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Local Artist Prepares for Final Open House

Updated:
JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

A local artist that's been featured on CNN, the NBC Nightly News, and sold pieces across the nation is holding her final open house this weekend, marking the end of a chapter in her life.

Linda Lindquist Baldwin has been creating "Belsnickles" -- papier-mâché Santa Clause figurines -- for more than 30 years.

Linda Lindquist Baldwin, Belsnickle Creator:"I was a single mother, almost 40, working two jobs with developmentally disabled adults and going to college at night, never had an art class in my life, and I bought a book at a garage sale for a nickel. 

So she started making Victorian style Santas to take to craft shows.. where her life would change drastically. 

Baldwin:"An incredible thing happened. A scout from Better Homes and Gardens happened to come to that show looking for new talent. They said I was the only one in the country doing this, bringing back this lost art form.  So they referred me to the Smithsonian, the Museum of American Folk Art in New York city. It was amazing."
 
From there, Baldwin got a book deal with Better Homes and Gardens, and was featured in several magazines, on the national news, and her Belsnickles hit store shelves across the nation.

Then 26-years ago, she started holding open houses in Joplin, so that avid local collectors like Liz Watkins could come and buy original pieces. 

Liz Watkins, Belsnickle Collector:"I believe that I purchases my very first snickle in early 1990 because I also was a single mom and I just fell in love."

Everything was great, until she hit hard times last year.

Baldwin:"Within one twelve month period, I was broken into four times. And to make it even worse, I lost a storage building in the tornado, so I had already really lost a lot of my inventory."

Because of that, Baldwin has decided this year's open house will be the last.. as she focuses more on selling her pieces online.

Watkins:"It is a lot of fun..since I've known her I've been involved with it, and I will miss it, but I'm looking forward to the future."

Baldwin:"It's hard, but I want to end it when everything is still great and good.. but it's going to continue, just a new chapter, but it's gonna be just as special."

Baldwin's final open house is Sunday (12/2) at the Joplin Museum Complex from one to four pm, and is free to the public. 
 

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