Monday, May 9, 2011


While I was on vacation during Christmas I decided that I would create three nutcrackers for my children for the following Christmas. That would be Christmas of 2011 which is little more than seven months away. I know that I have been preoccupied with making a cradle for my youngest daughter's first child. I have also had a fairly heavy travel schedule this year, shuttling between China, Mexico and the US. I did manage to prepare my first piece that I would like to sell; The Master. In between all of this activity I have not lost sight of the nutcrackers. I thought a lot about what each nutcracker would look like and I discussed each nutcracker with each of my children. What I do have are three working drawings, one or two for each of the nutcrackers. Here they are. Please do not judge these drawings on their artistic merit. They are only meant to be a guide while I am working on the nutcrackers so the drawings are not of the highest quality.

The first two drawings are for the Nutcracker for my son. They are based on one of his favorite video game characters from the video game, Halo. The character's name is Cloud. I did several drawings of Cloud before these two. These two drawing are full size so that I can take actual dimensions from these drawings. When the nutcracker is completed it will stand approximately eighteen inches tall. All nutcrackers have some part of their anatomy that moves which enables it to crack nuts. Traditionally, it is the mouth that opens and closes that makes the nut cracking device. I did not want to change the face of the character so I decided that the arm holding the sword would move up and down. This will be the nut cracker.

 The next two drawings are for the nutcracker that I am creating for my oldest daughter. She wanted to have a skater nutcracker. I decided that I would use an old fashioned Victorian skater. The clothing and the skates make a quaint figure that gives the character a whimsical look. Like Cloud, the warrior, the skater uses her right arm as the mechanism that creates the nutcracker. When the skater is in the normal position there is little indication that it is also a nutcracker. I have not developed the full size drawings yet for the skater but they will just be larger versions of this drawing. Like Cloud, the skater will be about eighteen inches tall.


The third nutcracker for my youngest daughter only has one drawing at the moment. It is going to be a nurse practitioner nutcracker. My youngest daughter is finishing her studies to be a nurse practitioner. It was only fitting that I would create a nurse practitioner for my youngest daughter. Like Cloud and the skater, the nurse practitioner will stand approximately eighteen inches when it will be completed. As Cloud and the skater use the right arm to create the nutcracker mechanism.  

There is a tradition of nutcrackers using a variety of mechanisms to crack nuts.

The Nutcracker Museum in Leavenworth, Washington has graciously allowed me use some of their photographs in my posts about Nutcrackers, The Nutcracker Museum.

This graceful nutcracker of a French courtesan was one of my inspirations for the three nutcrackers that I am working on.The top of the nutcracker lifts off and the nutcracker is inside. There are more pictures and details in the Nutcracker book that is available fro the Nutcracker museum. It is an excellent book. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in nutcrackers.

The pictures above is courtesy of the Nutcracker Museum in Leavenworth, Washington.

The carving of a Chinese girl is also delicately rendered with careful detail and expression in the face and body.

The pictures above is courtesy of the Nutcracker Museum in Leavenworth, Washington

The actual cracking mechanism is hidden from the front. It is a screw mechanism where the nut is inserted in the back and the screw is turned down until the nut breaks.

The pictures above is courtesy of the Nutcracker Museum in Leavenworth, Washington

The nutcracker poses a special challenge. one is making an interesting figure that is attractive and usually novel in some way. the second challenge which completes the first challenge is that is must also be a working, nut cracking device. To me, it is a challenging combination of the artistic and the mechanical.

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