Moravian Stars

This pattern is generally credited to a 19th century German educator named Frederick Froebel; the man who also came up with the concept of kindergarten! While the ornament pre-dates Froebel, he wrote it up and disseminated it and it usually bears his name. I learned it as "Moravian Star," but it has also appeared as Advent star, Danish star, German star, Nordic star, Pennsylvanian star, Polish star, Swedish star, and Christmas star. Early versions were often dipped in wax to help preserve the paper which, at the time, was expensive. I skip this step as I personally don't like the effect it has on the appearance. I never sell things that I wouldn't use in my own home.

Quilled Ornaments

Quilling is an art form that involves rolling, shaping, and gluing strips of paper together to form decorative designs. No one definitively knows its origins, though there are those who claim it may be as old as Ancient Egypt. What is known is that during the Renaissance, nuns and monks used quilling to decorate book covers and religious items, often using the trimmings from the gilded edge of books. Waste not, want not! In the 18th century, it became quite popular in Europe, particularly among ladies from the upper class. My favorite reference is in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility when Elinor helps Lucy "roll her papers." The name quilling comes from the use of a quill (feather) as a tool to roll the paper, but other names for the art are paper-rolling, paper-scrolling, and paper filigree.

Basketry

You could write volumes on the history of basketry and, in fact, many people have done just that. It is one of the oldest and widest spread crafts in the world, with the earliest known examples dating back to at least 10,000 years ago in Faiyum in upper Egypt. Ancient baskets are a rare find as they were made from perishable materials.

Today, basket makers still use these same materials as well as innovative new ones. I myself make baskets and ornaments from reed, black ash, wool roving, yarn blends, embroidery floss, wire, and beads.

 

“Even the simplest wicker basket can become priceless when it is loved and cared for through the generations of a family.”

Sister Parish, 20th century American Designer

Jessica L. Smith

c. 2020