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Folk Art:  An Unlikely Resurgence

March 24, 2023

by Maggie L. Risson 

There is an art form that seems to be making a comeback. Folk art is returning to popularity, despite the advances in technology with crypto art and 3D printers. The resurgence of folk art may be merely a subconscious reaction or a statement of resistance by some collectors. 

Decorative folk art refers to the traditional art and crafts produced by everyday people which is often made with found materials like scrap wood, metal or glass. It encompasses a wide range of artistic styles and mediums, including painting, sculpture, woodworking, pottery, and textiles, among others. There are two styles of folk art known as tramp art as well as Adirondack style art that seem to often be referred to one another interchangeably. Tramp art was a form of decorative woodworking that involved layering and carving small pieces of wood. Adirondack style often used wood that was carved to create leaves and other elements from nature.

Folk art is often characterized by its simplicity as well as the use of natural materials. The artists themselves are often self-taught or amateurs who draw inspiration from their local culture, traditions, and surroundings. Some of the most common themes in decorative folk art include religious iconography, historical events, everyday life, and nature. Folk artists often incorporate these themes into their work in unique and imaginative ways, using them to tell stories and convey messages. One of the things that makes folk art so fascinating is the sheer variety of designs and styles that you can find. Some of the art pieces feature intricate geometric patterns, while others incorporate figurative elements like animals or human faces. 

Today, decorative folk art continues to be a vibrant and important part of the country’s cultural heritage, celebrated in museums and galleries around the world.  Today while the world seems to be increasingly connected digitally, we seem to be returning to more primitive and handmade art forms. 

If you’re interested in starting a folk art collection of your own, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, be prepared to do some hunting! These art pieces can be found at flea markets, antique shops, and even online, but they can be fairly rare and expensive. You may need to do some digging to find the perfect piece for your collection.

Overall, folk art  is a fascinating and beautiful form of  art that deserves to be appreciated and preserved. Whether you’re a collector or just a fan of vintage and handmade objects, tramp art is worth exploring.

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