Single mom took a nickle and found her niche among cherished American Folk Artists

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26th Annual Holiday Open House is held each year in her hometown of Joplin, MO.  It’s a lottery to purchase original items and first run manufacture pieces.  To make it fair for everyone it will be held online from now on.  (64801) – Belsnickles By Linda Lindquist Baldwin – the creator of the Belsnickle© Santa – Holiday Open House at the Joplin Museum Complex.  Belsnickle’s are highly sought-after collectibles. At one time mass produced but now back into private creation and distribution by the original artist herself who grew up right here where we live!

BEHIND THE SCENES INTERVIEW by Shannon Becker
Is it bittersweet today, the last year of ‘open house’?  “It is you know people have com here from all over the United States.  They get hotels together.  They socialize together outside of here besides of my open house.  It’s the end of an era.”

Earlier Linda paused to look for a moment around the room.  So many friends.  So many memories.  Even making new friends today. A nice lady came up and snapped a photo of us together and she said to me, “did you know her?”  I said no.  She said “well I didn’t either?”  She just smiled. 

Linda goes on, “I was asked – what was the most important thing about today?  I said really it’s the camaraderie that we share. All these people, we are like one big family.  And it is bittersweet.” 

You are not retiring?  You are still making new designs all the time?  “It’s just a new chapter of Belsnickle’s, it’s not the last page.  I’ll still be selling online.  I’ll still be selling originals. It will just be done in a little different format. I will still be out there.  I don’t intend to ever retire.  Not on my agenda at all.”

She hugs me.  She says she loves me.  I know she means it.  Her fans are family.  

LINDA’S STORY 
Born in the Missouri Ozarks, Linda Lindquist Baldwin grew up without running water or electricity in McDonald County. In 1986 she was as single mother working two jobs and attending college at night. She bought a book about antique papier-mache Santas for a nickle at a garage sale.

Linda’s sculptures have been displayed at the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City, Smithsonian Museum(s), Traveling Museum Shows, Galleries and Private Collections around the world.

Linda’s an artist and of course her creativity has grown beyond Santa to include Snowsnickles©, Broomsnickles© They were mass reproduced by Schmid and Enesco through the 90s and early 2000s.

However in 2003 to protect their value as a collectible and solidify exclusivity, her pieces are available only through her personal distribution.

On the bottom of every official piece is a nickle embedded in the sculpture. To remind you of the 5 cents she paid for that first book at a garage sale that inspired her to create the first Belsnickle©. -Adapted from Press Release #KSN16 #KODE12  #JoplinNewsFirst  #Bellsnickle

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