Many years ago, inspired by my German heritage, I began decorating furniture and household items with colorful flowers and folk art motifs.
On one of my visits to my grandmother in Munich, I discovered Wallachs, a store devoted to carrying traditional art by regional artists. Silk screen fabrics, wood carvings, pottery and folk art decorated each nook and cranny of this store with museum like respect. I was especially inspired by the hand painted spanschachteln which are boxes crafted of thin shaved wood and were originally used as wedding boxes depicting the bride and groom or as containers to hold linens, threads and needles.
The spanschachteln at Wallachs were decorated with primitive or realistic flowers in bright colors or, sometimes, in soft pastels, as was the artist’s choice.
Some boxes depicted scenes of rural life, thereby leaving us with a painted history of earlier times. Every box told a story.
I bought one box that day 45 years ago and then another each time I went back to Munich. Today, when I look at my spanchachteln collection, I see my own story: how I started teaching myself to paint, how I sat with my grandmother enjoying coffee and apfelkuchen in the afternoons, how everything in my heritage guided me to a creative life and eventually brought me to Door County where art and life are entwined every day.
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