My favorite Christmas traditions are Nordic and, I must admit, a little dark. I particularly enjoy the movie Rare Exports, a distinctively Finnish story about the original Christmas dude, Joulupukki, who lived at Korvatunuri Mountain and was known for punishing little kids who misbehaved and who managed a crew of evil elves who stole children from their beds. Iceland is similarly known for Jolasveinar, the Yule Lads, who were tricksters and sons of trolls. Their gifts were seldom pleasant—rotten food, for instance. They figure prominently in Elizabeth Hand’s post-punk noir murder mystery set in Finland and Iceland, Available Dark.
This is my Christmas elf for 2013; he’s appropriately red and green. He is little more than a head, hands and feet made out of sculpting clay that you bake in the oven. His eyeballs are recycled batteries.
Here’s more recycling (below), a very satisfying part of my Christmas experience; I shop as rarely as possible. These are my little ladies made of “artificial tears” vials and batteries and miscellaneous pieces of stuff. They will be part of an exhibit of “Southern whatnots” scheduled for next fall and also I plan to include them in art-o-mat boxes once I have 50 of them made. And some of them may end up as gifts.
I will also design more little panels like these (below) for people to arrange in various ways. I’ve been making them to sell and auction, and some to give as gifts, along with little books with fairy tales I’ve written. I think all the stories must include versions of me; I’ve given one to each of my brothers and sisters this year.
After New Year’s it’s back to bigger projects, but making these little doo-dads has been relaxing and fun.