A few years ago, Charles painted a Nativity Set for our home. It is based on the icon of the Nativity of Christ and has all the elements of that icon, including figures of the Three Wise Men, which, of course would be in the icon of the Epiphany.
Charles' intention at the time was just to have the Nativity Set for our family, but when we began to display it, our friends were so taken with it that they urged us to sell reproductions of it.
So, we began to make reproductions, which was quite an arduous process, involving having prints made of the images (we had them made smaller because the original figures are quite large), cutting them out and and affixing each image to the Gator Board (like foam core, only with wood instead of paper), with Mod Podge and then sealing them. We ended up purchasing a scroll saw to cut out each figure. After all that, we would paint the backs and edges and glue paper easels on the backs (I say "we", when what I really mean is "Charles"!).
A couple of years ago, I found a dry mount press, which made the process so much easier - we could mount the images on the backing without glue and laminate the front as well.
We sold them at the Juneau Public Market for the two years that we had a booth there, and then when we moved to the Juneau Artists Gallery, we displayed them there. We only sold a few, and they didn't fly off the shelves like hot cakes like we were certain they would.
The cost of each set might have be a factor - as each image takes a great deal of work to reproduce and manufacture, we decided to charge $100 a set, basically, $10 for each image. When Charles added the Wise Men to the set, we decided not to charge extra and kept the price at $100.
I think that since the sets are so large (the largest figure is of the angels and is about 15 inches tall), it prevents people from purchasing them, along with the price, which is pretty expensive, unless you are in a position to spend that kind of money. A few Nativity Set collectors have bought them, which is nice as well.
This year, we decided not to manufacture any sets and just put the word out that if folks want them (they would be for next year) they can let us know and we will make them to order.
I am thinking that it would be good to make them a bit smaller or at least to offer the option of having a smaller set than the size we have now.
I sent off a set today that had been ordered last year. It was kind of fun, as I had to pack them at the Post Office and the folks waiting in line were intrigued by them. I had a couple of folks ask if they were for sale. I told them not this year, but we would be taking orders for next year if they were interested.
Charles did such a beautiful job painting the original set that I wanted to share it again this year with my readers!
It is such a lovely and unique addition to our Christmas decorations and helps keep us in mind of what the season is all about.