I went to an art festival, last weekend, in a small town nearby with a dear friend. We had a very lovely time, met some wonderful people, and came away with several one-of-a-kind pieces. I found a couple of items for my home and garden, and a lovely gift for a dear friend. My friend picked up some interesting rustic and ethnic pieces, which didn’t surprise me since he is so taken with exotic cultures and antiquities.
I love attending little fairs and festivals, as I feel that there are so many benefits for everyone involved when we buy at local events. First, it is a great way to support local commerce, which is very important to me. Plus, I always return home with something unusual, and often very functional, too. In my mind, folk artists are the ultimate recyclers of the art world. Many folk artists are regular people who may not have a lot of money to fund their creative projects, but their drive to create seems to lead them to found or easily obtainable items that can be recycled in new and beautiful ways.
Another reason I’m fond of folk art is that these creations often have stories behind them. For example, a bird house made of old barn wood or a crudely painted strip of tin roofing may be expressions of childhood memories or the recreation of a symbolic theme in the artist’s life. Some of their creations may come from conditions that called for creations of necessity, which can lead to some very functional pieces made from unexpected materials. Sometimes folk art pieces reflect historical events or cultural beliefs. So folk art often tells a story of one kind or another, but when I get an opportunity to talk to the artist about his/her creation, I mostly get a great story… 🙂
And that brings me to the best part about folk art—the artists. When I go to events that offer folk art pieces I meet some really wonderful, talented people. I have met some of the most interesting characters, had some great laughs, and have even shed a tear or two on occasion, especially when someone shares a particularly poignant story about their work. And over time I’ve also formed a few friendships that enrich my life even further, which is a great bonus!!!