Folk Art is a funny thing. Everyone thinks about it a little different. Try it: Think “folk art.” What do you see? Now go up to someone else. Random co-worker, man on the bus, heck, call up your best friend. “Hello. I’m thinking about folk art. When you think of folk art, what do you see?” Something totally different. I guarantee. Amish furniture, Appalachian quilts, teddy bears and American flags… ask the right person and you’ll probably even get “brand of paint” as an answer (because there is… and it’s primary purpose is for use making folk art).
Right now I have two shows on my hands that deal with Folk Art, and true to form they are each handling it in distinctly different ways.
The Snow Maiden is living with the pre-Christian/pagan inspired handicrafts for the home in the Russian tradition. It’s about knit mittens and floral embroidery. Mostly it’s about art that brings light and warmth to cold, stark winter. The director is inspired by handicraft flowers made by a people for whom the real flowers are not blooming. I was inspired by this crafty idea from blogger Pink Paper Peppermints:
Meanwhile, Three Blessed Brothers aesthetic is more Americana/Native American earth-centric decorative art, like carved wooden animals, feathers, leather strapping. It’s about the creations of a local artisan, and the idea that someone has done this for fun, or out of boredom, and yet it’s beautiful and functional and part of life. These inspirations are a little more in here:
And then, just for the masochist in me, I ran across this project from JP Knit and Stitch. Of course I ran right down to the store (Local business! Shout out!) and bought the most beautiful, soft, baby red yarn and I’m making my very own folk art heart garland. Mmmm… folk art. All the time, all the place.