N.S. woodcarver thrilled after Hallmark movie features her signature Santas
LIVERPOOL, N.S. -- A Nova Scotia artist is woodworking her way to the silver screen after her Christmas creations were featured in a Hallmark movie this holiday season.
Elizabeth Brown took her first woodcarving lesson almost 27 years ago, and she hasn’t put her knife down since.
“As soon as I heard the sound of a sharp tool going through the wood I was hooked,” says Brown, who lives and works in Liverpool, N.S.
Brown says she’s thankful she gets to make a living by doing what she loves.
“Years ago, I remember wishing for myself as a very young person that I could work for myself doing something creative, but I wasn’t sure what that could be, she says. “Five years ago, it just dawned on me that I was doing exactly that, and I am so grateful.”
Brown’s handmade and painted wooden Santas have become her signature pieces -- no two are the same.
“Lots of people have collected them and I’m thankful for all of them and it’s one of the staples of my business,” she says.
Brown says she probably carves between 100 and 150 Santas every year.
While they have long been a favourite with her customers, they also recently caught the eye of the Hallmark Channel, which produces dozens of made-for-TV Christmas movies every year.
Brown says the man in charge of props for the Hallmark Channel also happens to be from Nova Scotia and he stumbled across her work.
“They had gone over a few different styles and decided that mine was the one they wanted, so he contacted me through Facebook,” she recalls. “I thought maybe I was being punked, but it turned out he was legit.”
The movie, “Nostalgic Christmas,” focuses on an ambitious New York City toy buyer. When her father retires from his woodcarving career, she returns to her small-town roots to run the family’s beloved toy store.
“It was exciting to read the script and see how big a role that these Santas played in the movie,” says Brown.
While Brown was thrilled to have her work featured in a Hallmark Christmas movie, it also meant a mad scramble for the artist, as she had just two weeks to create 24 new Santas for the film.
“Each Santa has specific little accessories because they all have a theme, so each one had to have, I designed them to match the script basically, so it was a bit tight.”
Brown admits she had never actually watched a Hallmark movie, so she wasn’t aware of how popular they are. She was stunned when she learned the movies can garner 72 million viewers.
“That’s where my knees went a little weak and I got a little nervous,” she says.
While seeing her work in a movie was thrilling enough, Brown says the experience has also led to a big boost in business.
“I’ve had such positive responses from people from the States, I’ve been sending them all over the United States, the U.K., people sending me messages, when can I get one of your Santas?”
As for customers wanting to start their own collection, Brown says she is currently sold out of Santas, but is carving as quickly as she can.