A Unique Primitive Art with a whisper to the past~

These truly ARE the voices in my head.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ode to My Micron Pen~

As my deadline has come to an end, I wanted to share with you the joy, found along the path.To sit and draw more complete drawings and to make a study from them has been long awaited for me. To be able to go beyond thumbnails and gesture drawings that make the journey to pattern world has brought me such happiness. I was able to research and study to bring everything to life.

Years ago as I graduated High School, I was given a Rapidograph Pen to take with me to Art School. Needless to say, it was not my best friend! Beyond it's permanence of mark, I disliked the ink clogs and cleaning. Technology has now given way to a non refillable pen and once you take the time to dance with it, a beautiful partner awaits. This dance takes much practice. My partner's steps hold permanence in his wake; one wrong move, or distraction can ruin the dance. I was aware every step of the way that perfect sync was needed, and I loved the challenge.

Monsieur Micron .005 has been a debonair partner these past few days. He has brought out some of the best in me. A difficult teacher at times. He has also brought out the best of my gift and I am glad to be able to share it with you. The notepads will be available in the fall and I will pass along the information as I can. For now though, I shall be taking a little rest from my art as my daughter has scoliosis surgery this coming week. I am packed and ready to spend the hours waiting through surgery with my other favorite dancing partner, Monsieur Mirado Pencil HB.

I am enclosing a favorite woodblock print to share some of my inspirations. The image is copyright free and a interesting study of Early American Folk Art. A few months ago at the Heritage Show, I had an opportunity to learn needle punch from Mary Jo Wylie. Mary Jo's work was featured in Early American Life Magazine, in their Artist issue. I hope that she gets a chance to see this.I'd like her to see that she continues to inspire me also. I have been studying to bring to life designs resulting in the study of that time period. Thank you Mary Jo for showing me another path along my journey, I'm very excited about it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A peek of sorts~~~

I'm presently entering the world of licensing. There are many pros and cons as with anything and I looked at how it worked and those that do it. I took their feedback with me as I made my decision. I have much to learn in this area and given time I know I will have ups and downs. It gives many people a chance to own one of my designs. I hope that it speaks to their heart. It is a humbling thought to think that my work can touch so many~ perhaps with a smile or a memory.

I am presently designing notepads. It is an opportunity to put aside the world of dolls and patterns for a wee bit, and enjoy my first love, drawing. I can't share the work with you just yet. Very soon it will be sent back to the company They have a group that will pick and choose what they think best represents their company and what they think will sell the best. Generally, there are a few things that just don't cut it.

In the meantime, I thought I would put up a picture from a couple years back. It is painted tin. The notepads will be ink and watercolor, and the subject matter is a clue. I love the study of Puritan Graven Art from the 1700's and 1800's. I have always been fascinated with old grave yards. I just love the sight of an early cemetery with tilted stones and wrought iron fences. They are best on what I call a "Sleepy Hollow" day. A day of milky skies and skeletal trees that have lost their leaves til Spring. I love the epitaphs. So many stones of this time period tell the story of what happened. Some are funny, some are serious, some bring a tear; but all touch us some two to three hundred years later. It makes me wonder if perhaps my work could stand the test of time?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

~Happy St. Patricks Day~

"Men are like bagpipes - no sound comes from them until they are full." Happy St. Paddy's Day, Irish or not! It was indeed a memorable one here in Upstate New York. We celebrated the day with about a foot of new snow to dig out from. It seemed that we would not have any real snow this year until the Valentines Day Blizzard. Now most of us do wish for snow on a holiday, but by the time we get to these two, we are hoping more for Spring! After the digging out, Tim put together a wonderful Irish meal with his special corned beef and a loaf of soda bread that he made using his Grandmother's recipe. Of course no St. Paddy's day would be complete without green beer. Not being a beer drinker myself~ my ginger ale was green instead.

The doll pictured is Tim's Grandmother, Maggie Byrne. She came from Ireland by ship with her husband Andy to make a new life in America. This doll is my tribute to her as well as to her family. The family has received me with open arms.. and good Irish humor ~ I am blessed to call them dear to me.

The week started out so warm and Spring like~ and then ended with a snowstorm. It was not too good for those making syrup, but hopefully this was but a wee setback. I'm anxious for the syrup jug to be full again. My cousins Mike and Laurie have been making syrup for twenty years now and they have about 2500 taps that keep their family busy. My girls love to stop in and see them at the sugar house and then in the summer at the local fair. A small piece of maple candy is such a treat every year and brings back with it memories of childhood winters spent here.
The days are getting longer, the Robins starting to appear. If you listen carefully, you can hear a Red Winged Blackbird calling for a mate. The new snow melt in the days ahead and the days will be greener. The St. Paddy's Day celebration draws to a close but gives encouragement that Spring and all of it's wonders awaits us.
“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Evolution of a Crow

Every journey begins with a first step. I tried to find what was Folk Art, what was Primitive? It all seemed so open to interpretation.
The first step... what is Folk art to me? To me there were some classic symbols such as heart in hand, pineapples and ahhh... the crow! Next dilemma, was sewing. Was there life after a "D" in Home Ec? I looked to Netty for some kind of answer. You have to love the Old Vermonter Spirit! Her answer was simple, " you draw it out on muslin and sew it. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't." I was doomed! My next question... what kind of stuffing? "If it falls on the floor, it's stuffing." As you can see, my work evolved and with only a wee bit of direction, but lots of encouragement, I was on my way.
It took months for all the concepts to come together, especially the wire legs. I was and still am very timid in trying some things, but I'm finding my instincts are generally right on target. As you can see, the crow originally had little button like stabilizers as I was afraid to poke the wire up through the back and glue it down. I felt it would be too bulky and you would feel the wire. Thank goodness for that brave friend that tells you.. "what is the worst that can happen"? A visit with my little crow to another friend and a professional crafter resulted in success.

Friday, March 9, 2007

It Feels Like Home

So many of my friends and family have asked how I found the primitive dolls. The answer is that they found me. I was working in the Craft Dept. of a discount store in town. I had worked there for years, nearly 20 by the time they closed their doors in 2002. On occasion, this tiny and whimsical little woman would walk into the department; looking for paints most generally. She was a lot of fun and I always enjoyed seeing her. We would talk of different things such as chalkware. One day she had noticed some drawings and paintings that I had on display for the holiday season. She asked if I could do some drawing for her. She was an artist, but didn't draw and needed some of her work drawn up. I said sure and we exchanged numbers.
Pulling up to her house brought the biggest smile to me. I had often passed by her home just a few years earlier on my way back and forth to work. I had always wanted to stop, but never quite did. Her home was built in 1812, a wonderful old Colonial home. She has lived there for sometime, on her own and yes repairs and paint were needed, but the house had a voice beyond that. There is a charm and a homey feeling that rules. I walked in through the door and I felt like I had just come home. The house inside was warm and cozy, yes very primitive with wooden tables and chairs that had stories to tell under ancient layers of chipped paint. In a back room, a wood stove heated us and cooked our lunch. She brought out dolls, pin keeps and little treasures such as old scissors and spools of thread... could I draw them? YES!!! I was in love with the dolls, so ancient looking, and yet the humor of a mouth that went straight across! I joked with her that I often looked that way upon waking up! I left that day with a whole new world spinning inside my head...I wanted to make these things as well as draw them. They spoke to my heart as no other media had. I had come home......

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Just What is a "Good Wife"?

Good question!!! It is a term that was popular in Puritan England and New England. It was used formerly as a courtesy title before the surname of a married woman, not of noble birth. "Goody" was short for Goodwife and used like Mrs. is today. Does it fit me? Somedays I think so (especially the part; "not of noble birth")...although if anyone would call me Mrs. Mead, I always politely tell them"that would be my Mother in Law". I am far from Puritan, but there is something to be said for learning old ways that have been bypassed by time and technology. To grasp them, hold them close and not forget our past and heritage. Most importantly... pass it on.

When I first started my path of Primitive Folk Art, I was married with two young children. I had my little house on the hill that over looked the mountains of Vermont. In the spring, a little brook would babble along in the back yard and lull me to sleep nights. Both of my parents needed me close by and I was a quick 10 miles away. Life changes and so must we... in having those things, I had pushed aside my art. I knew that in order to live here that the chances of me being able to make a living at my art would be slim to none. I abandoned my dream of getting my Masters in Drawing several years earlier. I did a few area craft shows to feed my need to create. I married and started a family. As they entered school, I taught painting a couple evenings a week. I enjoyed it...but I wanted more. Most importantly, I wanted to know where I fit best as an artist. I had never quite figured that out. I could draw, paint and sculpt and had done it professionally, but I didn't care for Gallerys. I searched for the answer inside me, it was a quest to find my art, to find the spirituality that was me. To not be molded and shaped from what friends and family thought I should do and be... but for the first time, just simply find and be me.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Photoshoot at Netty's

Hello and welcome to my blog. Pull up a chair and get cozy next to the fire. I hope that you feel right at home. This is a picture of my friend and mentor's hearth. I was doing a photoshoot for her for a magazine article~Merchantile Gatherings~ perhaps you have heard of it? Netty is the other half of "The Good Wives of Washington County". I will share more of my Journey into the world of Extreme Primitive Folk art, but for now, this is simply the beginning.