Unexpected journey brings father, son woodworking duo to Carmel Christkindlmarkt 


Some things are just meant to be.

That’s how Maria Murphy, CEO and market master of the Carmel Christkindlmarkt, felt when she approached the workshop of a German woodworker for the first time in July and heard Christmas music pouring out of the building as he worked. 

CIC COM 1220 CKM Woodworkers
Carmel Christkindlmarkt CEO and Market Master Maria Murphy pauses with woodworker Hans-Joachim Seitfudem in his workshop in Germany shortly after they met. (Photo courtesy of Maria Murphy)

“It was a very unique moment, very special,” she said. 

Murphy had recently learned about woodworker Hans-Joachim Seitfudem while enjoying breakfast at an Airbnb near Oberammergau, Germany. The tiny town is known for a passion play it has produced every 10 years since the 1630s, which, according to legend, started in response to God answering their prayers to halt the Black Plague in their village. Murphy had always wanted to see the nearly daylong production, which draws enough visitors and economic activity to support the town for years, she said, and the timing worked out during a summer trip to Germany to scout vendors and artists for the Christkindlmarkt. 

During breakfast one morning, a waiter pointed out Seitfudem’s wooden statues decorating the room and gave her walking directions to the artist’s workshop. After a 15-minute journey on foot, Murphy found Seitfudem and was immediately impressed with his work, which included life-size carvings of Jesus on the cross. She also met Joachim Seitfudem, the woodcarver’s son, who is also a well-known artist in the Oberammergau area. 

Both men will visit the Carmel Christkindlmarkt to work on their craft in the Werkstatt, or workshop, a hut making its debut this year. Joachim Seitfudem will be in the Werkstatt from 4-9 p.m. Dec. 15; 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 24. He and his father will carve in the Werkstatt from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30. 

The father and son, who are known for creating hand-carved nativity scenes and wooden figurative sculptures, will demonstrate their craft for guests in the Werkstatt. 

Learn more at CarmelChristkindlmarkt.com.