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‘Star Wars’ arrives at Colonial Williamsburg in time for the holidays

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Posted at 3:37 PM, Dec 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-14 16:14:37-05

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – This year, signs of life beyond Earth can be spotted in the colonial capital of Virginia, in anticipation of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Every year during the holidays, the Colonial Williamsburg staff decorate the historic area with ornate, handmade holiday wreaths which they handcraft.  A number of the buildings in the area are leased as private residences, but tenants must still use 18th-century supplies when they decorate for the holidays.

George Pitt house. Photo by Fred Blystone and Cindy McEnery.

Katherine Ainslie, whose family resides on Duke of Gloucester Street, said that her kids came up with the idea for Star Wars-themed wreaths (last year it was Harry Potter).

Residents in the colonial area are given a list of approved materials for the wreaths, so they maintain a colonial aspect.

Ainslie said her son’s request was that “one wreath have lightsabers.”

Photo by Fred Blystone and Cindy McEnery

Photo by Fred Blystone and Cindy McEnery

The challenge would be crafting one for the colonial apital.

That’s where it helps to know a tinsmith. Apprentice Tinsmith Jennifer LynnJennifer Lynn now holds title as the only 18th-century lightsabermith, in this galaxy at least.

The “lightsaber handles” are holding taper candles.

Photo by Fred Blystone and Cindy McEnery.

Photo by Fred Blystone and Cindy McEnery.

Then Journeyman Cooper Ramona Hill loaned her penmanship to scratch out, with quill and ink, a title sequence that is placed within a wreath that has the number of Star Wars films symbolized with the use of Osage oranges.

Photo by Fred Blystone and Cindy McEnery.

Photo by Fred Blystone and Cindy McEnery.

A leathermaker engineered a colonial replica of Chewbacca’s bandolier.

There is a wreath using wire and silk ribbon to represent Princess Leia’s signature hair-do.

Photo by Fred Blystone and Cindy McEnery.

Photo by Fred Blystone and Cindy McEnery.

Another uses plant materials to take Yoda’s shape.

Ainslie wrote that the process took around 20 hours total.

Photo by Fred Blystone and Cindy McEnery.

Photo by Fred Blystone and Cindy McEnery.

“Personally, I think my wreaths are 90% held together by The Force and the other 10% wire,” she wrote. “There’s also the 20 hours of my life I will never get back. Still, in the end, it all comes together and the Historic Area is transformed into a stunning display and collection of all of our hard work.”