Julie Chadimová – Gingerbread Nativity Scenes, Folk Proverbs, Bohemian Fairy Tales

A series of exhibitions between 1999 and 2015

In addition to the traditional exhibitions of gingerbread nativity scenes, held annually during Advent, our visitors have also been able to enjoy author exhibitions by a prominent South Bohemian gingerbread artist.

Julie Chadimová was born in 1952 in Strakonice, where she has spent her whole life. She has been inspired by the embroideries of Pracheň folk costumes, based on the motifs of South Bohemian folk traditions. Yet, her work has always included a contemporary sense of abbreviation and wit. Her inherent artistic talent allows her to infuse “ordinary” gingerbread dough with movement; her figures are flowing and smiling. Her work transcends the craft of gingerbread making and ranks her alongside artists invited to exhibit not only in the Czech Republic but also in Germany, Austria, France and Italy. She also teaches courses focusing on baking, decorating and modelling gingerbread and works with gingerbread pressed into carved moulds. She decorates her gingerbread with an original technique of shading and layering of white icing.

Julie Chadimová worked for years as a librarian. However, she became enchanted with ceremonial and Vizovice pastries in the 1980s and decided to make Christmas tree ornaments for her family. Over time, she began making gingerbread ornaments gifted to enthusiastic friends. Following the regime change in 1993, she decided to make a living with her art. It was not an easy decision; all the work is done by hand, and the most challenging part is making the dough. The number of recipes she has tried has numbered in the hundreds; she has processed tons of flour and honey over the years. The number of commissions cannot be counted, but certainly, her work has travelled to every continent in the world.

The Museum of Nativity Scenes has started to cooperate with Julia Chadimova for a long and intensive period of time. Our visitors could admire her gingerbread nativity scenes at our traditional Christmas exhibitions for many years – they always included large nativity sets, often not only in the traditional style; we also exhibited musical, animal or angelic nativity scenes. The mutual cooperation culminated in two original exhibitions – Folk Proverbs and Bohemian Fairy Tales. Both exhibited gingerbread paintings featuring the given themes. With her extraordinary artistic talent, she ranks among the brightest stars of the gingerbread maker’s sky, and our museum has always been honoured to cooperate with her.