A Few Words with one of our Artists – Barbara Lund

Barb Lund

Each spring we ask our Village artists to share some thoughts about the designs they create. We recently spoke to Barbara Lund who has been designing the Dickens’ Village, New England Village and the North Pole Series for the last 27 years. We thought that we should share her thoughts with you.

Neilan Lund
Neilan Lund

“I believe I am coming up on my 27th year of designing Villages. That would be enough time to put a child through grad school. I suppose, in a way, I have graduated myself, from being an apprentice to my father, Neilan Lund, for so many years, into feeling completely versed in creating these buildings. In these years we have seen a great escalation in the ability of our factories to implement more challenging designs and offer greater interest to the public.”

We asked our artists, “If you could design any historical building (with no restrictions whatsoever) what would it be — and why would you choose it?”

Barbara: “I think we are all drawn to names we recognize and there are many businesses alive today that had their beginnings in the last centuries. Many goods carry the names of the families that began the company. Of course, when you want to use a licensed name, that can create some challenges so Department 56 has always played that card very carefully. But speaking of “playing,” I believe another thing we all love is music. Not long ago I researched how pianos are made as there is vast information available to us about this art — and it is an art. A friend had told me that if she could afford any piano in the world she would buy a Bosendorfer made before 1970 so I learned as much as I could about what informed her decision and it was fascinating. There are many carrying proud names today. There are also many beautiful makers who lost their race with time or technology but pianos are a thing that have touched us all.

Our collectors always want to know what your favorite new pieces for 2016 are. What can you share?

Barbara: Last summer I was putting the final touches on the third version of Little Town of Bethlehem that will be released by Department 56 as part of the company’s 40th anniversary later this year. My father drew the first after he and my mother visited the Holy Land which they deeply loved. They traveled in a less troubled time and were able to really absorb the environment and people and antiquities. I remember my mother writing a long letter about a Palestinian many they had met. She believed he was one of the most beautiful souls she had ever met traveling. Our third version of Bethlehem goes back to some of my father’s earlier inspiration and away from the more ornate offerings sold by other companies. We hope it can be a cornerstone for new families who have not yet found a nativity.

We all know that working for Department 56 allows you to combine your talents with a working profession. If you weren’t doing this what other career might you pursue?

Barbara: I have drawn Department 56 for so many years I almost can’t imagine another profession through travel holds great appeal. The world has certainly become more connected since I began this work but I  continue to believe that we can’t really understand other cultures and places until we visit them. I have been lucky to visit many wonderful places but there are so many more I’d like to understand. I think the more exposure I have to real places, the better I will become at translating what I have seen and felt into little porcelain pieces.

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Glamping with Snowbabies

Glamping with Snowbabies

Our Snowbabies have taken to the glamping craze in a big way, with their retro styled trailer decked out with colorful pennants and a soak in the hot tub! Glamping seems to be all the rage! It incorporates a style of camping with glamour and luxury, and to me that’s the best of both worlds. And by definition – glamping appeals to many who would not have any interest in the great outdoors, nature, or traveling. To start, this style of camping does not necessarily mean going to the woods, pitching a tent and rolling out a sleeping bag. Some destinations can provide the teepee, airstream trailer or yurt with all the amenities of home, and then some. Glamping can occur in the forest of South America, on a hilltop in Sweden or on the edge of a lake overlooking a magnificent waterfall. It is also a very popular way to honeymoon.

Glamping Examples

Glamping food does not always mean roasting marshmallows or hot dogs over an open fire, although that is one of my favorite things to do when we camp.  Some glamping destinations like at the elephant camp in South Africa includes gourmet meals prepared by a local chef complete with wine and other bubbly refreshments. Yum!   

There is also winter camping in an igloo in Switzerland where the cost per night includes wood burning stoves, soft carpets and large beds with luxury linens. What a perfect way to spend the night after a day of skiing on the Alps. Or how about a cozy glamped-up cabin near a favorite fishing spot high in the mountains?

What would you add to our Snowbabies glamping collection to make their trip perfect?

For more information, visit a really interesting blog at Glamping.com.

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Harley-Davidson Villages

The American Icon of the Open Road: Harley-Davidson.

Harley-Davidson Villages

It all started in a small 10’X15′ shed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When William Harley and Davidson brothers Arthur and Walter produced and sold their first motorcycle over a century ago, we bet they had no idea their names would live on as a brand so iconic in American culture it’s become part of millions of family histories. American Classic

The Harley-Davidson Snow Village hearkens back to a simpler time, celebrating our love for roadside attractions and the Big Tin Drive-In where car hops delivered your chocolate malts car-side, or in this case bike-side. There’s nothing quite like the great American road trip both then and now.

Santa’s V-Twins

And you thought the only way Santa got around was with a team of eight reindeer and a sleigh! With plenty of room in his saddlebags for toys and gifts, he’s ready for cruising the open road and spreading Christmas joy.

The snow may be falling outside and the real bikes waiting out the winter in storage, but inside it’d toasty warm and the memories have us dreaming of spring and cruising this beautiful country.

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Best Friends Forever


Friends are the family you choose. Whether you chose each other in 7th grade homeroom or in the office lunchroom, best friends are forever and so are the memories. Shopping and selfies, makeup and shoes – being a girl is so much fun, especially with your number one.


Best Friends Have Paws Too
For many of us, the unconditional love of a pet was one of our first experiences with friendship. The ultimate confidante, with us through thick and thin, and a friend that lives on in our heart forever. That’s what makes the Snowbabies™ collection so endearing and special. Remembering how Max loved to go for rides and how kitty was more than happy to share your ice cream.


Memories and Stories


Shopping and selfies, makeup and shoes – being a girl is just so much fun, especially with your number one. Snowbabies designer Kristi Jensen Pierro has been capturing the magic and wonder of winter in her designs for over 30 years. Her work reflects her experiences with her children and her own childhood. She loves drawing inspiration and ideas from collectors. “The evolution of many of my designs comes from the inspiration of the thousands of enthusiasts and collectors everywhere.” Each Snowbabies™ piece tells its own unique story. And it’s those stories, inspired by real memories that connect with us in such a special and personal way.


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