IFAM: Living with Folk Art

There are many reasons why we buy folk art but there are those universal threads among folk art collectors that begin to take shape when thinking about what it means to live with folk art. Living with Folk Art is a series of personal essays on what compels us to share our lives with handmade art and the communities from around the world that enrich our lives. 

Family Tradition, Colvin English

  In the early 1970s, my parents moved us to the outskirts of Fredericksburg, Virginia, on the Fall Line between the Piedmont and Tidewater regions, an area with a rich farming tradition dating back to the founding of our nation. Having grown up in rural communities in the deep South, they wanted my brother and…
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Living with Folk Art, Laurie Gilberg Vander Velde

    Our fascination with masks started in 1994 on a family trip to San Miguel de Allende during Semana Santa. My husband Michael and I fell in love with a mask of a hornblower with a feathered headdress and couldn’t wait to see more masks. At a local mask shop, I had to rein…
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Very Personal, Marcella Echavarria

I live by the mantra “everything is personal” so writing about living with folk art is simply a description of my own life´s journey.  Let’s start from the beginning, I was born in Colombia and grew up in a family that valued the handmade in all its forms: food was grown in the countryside farm,…
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Stories that Connect, Mary Littrell

  When asked about favorite folk art, people love to tell stories. I first began hearing these stories 35 years ago when my family lived in Malaysia for a year. The Director General of Kraftangan Malaysia, a government ministry focused on tourism and arts, invited me to join as a researcher for marketing initiatives. My…
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Presentation with Purpose, Paul Andrew

    There’s a bit of sacredness involved anytime I invite an object into my home, particularly a decorative element. It isn’t allegiance to a style or movement, or that I’m a ‘collector’ of particular things. I’m speaking of energy — the magnetism of an object generated by its beauty, function, and the story that…
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Folk Art: A Love Story, Stuart Ashman 

My earliest memories of appreciating the handmade came perhaps from a visit to the house of my neighbor and friend, Rigoberto Garcia Espinoza in the town of Matanzas, Cuba where I spent my childhood. Rigoberto lived in a house that his father had built along with his mother and ten siblings. The house was made…
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Ottoman Continuum, Peter Speliopoulos

    Being of Greek descent, I always had a taste for the exotic, and a passion for ancient cultures and antiquities. Grandmothers created handmade lace, and embroidered, and crocheted, in traditions they brought over from the “old “ country, having left the Peloponnesus around 1915. This early exposure to Folk art, and the memory…
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A Folk Art Journey, Peggy Gaustad

  Over 40 years ago, I set off for a two year MFA program in ceramics in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  I had never been to Mexico and I didn’t speak Spanish. Those two years would be transformational and inform who I am today. I had begun working in clay in California in the…
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Animate Objects, Keith Recker

  I shacked up with a Minimalist architect 25 years ago. We’re still debating every aesthetic decision on a daily basis, and what we live with is an extended dialogue between our definitions of beauty. The shapes and hues and patterns and materials and meanings are words. Their adjacencies form phrases and sentences. Every room…
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