Paul and Camille began creating their classic hand-carved Father Christmas figures in the 1980’s at their Three Bears Cottage in the Santa Cruz Mountains of northern California. Now they live and work in Virginia.
Over the years magazines, newspapers, and television have alerted the world of collectors to these carvings. Stories on the Bolinger Father Christmas figures have appeared in Country Home, Better Homes and Gardens Christmas, and many other publications.
Of the many subjects the Bolingers could have chosen for their art, they were drawn to Christmas because of their son who was young at the time and loved all things Christmas.
Early American Life Magazine selected the Bolingers among the top 100 and the top 200 traditional American Craftsmen in the two times the Bolingers submitted examples for judging. Pieces were chosen for quality, workmanship. and potential for growth in value. These are the antiques of tomorrow – here today.
Workmanship at this level is not generally found in America. Perhaps that is one reason the work of Paul and Camille Bolinger has been so widely recognized.
Years of working with one's hands are required to gain the feel for the art and the skill to make just the right cuts.
Hand crafted items like these require time. The woodcarver must be patient; the wood will only allow him to work at the proper speed. This means there are never many finished carvings available to own at any one time.
"I am an avid collector of beautiful things. My Santa collection is very large and contains several of Paul & Camille’s pieces I acquired in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 80s and 90s. I was drawn to wood-carved items very early in my collecting days; the time and workmanship that are required to make a collectible carving are daunting. The Bolingers’ style is unique and these pieces are easy to spot even when the bulk of my collection is on display."
DS Jacksonville, Fl
Until the face is painted, the true figure cannot be known. When Camille finishes painting, the couple can see the final Father Christmas; it is then and only then the couple can give him his name.
To hold one of these masterpiece carvings and feel the soothing warmth of the wood makes you understand why people have great nostalgia for a time when such beautiful things were more commonplace.
The deep colors of the artist oils are allowed to penetrate into the freshly carved surface. The depth of the finish appears as if the piece was 100 years old already.
"My wife and I owned an art gallery and an interior design studio several years ago. Camille was an interior designer working out of that shop while her husband, Paul, was an executive in a Silicon Valley firm who did wood-carving as a stress-relieving hobby. I encouraged Camille to bring some of their work into the shop to see if it would sell. The first three pieces were gone almost immediately and the Bolingers never did catch up with the demand. I am lucky to have several of their masterpieces in my collection. My daughters, who love the carvings as much as I, will own them some day."
JS Sunnyvale, Ca.
The Father Christmas Carvings on the "Carvings" and "Faces" pages are owned by the Bolingers and collectors. These are provided so you can see the beauty of a finished carving. New carvings are shown on the NEW page as they emerge from the wood.
Works in progress are shown on the NEW page. These are available for purchase before we complete them. You may consult with Camillle on color selections.
We can discuss the details of your interest in a carving. Please understand that carvings are limited and may take months to complete.
We would love to discuss the carvings, our story, and your collection.
All father Christmas carvings are hand carved from American Linden. The paint is artist oil. The workmanship is impeccable. The beauty is obvious.
Although we have a definite style, there are no two carvings that are the same. The wood, the hand carving, and the painting mean that duplication is impossible.
Make sure you examine the details on the coats, the hats, and the ornamentation. Once you own your own carving you may wish to add special things to the carvings; that is why so many have their hand ready to hold your treasure.