Folk Art

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Easter is one my favorite holidays with it’s promise of re-birth. I swooned when I saw this hen-on-a-basket on the step of an antique shop in Reykjavik – so sweet! It would make a perfect Easter table decoration filled with jelly beans.

My Easter dinner table is not complete without clusters of hand painted Rômanian Easter eggs as the centerpiece. I was fortunate to meet the artisan who made them in her home and to watch her decorate them with amazing skill. Click here to see how they are made along with my photos.

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Wouldn’t it be lovely to leisurely roll along seldom used country roads in a brightly embellished gypsy wagon? A deep crook in a meandering stream, shaded by ancient trees, would make a delightful spot to stop for the evening. I can imagine relaxing by a campfire, sipping coffee steeped in an old tin pot, and being serenaded by fiddle music and thousands of fireflies…

Mas-de-la-Beaume-gypsy-caravan-via-flickr-gipsy-bazarhttp-::blog.freepeople.com:category:vintage:

gypsy caravan

©Gipsy Caravan

gudrunsjoden

http-::www.flickr.com:photos:timothygerdes:4689323515

http-::www.flickr.com:photos:timothygerdes:4689323515:

www.flickr.com:photos:24341781@N02:4634466156:

www.taphilo.com:photo:pictures:index

http-::www.flickr.com:photos:josephheaven:5900521356:

http-::www.flickr.com:photos:emlettartscrafts:3237510852:in:photostream

Free People Blog

www.flickr.com:photos:ocalajohnsphotos:5574770998:

photos: Flickr

Click here to view more Folk Art inspiration

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I’m already dreaming about skiing and with any luck there will only be about 50 or so more days until I’ll be back on snow. In anticipation, I’m going to start to blogging again about winter inspirations right now! And I’m gonna begin with a Bang! with skis hand-made by Brianna Morse of Aspen, Colorado. They made my heart leap with joy and envy when I saw them!

Brianna'sSkis

Last year when Brianna was a senior at Aspen High School (she’s now a freshman at Middlebury College) she combined her appreciation of folk art, skills as a woodworker and her love for skiing into a one-of-a-kind pair of skis, as part of an experiential education program. How cool is that!?

Here she explains the process of making her skis:

“Each student had to make their skis from scratch. My skis are a mix of pine and maple and 165 centimeters. I cut the strips of wood, glued them together, and shaped the skis so that the tips would be thinner than the center. I cut strips of fiberglass to go on either side of the wood and P-tex (the stuff on the bottoms of all skis) in the shape of the ski, and then fit the metal edges around the P-tex. I chose a maple veneer for the top sheet, because I wanted the natural wood to show and to give the skis a more authentic feel.“

“Epoxy was used to glue the skis together and then they were put in an air press. After the skis were out of the press I had to cut them, shaping them like the P-tex bottoms, then sand them and give them a final coat of epoxy. I had to do all of these steps by myself.”

“Our teachers had the students design the graphics with computers, but I decided I wanted to try something new. I have a lot of folk art that my Danish grandmother gave me and I like the look of the simple elegance of the folk art style. Coming from the mountains, I decided I wanted to try to bring a real unique mountain feel to my skis. I wanted to make them like something that you would find in the border of a Jan Brett book.“

Tips

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“My grandmother’s sister married a German man and one of her daughters learned how to paint folk art. She happened to be visiting us over spring break and was more than happy to teach me the folk art painting technique called baurnmalerei, the peasant painting that originated in Bavaria. It was a little bit of a challenge mastering the strokes and the flowers, but once I decided on a pattern and got painting, it was extremely rewarding to see how my skis were going to turn out.”

“I decided to make telemark skis instead of alpine touring skis because I felt that telemark bindings would look better and more authentic with the paint. It may have been a rash decision as I had never telemarked before in my life and homemade skis may not have been the best way to learn, but I love an adventure.”

“I’m an International Baccalaureate Art student and I exhibited my skis in the IB Student Art show in Aspen and everyone loved them. It was funny though because there were be those who appreciated the painting, and then there were those who came over to flex the skis and inspect my craftsmanship. Either way though my skis got a thumbs up which was awesome!”

Tails

Photos: Pennie Rand

To see more Winter Inspirations click here

To become an interactive part of Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook click here.

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Design Inspiration – Rômanian Painted Eggs
It is believed that when Christ was crucified the holy virgin held a basket of eggs on her arm while she cried beneath the crucifix. Christ’s blood colored the eggs red and so began the tradition of coloring eggs at Easter.
In many regions of Rômania the peasant tradition of decorating, giving, and eating Easter eggs symbolizes the end of Lent’s long fast, that spring has arrived, and the resurrection of Christ.
I met Maria Timu, who lives in the Rômanian village of Ciocanesti less than 100 kilometers from the Ukrainian border. I was there working with Aid To Artisans at the time. She decorates hundreds of blown hen eggs each year that she sells during Easter. He eggs are intricately decorated with geometric and floral motifs.
Taught by a ninety-year-old woman shortly before she died, Maria carries on the Rômanian tradition of decorating eggs with layers of beeswax and dye. With a gold-toothed smile she invited me into her cozy kitchen/bedroom/dining room to demonstrate how she decorates her eggs.
First she extracted the egg from the shell with a large hypodermic syringe. She then melted brown beeswax in a small enamel pot that sits on a home-made heater constructed from a coffee can mounted on a wooden board with a 70 watt light bulb placed inside it. The wax pot perches on the coffee can over the hot bulb while she works.
A pencil length tool, carved from wood, with a small wad of wool secured to the end of the tool with a copper wire is used to draw the wax designs onto the egg. A quarter inch length of wire is bent out and away from the tool. She uses the wire tip to draw fine wax lines onto the egg. The wool traps the wax and prevents it from dripping.
Maria began by dipping her tool into the beeswax and drawing wax designs on the plain white egg. Her designs flow from her imagination and no two eggs are ever alike.
After the first design layer was finished she put the egg in a pot of yellow dye heating on the kitchen stove. She submerged the egg for 15 minutes, removed it, blew it dry and applied her second layer of wax. Everything under the first layer of wax was white, like the egg. The lines underneath the next wax layer were yellow. Her next dye color was red and she finished the process with black. Her finished eggs are predominantly red with accents of white, yellow and black.
Maria knew that I was a designer and sensed that I was itching to try my hand at egg decorating. She put and egg and the wax tool in my hands. My attempt at drawing simple pine trees, spirals and stars was a complete failure! The wax dropped off the wire tip in lumps or ran dry before my design was complete. I was a great source of amusement for her.
When the dying process is complete the beeswax is melted by holding the egg over a light bulb and then wiped off with an old tee shirt. The colorful and intricate layers emerge: geometric stars, crosses and trees of life combined with swirls and floral designs. The eggs are then dipped in some sort of varnish.
Because the export of Easter eggs to Western Europe and the U.S. has become a lucrative way for Rômanians to make extra money, the designs and colors are becoming less traditional and have evolved from using Christian crosses, oak leaves (symbols of strength), flowers and geometric patterns into designs incorporating wild animals, cross stitch motifs, words and fish. Red eggs, however, remain the most popular color for Easter in Rômania.
I eventually met many egg decorators while in Rômania, each with amazing skill and their own artistic style. Somehow I managed to collect and transport two dozen fragile eggs around the country via train and car for a month and get them all home to Vermont safely.
Every Easter I unpack these treasured eggs and set them in baskets on my dining table. They continue to fascinate and inspire me with their intricate and whimsical designs and colors.
http://www.romanianculture.us/easter.html
http://www.aidtoartisans.org/

It is believed that when Christ was crucified the holy virgin held a basket of eggs on her arm while she cried beneath the crucifix. Christ’s blood colored the eggs red and so began the tradition of coloring eggs at Easter.

In many regions of Rômania the peasant tradition of decorating, giving, and eating Easter eggs symbolizes the end of Lent’s long fast, that spring has arrived, and the resurrection of Christ.

red eggs

I met Maria Timu, who lives in the Rômanian village of Ciocanesti less than 100 kilometers from the Ukrainian border. I was there working with Aid To Artisans at the time. She decorates hundreds of blown hen eggs each year that she sells during Easter. Her eggs are intricately decorated with geometric and floral motifs.

Taught by a ninety-year-old woman shortly before she died, Maria carries on the Rômanian tradition of decorating eggs with layers of beeswax and dye. With a gold-toothed smile she invited me into her cozy kitchen/bedroom/dining room to demonstrate how she decorates her eggs.

First she extracted the egg from the shell with a large hypodermic syringe. She then melted brown beeswax in a small enamel pot that sits on a home-made heater constructed from a coffee can mounted on a wooden board with a 70 watt light bulb placed inside it. The wax pot perches on the coffee can over the hot bulb while she works.

A pencil length tool, carved from wood, with a small wad of wool secured to the end of the tool with a copper wire is used to draw the wax designs onto the egg. A quarter inch length of wire is bent out and away from the tool. She uses the wire tip to draw fine wax lines onto the egg. The wool traps the wax and prevents it from dripping.

Romanian eggs

Maria began by dipping her tool into the beeswax and drawing wax designs on the plain white egg. Her designs flow from her imagination and no two eggs are ever alike.

After the first design layer was finished she put the egg in a pot of yellow dye heating on the kitchen stove. She submerged the egg for 15 minutes, removed it, blew it dry and applied her second layer of wax. Everything under the first layer of wax was white, like the egg. The lines underneath the next wax layer were yellow. Her next dye color was red and she finished the process with black. Her finished eggs are predominantly red with accents of white, yellow and black.

in process

Maria knew that I was a designer and sensed that I was itching to try my hand at egg decorating. She put an egg and the wax tool in my hands. My attempt at drawing simple pine trees, spirals and stars was a complete failure! The wax dropped off the wire tip in lumps or ran dry before my design was complete. I was a great source of amusement for her.

When the dying process is complete the beeswax is melted by holding the egg over a light bulb and then wiped off with an old tee shirt. The colorful and intricate layers emerge: geometric stars, crosses and trees of life combined with swirls and floral designs. The eggs are then dipped in some sort of varnish.

My eggs

Because the export of Easter eggs to Western Europe and the U.S. has become a lucrative way for Rômanians to make extra money, the designs and colors are becoming less traditional and have evolved from using Christian crosses, oak leaves (symbols of strength), flowers and geometric patterns into designs incorporating wild animals, cross stitch motifs, words and fish. Red eggs, however, remain the most popular color for Easter in Rômania.

eggs in bowl

I eventually met many egg decorators while in Rômania, each with amazing skill and their own artistic style. Somehow I managed to collect and transport two dozen fragile eggs around the country via train and car for a month and get them all home to Vermont safely.

Every Easter I unpack these treasured eggs and set them in baskets on my dining table. They continue to fascinate and inspire me with their intricate and whimsical designs and colors.

animal eggs

eggs:spoon

blue eggs
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To see my Romanian knit yoke click here. For more eggs, click here. Happy Easter!
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I was delighted to discover the Bottle House in the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada last week. Built during the gold rush boom, it is 104 years old this year.

Tom Kelly built his L-shaped, gingerbread trimmed house from adobe and  5,100 bottles, most of them Busch beer bottle empties from the 5o saloons in town at the time. All the exterior walls are made of bottles.  It would be fantastic if you could see light through the bottles when inside the house but I was told that the inside walls are covered with plaster and lathe. It took Kelly a year and a half to build the three room house.

The house was inhabited until 1969 by Tommy Thompson who raised eight children there and built an incredible village of miniature buildings for them to play with, studded with broken glass and china, and bottle caps in the back yard. The little houses are decaying badly and the “lawn” is littered with glass shards.

The Bottle House was recently restored in 2005 and is one of the very few houses that are still standing intact in Rhyolite today.

I was fascinated by the colors of the bottles, juxtaposed against the adobe, the curved roofline and decorative turned posts. But I’m not sure I’d want to live there in the dead of summer!

BottleHouse

wall

wall2

wall3

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garden

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Needlework designs have migrated through the centuries, adorning household linens, everyday and special occasion clothing, and textiles for the aristocracy and the church. The embroideries hold hidden symbols and talismans – stars, crosses, birds, stags, the tree of life, and hearts – supposed to keep away demons and witches and avert calamities.

Download To Your Desktop

I’ve adapted a cross-stitch design from the 16th century to create a valentine theme that can be downloaded to your desktop as wallpaper. I chose bright folkloric colors, perhaps because the winter landscape is still so blue and grey and I am craving color. The motifs could be copied and used in your own knitting or needlework projects. I hope you enjoy my valentine!

RedValentine

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Wearable Art – Romanian Shepherd’s Coat
My inspiration for this knit piece came from the traditional long woolen coats worn by shepherds in Romania. I saw many of these in museums while traveling there.
The below-knee length coats are woven from homespun wool, usually the charcoal natural color of the sheep’s fleece. The body is relatively plain.
The yoke is the astounding part of the garment. It is elaborately embroidered with fanciful and colorful motifs; birds, flowers and fruits, and hangs part way down the back. The shepherd was able to pull it up over his head to keep him warm or roll it up and use it as a pillow while sleeping in the high pastures.
Insert front pic here
I chose to knit the yoke (rather than weave it) and I intentionally did not add the body, as I wanted to highlight just the yoke. I suppose I could add to it one day…
Insert back pic here
The motifs I embroidered are ones that I saw on textiles all over the country. I used the same color palette using yarns that I dyed myself. To see more of my work visit my website www.PoppyGall.com.
Insert close up here

My inspiration for this knit piece came from the traditional long woolen coats worn by shepherds in Romania. I saw many of these in museums while traveling there.

The below-knee length coats are woven from homespun wool, usually the charcoal natural color of the sheep’s fleece. The body is relatively plain.

The yoke is the astounding part of the garment. It is elaborately embroidered with fanciful and colorful motifs; birds, flowers and fruits, and hangs part way down the back. The shepherd was able to pull it up over his head to keep him warm or roll it up and use it as a pillow while sleeping on the ground in the high pastures.

I chose to knit the yoke (rather than weave it) and I intentionally did not add the body, as I wanted to highlight just the yoke. (I suppose I could add to it one day.) The motifs I embroidered are ones that I saw on textiles all over the country. I used a traditional color palette using yarns that I dyed myself.

©Poppy Gall 2010

©Poppy Gall 2010

©Poppy Gall 2010

©Poppy Gall 2010

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Folk Art Inspiration – Monoprints
Warm, cheery colors and nature inspired folk art themes are close to my heart. For centuries the European peasant class created richly decorated everyday practical objects; textiles and apparel, cooking utensils and tools, furniture and ceramics. Using beautiful things enhanced the hard work of living close to the land.
Ceramic stove tiles from Eastern Europe influenced the choice of subjects in my monoprints shown below. I diverged from traditional folk art color schemes that are produced by natural dyes and pigments, to more modern color combinations. While it could take months or years to produce a single folk art object in the old days, I’ve worked a little more quickly, pulling prints every fifteen minutes or so.
insert Blue Vase here
insert Deer here
insert Yellow Vase here
insert blue 2 vase here
Warm, cheery colors and nature inspired folk art themes are close to my heart. For centuries the European peasant class created richly decorated everyday practical objects; textiles and apparel, cooking utensils and tools, furniture and ceramics.
Using beautiful things enhanced the hard work of living close to the land.
Ceramic stove tiles from Eastern Europe influenced the choice of subjects in my monoprints shown below. I diverged from traditional folk art color schemes that are produced by using natural dyes and pigments, to more modern color combinations. While it could take months or years to produce a single folk art object in the old days, I’ve worked a little more quickly, pulling prints every fifteen minutes or so.
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coppyright_PoppyGall_BluVase
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copyright_PoppyGall_BluVase2
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copyright_PoppyGall_Deer
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copyright_PoppyGall_Vase
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For more information about my knitwear design please visit www.PoppyGall.com

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Whew! Here in Vermont we’ve made it through “Deer Season”, a month of staying out of the woods while hunters stalk deer with bow and arrow, rifle and musket and share their bounty at game suppers.

Naturally I’ve been thinking about deer a lot lately with all this activity. I decided to celebrate the deer that dodged the bullet, so to speak, by drawing one for my e-holiday card. Happy holidays to all and thanks for checking in on my blog!

xxx

5x7Deer

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