Tomte for Christmas


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I first heard about the Tomte from my daughter who moved to Sweden in 2010. A little creature from Scandinavian folklore that is usually associated around the winter solstice and Christmas. Â Similar to a gnome, he is only 3 feet tall with a white beard and red cap. To the Scandinavians he is like Santa Claus and is the bearer of gifts. The Tomte often takes up residence at a family farm. Living in the home and helping with chores and protecting the children and animals. Like the fairies he can have a temper. So treat him fairly, or he will play tricks and cause mischief to the family. A bowl of porridge is commonly left out at Christmas. This also is a nice gesture to let the Tomte know he is welcome.

During Christmastime, you will often see Tomte with red hats and beards hanging around the Swedish homes as decorations. Having collected a few over the years, the Tomtar are always welcome in my home!

I now regularly make these little characters, varying how each one looks so no two are alike.

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About the Author
My name is Linda Duclaud-Williams and I live on the edge of the Cambridge fens in a small village of thatched cottages and Dutch style buildings. I’ve pursued many creative routes over the years. It wasn’t until 2013 that my love of clay really took hold. In 2015 I had a studio built in the garden. As a keen wild gardener and extensive traveller I take much of my inspiration from the natural world. My art is in its early stages my work at the moment is a melting pot, making a wide variety of items. Steadily more and more an emotional connection to nature and our planet’s shared environmental situation. The current individual and personal challenges caused by the pandemic have also let to a poignant expression in clay. However, I also like to surprise and delight with the occasional humorous piece. I hand build using a variety of techniques from slab, to pinching and coil construction. Above all I individually craft and paint by hand every item. As a result, they take time to produce. Therefore, each ceramic piece is unique. Dried slowly then fired in the kiln to bisque. Subsequently the glazes are applied. Lastly a final firing takes place in the kiln to fix the glazes. It's at this point that anything might happen and I give up my precious items to the kiln gods. Consequently, they may have imperfections on the surface, slump a little, get stuck to the shelf or even crack. I love the tactile experiences of building and sculpting each piece and the holding the completed art work. The magical process of glazing a piece adds to the mystery of how each piece will look upon completion. I find the physicality of moulding clay and the unpredictability of glazing and firing so exciting. It is this excitement that entices me back in to my studio time and time again. I am a member of Anglian Potters who hold two exhibitions a year. During the weekends in July, Cambridge Open Studios organise Publicity for this event and I have participated for three years as a ‘working studio’. This event has been a great success, the public are able to see me working and it showcases my work well. For more information about me, or to request a commission please get in touch.

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