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A Free Download — Svatava Crèche No. 5, a paper nativity to print, cut out and enjoy!

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From the gifted brush of Svatava Vizinová comes a beguiling crèche, a Free Download for you to print out and assemble. Folk themes, a layering of colors, artistic playfulness, and fine rendering of lines found in podmalby — reverse-glass painting are echoed in Svatava's original crèches…

 
Svatava's Nativity No. 5, above — a Free Download from Crèchemania.com — echoes the Podmalby tradition —painting on the reverse side of glass — one of Svatava Vizinová's specialties. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Podmalby flowered in Bavaria, Moravia, Slovakia, and Bohemia, home to Svatava's Zábrdské Betlémy Museum. 
 
Svatava Vizinová surrounded by her prodigious Zábrdské Betlémy paper nativity collection. 
I thought I was all organized last Christmas.

A stack of Greek vintage pop-up Christmas cards were printed on heavy-weight matte paper, ready to be cut out, folded, and mailed.

But then a photo assignment took me away, and my cards are still here — ready for next year!

On top of my card list is Svatava Vizinová, my good friend who lives in the Czech Republic and runs the one-of-a-kind — Zábrdské Betlémy paper crèche Museum.

Svatava, a warm redhead who speaks in poetic English, calls home the small village of Zabrdí, Bohemia, site of her Zábrdské Betlémy Museum.

Bands of light yellow provide the only touch of color to this two-story, off-white stucco building. Who could guess, without seeing the small Zabrdské Betlémy sign outside, that it houses a colorful world of hundreds —probably thousands — of paper nativities?

I entered that world even before my trip to Zabrdí, through the eloquent letters of Svatava. "I have been living here for four years," she writes in one, "from morning to night I am working cutting out cribs, little figures, cut polysterene, glue on carton boxes, scissors, pins. And I am very happy."

Have carton boxes ever been put to better use? They house Svatava's nativity dioramas that stretch — in neat rows seven-high — the length and breadth of [B]Zábrdské Betlémy's second floor.

I've been wanting to share my wonderful trip to Svatava's world and Museum with you, and have created a short video, so you can feel that you are paying Svatava a visit yourself. I watch it often myself, and it transports me to Svatava's magical world.

It's a always a great pleasure hearing from Svatava, and her latest note a few days ago was no exception.

 
Svatava Vizinová with the Virgin and Child, one of her original podmalby works on glass. 
Dear Alexis,

"I have not heard from you for a while (and the same you from me...), so I must remedy that with this letter.

"In year 2010 I worked very hard, and in my collection I have 400-450 new crèches. (Who could count them more precicely?)

"Ewerywhere are cribs...And, I remember your question when you were here: "Where will you put any new crèches?"

"And I can hear my answer: "If the God gives me a new crib, He will certainly also give me a place for it."

"Sancta simplicitas! [Holy Simplicity! (How simple is that!)]

"Well, I was mistaken.

"There are now even more drawers full of crèches, from the whole world — and no place where to put them all. I thought I have great house, I have not: it's not nearly large enough!

"Shall I start cutting them out? One has almost 1,350 figures, 10-30cm [4-11 inches] high. But where would I put them?

"So I decided to paint my own cribs. In my head are some ideas I am seeing, that I must paint.

"When you were here, you saw my first experiments. And for a long time I was thinking to give them to you to share with our nativity friends on Crèchemania.

"You know I am a beginner (as I ever will be!). But I have been painting them with love and from heart. So I am sending them to you for all theenthusiasts. Maybe somebody will like them, download them, and enjoy them.

"Of course I want to offer them as Free Downloads. (Do You remember, you tought me these words.)

"I had a great problems with my computer. On the end I must to bought a new one...I MUST to have a computer...the world is coming to Zábrdíthrough PC...

As I write, I have in my kitchen three new energetic red cats: Balthasar, Melchior, Caspar. (Better names for them might be Al Capone, Jack the Ripper, and so on — but I love them.) They are sleeping now, like little babies.

"My dogs, Max and Gaia, are old but living in full health...

"The winter was strong this year, but I had lots of wood, so it was a good time for all us in the house.

"But, visitor-wise, last year was not very good. Everywhere in museums, galleries, theaters were only few visitors. The same here in Zabrdí as well.

"An exposition in Germany included 50 of podmalby pictures on glass. But the organizers reported only few visitors there as well.

 
Joseph, Virgin and Child, Gloria Angel — one of three sheets from Svatava Vizinová's beguiling Nativity No. 5, available as a Free Download from Crèchemania.com. 
"I hope you had a good year. And I am waiting for your news. Alexis, please send your email twice:I will send this mail two times (to be sure you receive it). Please, do the same. Some emails to me never arrive. Some where along the way there is living some monster and devouring them… Who knows?

"I wish to you only good and pleasant things coming into your days."

— Svatava

I'm delighted to share Svatava's beguiling paper nativities with you, starting with Svatava Vizinová Crèche No. 5. (Other lovely crèches from her gifted brush will follow.)

I know you'll enjoy them as much as you have the Svatava Nativity and Perola Advertising Sheet Free Downloads from her prodigious collection.

Thanks, Svatava! (Smile.)

Svatava Crèche No. 5 Free Download

You'll also enjoy browsing Svatava's Zábrdské Betlémy pages, visiting her Papírové Betlémy Web site, not love seeing her Museum: Zábrdské Betlémy, Zábrdí 1, 38421 p. Husinec, Czech Republic.

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