Saturday, March 15, 2014

Seligentstadt Easter Market: Visiting with the Vendors

Last Saturday my friend and I took a short day trip to Seligenstadt to see the Easter Egg Market at the museum in the monastery. More information about the market is available here.

As we toured the tables of decorated eggs, some of the vendors told us about the eggs. One vendor represented a china factory. She was selling china spoon rests and cups and saucers too. It was fascinating to talk to her because she showed us some of the Biedermeier patterns (white background with pretty pink flowers) that they had painted on the eggs. The Biedermeier period followed the Napoleonic Wars (early 1800s to about the mid-1800s or so) and was a time when Germans really started decorating their homes with knick knacks and the such. I had learned about this period in class last summer but hadn't really looked at many pictures of the art items.

Anyway, the vendor invited us to pick up the eggs to look at them. I demurred, telling her that I was clumsy and didn't want to break anything. She almost gave me a heart attack when she picked up some eggs and tapped them together to show how sturdy the bigger eggs are, such as the duck eggs. I still politely declined because with my luck, I'd break something!

We chatted with an adorable couple who were dressed in historical clothes. Earlier I saw them talking to children at their booth, smiling and handing out candy. How cute are they?

Roswitha is the wife and the artist. She originally started painting the eggs as gifts for friends and family and then started selling them. They have a flock of poultry to supply the eggs. Roswitha has her very own style that sets her eggs apart: she likes to include a poem or a quote on the back of the egg.

What drew me to her eggs (besides the beautiful patterns) is that the lettering is done in the old German script. I asked her if she had learned it in school. She had, but said that it was only for one term and no one uses it any more because it's too hard to read. I laughed because I thought the same thing but attributed that to not being German. It makes me feel better that Germans have a hard time with it too! However, she did want to have a more traditional look to the eggs so she dug out old letters from her grandfather that had been written in the same script and studied them.

The eggs were absolutely beautiful. My friend picked up one and Roswitha read the quote. "No good," she said. The quote was about pride and it being a downfall. It's kind of strange to thing of a beautiful egg with a somewhat antisocial quote. My friend easily found another egg with a nicer quote and bought it. Roswitha had planned ahead; as she was wrapping the egg, her husband logged the sale in his laptop and included a slip of paper with the quote written out. That's a great idea as the handwriting is very small on the egg.

My friend collected her boxed up egg and we said a cheery goodbye to the couple. We really enjoyed our visit to the Easter egg market and with the vendors, learning more about the artists.

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