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Examples of Folk Art In Photos

Updated on January 24, 2012

What Is Folk Art?

I ran across this question recently and set out to answer it. I have to say that the more I looked, the more conflicting information I ran across. In this article,my aim is to set forth several photos* that I believe to be examples of folk art. I will accompany each with a brief notation. Please be advised that this article is likely to change and grow as I learn more!

What I hope to show here are examples of folk art that embody the qualities most associated with it. That is, items made by the people of a specific area and society using techniquesand materials that are typical to that area. The items will not necessarily be art. They may be beautiful every day items. And, most importantly, the artists might not necessarily be artists. They may just be folks who wanted to make something both useful and beautiful.

But this is not always the case. Sometimes, folk art is just art...as you will see!

I hope you will comment, make suggestions, and recommendations! I intend to keep adding to this article as my understanding of the subject grows.

(*PHOTO CREDITS may be found below the COMMENTS section.)

Is Folk Art Always Old?

No! Folk Art is being created every day! It is made by folks in every culture! This is a modern folk art painting on ceramic from the US Southwest.
No! Folk Art is being created every day! It is made by folks in every culture! This is a modern folk art painting on ceramic from the US Southwest.

Is Folk Art Always Art?

Not necessarily.  This palm frond bowl from Hawaii is both practical and useful.  Made by a native Hawaiian, from local materials, using traditional techniques, it is folk art.
Not necessarily. This palm frond bowl from Hawaii is both practical and useful. Made by a native Hawaiian, from local materials, using traditional techniques, it is folk art.

Do Folk Artists Go To Art School?

Probably not!  Folk artists usually learn their craft from a relative or a skilled crafts person within their community.  This Peruvian folk artist creates practical, beautiful, wearable works of art (like the one on his head!)
Probably not! Folk artists usually learn their craft from a relative or a skilled crafts person within their community. This Peruvian folk artist creates practical, beautiful, wearable works of art (like the one on his head!)

So...Is All Folk Art Practical?

No! Sometimes it is just beautiful like this Ecuadorian painting depicting a village. This painting was created by a local, using traditional techniques.  It reflects daily life, and it is folk art.
No! Sometimes it is just beautiful like this Ecuadorian painting depicting a village. This painting was created by a local, using traditional techniques. It reflects daily life, and it is folk art.

Do I Have Folk Art in My House?

Probably!  This quilt is very like some I grew up with.  They were created by local artists, my grandmother and great grandmother, using local materials (scraps) and a technique consistent with that of local artists - quilting.
Probably! This quilt is very like some I grew up with. They were created by local artists, my grandmother and great grandmother, using local materials (scraps) and a technique consistent with that of local artists - quilting.

Is Folk Art Strictly a Visual Art?

No! Music and local musical instruments can be considered folk art.
No! Music and local musical instruments can be considered folk art.

Must Folk Art Follow A Specific Style?

No.  It must just be representative of the culture in which it was created.
No. It must just be representative of the culture in which it was created.

Is There A Limit Of The Types Of Media That Are Acceptable?

No!  Practical, beautiful, crafted by local artisans in a style consistent with and representative of the culture, these hand painted Mexican toilets are folk art!
No! Practical, beautiful, crafted by local artisans in a style consistent with and representative of the culture, these hand painted Mexican toilets are folk art!

Is Folk Art Just Crafts, Painting, and Sewing?

No!  Many practical items like this weather vane and other decorative hardware are considered folk art.
No! Many practical items like this weather vane and other decorative hardware are considered folk art.

Can New And Old Be Combined?

Yes!  This metal craft mobile made of old salvaged bits of iron does just that.
Yes! This metal craft mobile made of old salvaged bits of iron does just that.

Can I Make Folk Art?

Yes!  It is just important to remember that if you want to be authentic, you should choose a medium that is typical to your locale.  Study it carefully.  Then render your work in a way that reflects the traditions and thoughts of your cultural group.
Yes! It is just important to remember that if you want to be authentic, you should choose a medium that is typical to your locale. Study it carefully. Then render your work in a way that reflects the traditions and thoughts of your cultural group.

Folk Art Properly Rendered Can Become History

Mrs. Bill Stagg with state quilt, Pie Town, New Mexico (LOC) Photographer: Library of Congress Licensing Agreement: Public Domain
Mrs. Bill Stagg with state quilt, Pie Town, New Mexico (LOC) Photographer: Library of Congress Licensing Agreement: Public Domain

Photo Credits

All photos are from everystockphoto.com

Black Angel Photographer: ugaldew: everystockphoto.com Stock Exchange Image License Agreement: http://www.sxc.hu/info.phtml?f=help&s=8_2

PALM LEAF BOWL Photographer: wayfaring stranger: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

KNITTING Photographer: quinet: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

EQUADORIAN FOLK Photographer: quil: everystockphoto.com Stock Exchange Image License Agreement: http://www.sxc.hu/info.phtml?f=help&s=8_2 

MULTICOLOR STAR BLOCK Photographer: onebyjude: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

PAN FLUTE Photographer: surely: everystockphoto.com Stock Exchange Image License Agreement: http://www.sxc.hu/info.phtml?f=help&s=8_2 

QUILTS Photographer:Paul Jerry: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ 

HANDPAINTED CERAMIC TOILETS Photographer: Cameron Nordholm: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ 

DUCKS IN A ROW Photographer: Bob McInnes: everstockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ 

Iron Horn Fabricated by Ernie Ahrens, at the Community Folk Art Center Exhibition "The Whipping Post" (Syracuse, NY) Photographer: takomabibelot: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ 

CROCHETED AFGHAN Photographer: *waterlily* : EVERYSTOCKPHOTO.COM Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ 

Mrs. Bill Stagg with state quilt, Pie Town, New Mexico (LOC) Photographer: Library of Congress Licensing Agreement: Public Domain    

Comments

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  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

    I'm glad you liked it. Thank you for viewing and commenting! :)

  • Indian Chef profile image

    Indian Chef 4 years ago from New Delhi India

    Wow so beautiful.. really loved watching the pictures. Voted up and awesome.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

    You have nicely shown that folk art can be in all mediums. Even some furniture can be considered folk art. Well done! Up and interesting votes.

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

    Many thanks! :)

  • mvillecat profile image

    Catherine Dean 5 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

    My husband and I collect southern folk art. Mostly pottery but some paintings as well. I am also a quilter and collect quilts. I voted up.

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

    Thanks, Carl! :)

  • carlarmes profile image

    carlarmes 5 years ago from Bournemouth, England

    really enjoyed your hub, lovely pictures and useful content, I like folk art and visiting folk festivals in Dorset.

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

    Thanks Claudia! I know! They are really fancy! ;D I like the fact that folk art consists of practical items made beautiful and decorative! Thanks for your comment! :)

  • Claudia Tello profile image

    Claudia Tello 5 years ago from Mexico

    I fell in love with those Mexican toilets!!!!!! As weird as it may sound, I live in Mexico and had never seen them, they are brilliant!

    Thanks for the link! :)

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

    I'm glad you like it! Thank you! :)

  • mabmiles profile image

    mabmiles 6 years ago

    Great hub.Wonderful folk arts!

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

    Thanks! :)

  • profile image

    lualhati 6 years ago

    hi im so imper for the art

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

    Thanks! :)

  • toknowinfo profile image

    toknowinfo 6 years ago

    Great topic! Scintillating to the eyes and stimulating to the brain. Thanks for putting such a great hub together. Rated up and beautiful and awesome.

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

    My pleasure! I'm glad you liked the article! :)

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    Alice combes 7 years ago

    Great article! I'm learning folk art but it is so hard to find annoying about it cos it seems people just - do it. Luckily I think it comes naturally to me, at least I hope so, but I'm working my way to developing my work into art!

    Thank you so much!

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 8 years ago from Texas

    Thank you! Yes, folk art does change from generation to generation! :)

  • profile image

    Sammin 8 years ago

    There are many folk around us. I could even make some of them by myself. I think the folk art could be create generation by generation. There are always some difference between new generation and the old one. Thanks for sharing the pictures. It's very beautiful.

  • profile image

    Sammin 8 years ago

    That's good.

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 8 years ago from Texas

    Thanks!

  • profile image

    NINI 8 years ago

    Dam Beautiful

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 9 years ago from Texas

    Thanks! :)

  • worddsplaytoday profile image

    worddsplaytoday 9 years ago from NC

    loved your photos

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 9 years ago from Texas

    Thank you! :)

  • Debby Bruck profile image

    Debby Bruck 9 years ago

    Neat hub. Folk art is all around us. My mom and I were browsing around and had to look closely at your Brightly colored LOGO. We love it. Be well and good luck with your online sales.