Heidi Trautmann

899: Arts and Crafts at the GOETHE Christmas Market 2016

By Heidi Trautmann


It warmed my heart and mind to see true arts and crafts at the German Christmas Market at the Goethe Institute in Nicosia and not industry products ; arts and crafts hand-made, as it should be for a pre-Christmas  event. The month before Christmas, the time to get prepared, with the old tradition of Advent…it always meant for me to sit down and make something with my hands to create a present for loved ones, to decorate the house with traditional symbols and also to bake Dresdner Stollen, Lebkuchen and Cinnamon stars, so the house would be penetrated with the smell of Christmas. It is the process of weaving love and emotions into the hand-made presents that is the important message.

This basic message was present in the garden and exhibition hall of the Goethe Institute thanks to the organisers, a cooperation of the Goethe Institute and the Cyprus-German Association.  I had the opportunity to speak to some of the artists and artisans.  I was early because of the stupid and unnecessary time difference between the two parts of the island, which has heated the minds of our population and caused protest marches in the streets of Nicosia.

I met Gabi Böhm with her ‘Sharifa Art’ creations,  hand-dyed creations on silk and wool, dyed with plants she collects and experiments with. She is well-known in Cyprus, north and south, for her beautiful collections of dresses, coats, shawls, hand-made felt she works into hats and shawls. A woman artist who works with nature.  Noteworthy are also her international workshops she organizes in Cyprus. Usually you find her on arts and crafts exhibitions. Gabi Böhm is on facebook with Sharifa Art if you want to see more and perhaps contact her.

Next to her was a stand with naïve fairytale like paintings which gave one ideas of another world.

How beautifully these stick horses and unicorns were made, I loved them. What a work of love. Hand-made dolls of all sizes, small presents , hand-made Christmas cards, so beautiful. There are the works of one other woman I have to mention because she had a true passion for knitting as she confessed to me and sighed heavily: I cannot stop knitting, I have so many shrill ideas and I love to mix colours and create funny fashion.  I love to work with my hands, I even write my business cards by hand and all that takes so much of my time, I know, but I cannot help myself. Her name is Simona Serdiuc, she is also on facebook with Simona.style.by.hand. Fascinating. Further worth a special mention was a stand full of folded paper stars made by young girls. I bought some of their colourful stars.

There were several stands with home-made beauty products and soaps and hmmm the smell that surrounded them….. Incredibly prolific a woman with bags of all sizes decorated with embroidery.  A young girl showed her young and modern jewellery made from modeling clay, fruits and even fried eggs, it made me smile.

The local Cyprus Bird Association was present to advertise the protection of birds with a new publication….yes, and here the ladies from the German Evangelical church with their hand-made works and chocolate cookies and hearts to hang onto the Christmas tree.

The most heavily visited stands were the food stands with German traditional specialities such as Leberkäs, Bratwurst and Bockwurst, Glühwein and German beers and they were really genuine, no copies.

A peaceful event in the buffer zone between two brother communities who still don’t know whether they can make the necessary compromises to live together. On the basis of the arts co-existence is possible, why not on a daily basis?

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