Brainerd artist restores church manger for Christmas


The lithographed nativity scene from the 1950s was in poor condition when it mysteriously appeared in Brainerd Church. And it seemed destined for the trash if it weren’t for Anne Niklaus.

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“The set was given to us – at Trinity Lutheran Church – several years ago by an anonymous donor,” Niklaus said of the donation made over a dozen years ago. “I could tell it was beautiful once.”

Niklaus kept the nativity scene made by the Douglas Fir Plywood Association of Tacoma, Washington, in the church garage before the decor was restored by David Boudin, another church member.

“I really enjoyed doing it. I loved every minute of it. Painting, with acrylics and things, I like bright colors and highlight everything to make it stand out more, ”Boudin said on Friday, December 17th.

Niklaus said, “It’s just beautiful, it’s just beautiful, which David did. … He was in really bad shape… and he needed repairs but I didn’t know what to do with it.

Niklaus was responsible for the church yard sale and craft sale, so she came across the Nativity Scene, which was promoted by the Plywood Association as a DIY project.

“The owners glued the representations – sold as brightly colored lithographs on thick sheets of paper – onto wood, then used a jigsaw to cut out the shapes,” according to an article in the December / January issue. from CountryLiving.com.


The brightly colored lithographs on heavy sheets of paper were glued to wood and a jigsaw was used to cut out the shape.  Contribution / David Boudin

The brightly colored lithographs on heavy sheets of paper were glued to wood and a jigsaw was used to cut out the shape. Contribution / David Boudin

“I found out that, while working on this particular project, you were working on paper glued to wood, and much of it was peeled off or missing,” said Boudin, who also used a plaster-like material in the restoration. of the church crib.

The nationwide nursery offered for $ 2 in the mail by the Plywood Association contained 16 pieces, according to the Hearst Corp. article.


The brightly colored lithographs were printed on thick sheets of paper and pasted by the owners onto wood, which were then cut out using a jigsaw.  Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

The brightly colored lithographs were printed on thick sheets of paper and pasted by the owners onto wood, which were then cut out using a jigsaw. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

“They were missing parts of the pictures, like on the camel. They were missing the whole front of the camel’s face and everything, ”said Boudin, who usually paints portraits and landscapes.

The 89-year-old artist from Brainerd works in acrylics but trained as an oil painter. He painted full time for nearly four decades and exhibited his work in arts and crafts exhibitions.


The 1950s crib donated nationwide for $ 2 in the mail by the Douglas Fir Plywood Association contained 16 pieces.  Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

The 1950s crib donated nationwide for $ 2 in the mail by the Douglas Fir Plywood Association contained 16 pieces. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Boudin said of the restoration of the crib: “It’s a real thin, almost like plaster, put it there like acrylic and sand it. And then it’s really fluid and everything and then you finish. I did this in several places on each of them – a bit here and there.

According to CountryLiving.com, the tradition of using nativity scenes to celebrate the Christmas holidays dates back to AD 1223 “when Saint Francis of Assisi is said to have created the first such scene using live animals”.

“And this crib. I loved doing it because you got all the animals and the shepherds and the kings and everything, ”said Boudin, who started restoring Trinity Lutheran’s manger about a year ago.

FRANK LEE can be reached at 218-855-5863 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL.



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