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Treasuring Folk Art

Updated on July 11, 2013

An Appreciation for the Simple Things

Folk art, as described by Wikipedia, is "characterized by a naive style, in which traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not employed."

Just about any object can be folk art: paintings on wood boards, sculptures made from tin cans or other metal pieces, wooden carvings, quilts, painting or carving on gourds, you name it. Folk art has its humble beginnings as something that was made with a utilitarian and decorative frame of mind. This style of art was rarely made as simply "art."

Other names for folk art include outsider art, tramp art, naïve art, self-taught art, tribal art, primitive art, pop art/popular art, traditional art, and working-class art/blue-collar art.

The bottlecap lady shown here is made of wood, some plastic bowls, wire, and bottle caps.

Source: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Folk Art I Own

I'm lucky enough to own the pieces shown here.

I really love simple designs and

think most things are better handmade.

Crazy Quilt - A True Work of Art

A small section of an antique crazy quilt.
A small section of an antique crazy quilt.

I found this crazy quilt in a thrift store years ago. This is just the quilt top so it isn't finished and I doubt if I ever attempt adding a back to it. This work of art is so beautiful with all the lovely bold jewel-tone fabrics and intricate embroidery stitching.

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Handmade stuffed animals.
Handmade stuffed animals.

Simple Stuffed Animals

Made By My Mom

My mom made the two stuffed animals shown here. Mom made me the blue zebra one year as as a Christmas gift. He started life as a printed pattern, meaning she cut out his legs, body, and head pieces and sewed them up. So maybe he's not technically folk art in the traditional sense, but he's handmade and "rustic" and I love him!

Mom made the frog from some new (at the time) fabric, which is now vintage, and filled him with dry beans. The loose nature of a bean bag animal, as you may know, gives him great floppiness!

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Vintage Style Fabric - For Your Own Folk Art Crafts

Use vintage fabric if you can find it and make some wonderful crafts and sewing projects like quilts. If you can't find vintage fabric or it's too fragile to use, here are some great choices to substitute.

Antique quilt handed down in my family.
Antique quilt handed down in my family.

Antique Folk Art

Everyday Items Now Considered Art

Before mass-produced items and plastic junk were everywhere, many people had to make their own games and household decorations. Some items that were made by regular everyday people include carved wooden figures, board games, quilts, signs and paintings, weather vanes, and many other useful items that we now value as antiques.

Many of these items are collected for their beauty, whether they are rustic or whimsical or simply charming in their simplicity.

People made toys for children (see the stuffed animals shown above), sewed quilts to stay warm, or painted a picture on scrap wood to decorate their wall.

This quilt was made by my uncle's mother at least 100 years ago. I am thrilled to have this wonderful work of art.

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Handmade clothespin doll made by my grandmother.
Handmade clothespin doll made by my grandmother.

Clothespin Doll

Made By My Grandmother

This photo shows my prized possession. My maternal grandmother made this clothespin doll probably close to 100 years ago. I'm not sure how old it is but I just love it!

The simple peg-style clothespin was transformed into this charming little girl. She wears gauze bloomers, a silky slip, and a lovely sheer dress. Her little face was made of old hosiery and there's a run in it now. And her poor hair is falling out but she's so sweet.

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Folk Art -- An Artform to Admire

Contemporary Folk Art - Painting on a Door

Painting on a door.
Painting on a door.

This modern or contemporary folk art painting is part of the Funchal Art on Doors Project. This whimsical style shows the freedom that this art form allows.

Photo Credit: Flickr: Madeira 2012

Meditation By the Sea, Folk Art Painting from Early 1860s, Artist Unknown

Meditation By the Sea, Folk Art Painting from Early 1860s, Artist Unknown
Meditation By the Sea, Folk Art Painting from Early 1860s, Artist Unknown

Naive Art by Dtom -- Tree Stump Carving

Naive Art by Dtom -- Tree Stump Carving
Naive Art by Dtom -- Tree Stump Carving

Folk Art - Read Up on Folk Art Through the Ages

Do You Treasure Folk Art? - Or Is More Traditional Art Your Style?

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    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Folk art is the best! I'd love to take up quilting.

    • DreyaB profile image

      DreyaB 4 years ago from France

      This is all really nice, but for some reason a love that door! Anything unique, new or old, wins my vote. Enjoyed your lens. :)

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      I love folk art. The more unique the better.

    • LeslieMirror profile image

      LeslieMirror 4 years ago

      I love every piece of art, as they belong to things which make the world around us beauifyl! =)

    • profile image

      mina009 4 years ago

      Very interesting lens.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
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      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Scott A McCray: Thanks!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
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      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @TheWritingnag: What a great way of phrasing folk art, the art of the people.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
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      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Rhonda Lytle: Thank you. I like both too.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
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      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Meganhere: It is so pretty!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
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      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @gottaloveit2: Thanks, Lori!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
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      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @wiseriverman: Thank you. It is a treasure.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
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      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @LiteraryMind: She's a special doll. That's neat you made some!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
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      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @LynetteBell: Isn't it gorgeous!?

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This brought back memories of making clothes pin dolls as a child. They weren't as fancy as your grandmother's, but they were fun to make. Very nostalgic lens.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
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      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @slpsharon: Thanks!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
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      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Northerntrials: I would like the found objects better, too. Sounds like your mom was very talented! I've painted on some rusty metal I've found. Guess I have a few more photos to upload!

    • Northerntrials profile image

      Northerntrials 4 years ago

      My mom used to paint folk art on "found" objects and then my dad started making wooden cutouts for her to paint. They started looking more commercial though they were still clearly folk art. I liked her "found " objects better. An old battered metal lunchbox, A rusted old mail-box with a new re-purposed flag and even the wooden box that whiskey was shipped in. (That is my collection box)...

    • slpsharon profile image

      slpsharon 4 years ago

      You have some lovely pieces.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      I love the crazy quilt!

    • wiseriverman profile image

      wiseriverman 4 years ago

      The clothespin doll that your grand mother made has the sweetest face. What a treasure!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      Hey! You're on rotation on the front page. Congrats.

    • Meganhere profile image

      Meganhere 4 years ago

      Love the crazy quilt.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      I love both, but handmade steals my heart. Your blanket and clothespin doll are treasures!

    • TheWritingnag profile image

      Writing Nag 4 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      I'm a big fan of folk art, thanks for your great lens focusing on the art of the people!

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 4 years ago

      I do enjoy folk art (primitive art) - excellent lens!