Tarvin Community Centre
Street Farm, Kelsall Road, Tarvin, CH3 8NR
Edna Rose Room Community Centre
Tarvin Community Centre
By Margaret Dixon - 16th November 2016 6:00am
Ed: "Following the recent articles about the mystery of the waxwork cross made in Tarvin, which was bought in Canada by Christine Lim, local resident Margaret Dixon had arranged to meet Gisela and Ted Kenyon, who's business manufactured and sold this of range wax crafts in Tarvin!
Gisela set up her shop in 1980 in what is now Imagination. She had her workshop there and a shop displaying and selling these attractive items. Many people in the village bought the works for themselves and for gifts. She had a good passing trade before the bye pass opened and she also held workshops for young people and explained har craft. "My daughter visited such a workshop with the Guides one Christmas and made a decoration for the tree which we used for many years!"
The arrival of the new road was a great advantage to the village but not to shops who relied on passing trade so Gisela moved to the candle shop in Burwardsley . A couple of years later she moved into Bridge Street row, in Chester and then later moved to a Christmas shop in Eastgate Street.
This shop didn't have room for a workshop so a unit at Chester Enterprise Centre was acquired. The Business then expanded into a larger unit after being approached by a U.S. Company who wanted to sell the work in the States. This is probably the company who imported the cross bought in Canada. This company even wanted the Kenyons to set up in the States.
When the company folded Gisela was still exporting to many countries and much work went to Japan and they even know of examples in Borneo! They held an exhibition in Chartres Cathedral in France and most U.K. Cathedrals have examples of the craft.
Locally, Tarvin Church has a large Nativity scene and Bunbury Church has a candlepiece with the Last Supper depicted in wax.
For the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Gisela produced a large Madonna made from a 14th Century mould which they took personally to Buckingham Palace. This work has been on display along with the wedding dress in many places, including Germany from where the craft originated.
It was mainly in Bavaria and the southern areas of the country that it was known and the moulds that Gisela used were all designs from Germany. Many were copies of old carved masterpieces which were free of copyright and others were from food moulds for butter or marzipan.
The final venue for craft making was back in Tarvin in a large garden shed! As Gisela's sight began to cause problems she felt that she wasn't able to produce the high standard of finish to the work so they sold the business to a company in Staffordshire.
Sadly, this art does not seem to be practiced any more by anyone, even though the Kenyons receive calls from people asking where the work can be obtained!
It is fascinating that a picture from Canada has set us along the path of remembering part of Tarvin in the 1980's and being able, thanks to Gisela and Ted, to pass on a little history of our village.
The picture shows the U.K. label used on the back of all the work produced and (below) a work which I still display, probably made using a marzipan mould.