Kentucky Tourism

Smith, Christa — Chris' Tole & Treasure

Elizabethtown, KY


traditional German painted boxes, beeswax ornaments

Christa Smith was born in Germany and moved to America in the mid 1960s. Christa remembers as a child, and later as a young adult, visiting the Bayerisches National Museum in Munich and seeing the beautiful Bavarian folk art. The painted boxes and furnishings left a lasting impression on her.

Christa researched the Bavarian Folk Art of “Bauernmalerei,” which dates back to the early 16th Century. The correct translation is ‘peasant or farmers’ painting. From the beginning there were as many different styles of “Bauernmalerei” as there were painters of other art forms. This painting was at times crude, but could also be highly skilled, with bright colors such as blue, red, white and yellow used in common.

 Christa Smith works to make painted wooden box “Bauernmalerei” treasured and collectible again. Christa paints her wooden boxes and trays and with colorful floral imagery in brilliant colors. In 2008 she was selected for Early American Life magazine’s list of Best Traditional American Craftspeople.

 Christa also creates beeswax ornaments. The art of molding and carving beeswax into holiday ornaments is an old German tradition dating back to the sixteenth century. Before glass ornaments were po