Jingle bells commonly are used on Christmas decorations or as Christmas ornaments. They can be hung around the neck as a necklace or strung onto a heavy wire and bent into a wreath shape, usually with a bow.
Eberhart has taken them to new levels. A leather/hardware salesman for several years, he started looking at his wares, considering ways he could use blemished leather straps. He came up with the idea of cutting around the blemishes and using them for Christmas decorations.
“I’ve been doing this about 30 years,” he said. “I worked with 20 different tanneries in the United States. Some of the pieces were blemished, but instead of throwing it away, I asked my wife (Sandy) to see if she could make use of the leather. She paints, and her hand-painted Christmas-designed leather pieces quickly became a hit with our customers.”
Soon after, he came up with the idea of cutting the leather into shapes, such as reindeer, bell shields, Christmas trees, even Santas. From there, he started doing fine-arts shows, starting with the Christmas in Zoar event and now at the Christkindl Markt.
“We do very well at these shows,” he said.
Why not? His bells are authentic, as is his leather. All are hand-painted.
“One of my first items is one I call a teardrop,” he said. He adds a ring around it, and it becomes a door hanger. He said his bell straps can be hung from trees and wreaths. The bells can be strung by ribbon and used as ornaments.
In his own arsenal of leather/bell Christmas decorations, he has more than 50 designs.