for other regions

 

Vacation in the Ore Mountains
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Do you like folk art? Then take a look here:

 

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Source folk art: on-site research for folk art Seiffen. We would definitely like to thank the Erzgebirge Tourism Association for inviting us to this press trip. However, our opinions remain our own.

Text Volkskunst Seiffen: Copyright Monika Fuchs and TWO
Photos Folk Art Seiffen: Copyright Monika Fuchs and TWO

Discover old Erzgebirge folk art

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Slow Travel and Enjoyment travel blog TravelWorldOnline Traveller. You have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Your topics are Trips to Savor and wine tourism worldwide and Slow Travel. During her studies, Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she traveled to the USA and Canada - sometimes together with Petar Fuchs - and spent a research year in British Columbia. This strengthened her thirst for knowledge, which she pursued for 6 years Adventure Guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as Study tour guide for Studiosus Reisen tried to breastfeed all over the world. She constantly expanded her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: “What is beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do you eat in this region?” These are the questions she is now trying to answer as a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), among others. travel writer and travel blogger answers in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is below Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021 Other Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs. Recommendations on LinkedIn from tourism experts Further recommendations from cooperation partners and tourism experts Professional experience Monika on LinkedIn