The Huntley Farmside
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a; fJuntley JL JL Farmside 350 Thursday December 14, 2000 Volume 40 No. 47 Your hometown newspaper © 2000 Press-Republican Newspapers A touch of Sinterklass by Elizabeth Harmon Correspondent If Santa and the missus ever feel like get¬ ting away from the North Pole, they might consider dropping in on Cherri Kopinski of Union. Though the Christmas tree isn't up 365 days a year, the place has a permanent holiday cheerfulness, right down to the five-foot repli¬ ca of ol' St. Nick himself, greeting visitors in the foyer. For the past 10 years, Santa has been an integral part of Kopinski's life. A self-taught folk artist, Kopinski creates and sells hand¬ crafted Santa figures through her business, Sinterklaas Hollow. The name is Dutch for Santa Claus. "I'm German, not Dutch, but the German name isn't as catchy," she said. She made her first Santa in 1988, a simple figure with a linen-wrapped face and wool cloak. At first, the figures were mainly gifts for family and friends, but after a Marengo card store owner stocked a few in her shop during the 1990 holiday season, the Santas took off and Kopinski went into business. The figures have evolved from the wool and linen prototype. Kopinski's husband, Steve, constructs the bodies from wood and wire and wraps them in polyester batting. She uses papier-mache for the faces, which she sculpts and paints. "I like papier-mache because when it dries, each face is different. That makes the Santas unique." What also makes them unique are their clothing and props. Instead of the typical red suits and toy bags, Kopinski's Santas can be found wearing just about anything and taking part in some unexpected activities. "We've got Santa riding a cow and pulling a cart, Santa in an airplane, Santa fishing, Santas riding bikes." Many ideas come from the customers who snap up her creations at her two annual craft shows and have brought special items to be incorporated into their design. "I've had people bring me toys that belonged to them as kids, I've done one with an old sled. I'm finishing one now that's using a grandma's fur coat. People like to personal¬ ize their Santas with family things," Kopinski said. The figures range from table-top size, up to the five-foot, almost life-size model, which Kopinski's daughter, Kirstin. posed for years ago. "She towers over me now," Kopinski said with a laugh. During her 10-year career, Kopinski esti¬ mates that she's made about 1300 Santas. After taking the end of December off and vis- Liberty photos by Joel Garretson Cherri Kopinski of Union among some of the sundry Santas she has created during her 10-year career as designer and maker of custom Christmas figures.The Santas range from tabletop size to five feet tall. iting gift fairs in January, she begins working on her year's inventory in February. Each Santa takes about eight hours to build, includ¬ ing the time she spends buying props and clothing. The figures range in price from $75 for a tabletop Santa to $1600 for a life-size custom- designed figure. Sinterklaas Hollow holds two shows a year. At her fall craft fair, Kopinski displays Santas along with her newest creation, a Halloween witch. She said the witch has yet to make a Christmas appearance, although Santa carves pumpkins. In December, she participates in the Winter Wonderwalk, displaying her work along with that of two other artists. And it's during the holidays that Kopinski's artistic talent and her flair for decorating really shine. "I've always loved getting ready for Christmas," she said. inio tneir custom santa. ^ Sinterklaas Hollow original. Patrons of Sinterklass Hollow often ask Kopinski to incorporate personal items into their custom Santa.
|Title||The Huntley Farmside|
|Creator||The Huntley Farmside|
|Coverage||Huntley, Illinois, United States|
|Description||Weekly Newspaper from the Huntley Area Public Library Collection|
|Rights||This material may be protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S. Code).|
|Publisher||This Collection was digitized and loaded into CONTENTdm by OCLC Preservation Service Center (Bethlehem, PA) for the Huntley Area Public Library.|
|Source||Reproduction of library's print newspaper archives|