How the Grinch ‘made’ Christmas

For Paige Beard DeFreece it wasn’t “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” but how the Grinch “made” Christmas that set her eye-popping sculpture in motion.

“I just love the Grinch,” the artist explained during the holiday season at her Fox Run home. “The Grinch makes me happy. We watch that movie every year, and we always laugh and laugh, it is just so funny.”

While the Grinch might seem to be an unusual choice for Christmas décor, DeFreece is undeterred.

“He came around in the end,” she said. “Sometimes, if people will just take a minute, they usually turn nice in the end.”

She put that fondness to work, lovingly and painstakingly hand-making a life-sized paper-måché sculpture of the mean green Dr. Seuss character, which fronted her home during the Christmas season.

He was joined by his “faithful dog Max” pulling the Grinch on a large-scale sleigh, complete with bags of pilfered toys and a Christmas tree, which lit up after dark.

She works in her home to create a variety of oversized and unique projects through her business, Off the Paige Art and Design, and also teaches art and pottery classes. DeFreece also has a non-profit organization, Dandelion Wishes, that offers comfort, such as quilts and décor, for individuals “going through a rough time.”

DeFreece said she had thought about making the oversized Grinch and Max sculptures for five years, and finally decided to make it in 2017.

She threw herself into the project, which she freely admits is her typical creative style, and said it took about two weeks to make both the Grinch and Max.

DeFreece said she used her bedroom, bathroom and other spaces during the creative process.

PVC pipe provided structure for the main sections of both pieces, and she also used sturdy wiring to fashion the Grinch’s claw-like hands.

Paper-måché was next, which she covered with plaster gauze then painted each piece.

Once outside, the sculpture “held up surprisingly well, considering the weather,” she said.

DeFreece also hand-made the sleigh according to Mike, her husband. “She cut all the wood — she likes to do all of her own projects,” he said. “All I did was carry it.”

Her family also includes daughter, Meagan, and sons, Steven and Parker.

Meagan was caught a little off guard during the Grinch construction, however.

“[She] came in my room one day, and his feet were sticking out from underneath the bed,” Paige said with a laugh. “She was pretty startled,” and admitted she was startled herself a few times before the sculptures left the house.

She is not sure what the future holds for the Grinch now that the holidays are over. She said storage space is at a minimum, but she might bring him out next year, and may add some of the Whos from Whoville to the scene.