|Meet the Artist|
Juelie McLean is a native of Montana. She earned a bachelor's degree in vocal music from Montana State University. After teaching for a while, she became a portrait photographer and was the only woman photographer president in the 48 year history of the Montana Professional Photgrapher's Association.
Some of her many passions in life include scuba diving, motorcycle riding, all kinds of needlework, singing leads in major musicals, playing and repairing vintage pinball machines, and travel that has taken her from Central America to Central Asia. Retiring after 10 years as an elementary teacher she now keeps busy with her dolls and many other enterprises. Juelie and her husband of over 30 years reside in beautiful Bozeman, Montana. She has one grown son in Seattle, Washington, another grown son who lives near Juelie, along with her only grandson.
As a young girl, Juelie learned the art of sewing and needlework from her mother and two grandmothers. Of course she sewed clothes for her "Barbies". At the age of 19, she was commissioned to make her first dolls (Norwegian). During the past several years, she has put together an extensive collection of Native American dolls fashioned after museum pieces.
For More Information
|She designs and makes a line of Sioux dolls, that she has named "Kiyuwaste" dolls which have been sold at the Museum of the Rockies. Neiman Marcus has featured her line of "Olde World Santas" at Christmas time.|
Down the chimney
Downloading is in.
Just ask Bozeman resident Juelie McLean. Her site for the holidays is one of the most popular worldwide.
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring except for a mouse -- a computer mouse, that is.
Move over, Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Down the chimney is out. Downloading is in. Just ask Bozeman resident Juelie McLean. Her home page for the holidays is one of the most popular worldwide.
"One day I had 413 people just from Brazil," said McLean, known to Web surfers as the Santa Lady. "One of (the Brazilians) signed my guest book and I wrote her to see how she found me. And she said one of the leading newspapers in Brazil listed Christmas sites that were fun to see and mine was the top site."
Since starting her home site almost four years ago, McLean has been interviewed over the phone by the Voice of Israel in Jerusalem. Her historical tidbits on Santa Claus, posted on Web site: www.santalady.com, have been quoted in the Washington Post. The Santa Claus dolls she's becoming famous for making are about to appear in Design Digest published in New Delhi, India.
"I'm a Christmas freak," she said.
McLean's inertnet site began as a computer store-front where her dolls could be viewed. She'd crafted the dolls for about five years before going on the Internet. The site changed as she beame more immersed in Santa Claus and Christmas.
McLean now offers viewers free Christmas games, which challenge participants to identify Christmas carols by deciphering holiday clues. She displays some of her collection of vintage Santa postcards. She also provides links to her favorite Christmas sites:
* Seasons Greeting fram Santa Claus, at www.thunderhead.com/santa/, updates the countdown to Christmas by the second. Viewers can stop by and leave a message for Santa, who usually answers within a day. Santa's answers are true to form and well thought out. When children inquire about Santa's existence, he responds: "So you want to know if I am real or not? Well, I am as real as you want me to be. I am as real as Joy and Happiness. ... I live on forever in the hearts and minds of the poeople who choose to believe. And I am writing to you, so I must exist!"
Thunderhead.com also includes parodies of "The Night Before Christmas," which aren't risque, but are more for grownups than kids.
*Santa Search, at santasearch.com, offers viewers 87 songs and Iyrics, a Santa mailbox and a place to view letters to Santa. Those who log onto Santa Search are also asked to vote for their top five favorite Christmas songs. Currently,"Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" is the top song.
* The Countess Maria Hubert von Staufer of England offers her knowledge of international Christmas history at http://people.delphi.com/mariachristm/index.html. Her site includes Polish carols and customs, Hungarian Christmas and a recipe for poppy seed cake and a bedtime story written by the Countess Maria.
To start a Santa Claus search, go to the Santa Lady's site, select "SantaLady's Favorite Links" from the menu on the left hand side of the screen, then select "Santa Links" from the top of the next screen that appears. A menue of Christmas sites will appear, each one linked to hundreds of other sites.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Sunday, December 15, 1996
By Tracy Ellig
Enter the living room of Juelie McLean's house and you are greeted by an audience of beautiful, blank, unwavering stares.
The room is filled with dolls and figurines, some as big as a real child. They stand elegantly in glass display cases, perched on shelves and one takes center stage on a coffee table by a couch.
Many, many of them are Santas. In this living room, Christmas never completely departs.
McLean is a self-described "Christmas freak", but more importantly she is Santalady--the maker and seller of some of the most elaborate and meticulously crafted Santa dolls a person is likely to see.
After three weeks work, McLean has just finished her latest Santa doll. It stands 25 inches tall and has a presence, as if a third person were in the room.
This is no red and white clad jolly old elf knocking back a can of Coca-Cola. This Santa is clad in brilliant white and in the crook of his left arm sits an angel.
McLean is a maker of the multitude of different ethnic Santas that roamed Europe before Coca-Cola began a world-wide advertising campaign that monopolized the image from 1931 to the present day.
There were Russian Santas who wore blue and white and were called "Grandfather Frost". There was the Dutch Sinterklaas and the German Weihnachtsmann or Chirstmas man.
"What people love about my Santas is they are the true meaning of Christmas. They are the true gift givers before the image was tarnished by commercialism," she said.
Her most recent creation is made from a customer's silk wedding dress. The doll's long white robe is adorned with lace roses embroidered with tiny white beads and trimmed in real white fur.
McLean makes every part of the doll except for the porcelain hands and faces. She maked small hoop skirts and lace-lined bloomers to go under the gowns. Lift the robes up and you'll also find the doll's feet clad in small handmade leather, lace up boots trimmed in real fur.
Even the wooden stands the Santas rest on are made by McLean. Since most people will display the dolls on the floor, McLean wants them to be stable. She demonstrated this by whacking one of the incredibly elegant and fragil looking Santas in the face. It rocked back and forth, but didn't fall down--exactly as McLean had planned.
All this detail commends a high price. Neiman Marcus carries McLean's dolls and sells them for $1,100 to $1,450. In Bozeman, she sells them for $300 to $800. Her dolls can be found at the Last Wind-Up on Main Street.
Recently, McLean has taken her dolls into the Internet. In the basement of her home is the Santalady's high-tech workshop--a Macintosh Power PC where McLean has built her own World Wide Web site: santalady.com.
The web site has opened a new world for McLean, one that has her excited and a little addicted. She keeps continental maps and colors in countries she has gotten responses from. Europe is almost all colored in. Africa needs some work.
Who needs a sleigh and reindeer?
Return to Santalady's Main Page
MT Man Santa/Kiyuwaste Dolls
Santas From Your "Wedding" Gown
Meet the Artist
Brief History of Santa
Gift Givers of the World
Santalady's Antique Santa Postcards
Santalady's Victorian Christmas GIFS
Webdesign by Juelie
Vintage Santa Musical DVD
Santa Bulletin Board
Santa Collector's Bulletin Board
Santalady's Book Shoppe
Santalady's Favorite Links
Doll House Accessories
Juelie's State Flower Garden of GIFS