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British Folk Art

GUEST,lively 22 May 11 - 11:38 AM
glueman 22 May 11 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,lively 22 May 11 - 12:17 PM
glueman 22 May 11 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,lively 22 May 11 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,Eliza 22 May 11 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,lively 22 May 11 - 01:33 PM
catspaw49 22 May 11 - 01:47 PM
glueman 22 May 11 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 22 May 11 - 03:19 PM
Dave the Gnome 22 May 11 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,lively 22 May 11 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 22 May 11 - 03:36 PM
Dave the Gnome 22 May 11 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 22 May 11 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,lively 22 May 11 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 22 May 11 - 04:37 PM
JohnInKansas 22 May 11 - 09:36 PM
GUEST,Mike Yates 23 May 11 - 04:23 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 May 11 - 05:09 AM
GUEST,Mike Yatres. 23 May 11 - 05:50 AM
GUEST,lively 23 May 11 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Baz parkes 23 May 11 - 06:11 AM
GUEST,lively 23 May 11 - 08:11 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 23 May 11 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 May 11 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 23 May 11 - 11:23 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 May 11 - 11:56 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 23 May 11 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 May 11 - 01:06 PM
Little Robyn 23 May 11 - 05:22 PM
Max Johnson 24 May 11 - 05:11 AM
glueman 24 May 11 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 May 11 - 06:07 AM
glueman 24 May 11 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 May 11 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,David Owen 24 May 11 - 07:50 AM
Jack Blandiver 24 May 11 - 08:22 AM
glueman 24 May 11 - 08:44 AM
Silas 24 May 11 - 08:59 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 May 11 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 May 11 - 09:30 AM
glueman 24 May 11 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 May 11 - 10:20 AM
Jack Campin 24 May 11 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,lively 24 May 11 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,lively 24 May 11 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,lively 24 May 11 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,lively 24 May 11 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 May 11 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 May 11 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,lively 24 May 11 - 11:35 AM
GloriaJ 24 May 11 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,lively 24 May 11 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,lively 24 May 11 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 May 11 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 May 11 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,lively 24 May 11 - 01:34 PM
glueman 24 May 11 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 May 11 - 02:28 PM
GUEST,lively 24 May 11 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 May 11 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,lively 24 May 11 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 May 11 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 27 May 11 - 07:31 AM
GloriaJ 27 May 11 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 27 May 11 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,katie 29 Jun 11 - 04:42 PM
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Subject: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 22 May 11 - 11:38 AM

Dear Mudcatters, can anyone direct me to useful resources for British (and also European) folk art?

My interest is primarily practical, as I wish to explore painting traditional folk motifs for myself.

I have found a lot on the internet on American folk art, but far less for folk art from the UK.

In particular I would like to learn more about specific regional styles and techniques.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: glueman
Date: 22 May 11 - 12:06 PM

It might be useful to narrow it down. Bodging, embroidery, scrimshaw, painting, plus a few dozen others.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 22 May 11 - 12:17 PM

Painting folk art motifs is what I'm after. And I'd like to learn about different regional styles within the UK.

I think covered that in the OP, tho' I could possibly have been clearer in the thread title :)


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: glueman
Date: 22 May 11 - 01:06 PM

Not sure what you mean by motifs in the context of folk art. There are recurring symbols each with their own heritage. I'm not trying to be obtuse but it's not simply a case of saying people in Sussex liked painting egg and dart patterns or fleurs de lys and those in Durham painted trefoils and ducks. There will be a historical reasons and probably a technical one too depending on the medium.

You could look through some old folk rock covers from the 1970s but they'll tell you about 70s culture, not ideograms and cyphers of the native culture.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 22 May 11 - 01:20 PM

OK, well we can ditch the "motif" term then. What I'm after is resources for British folk art, preferably in the painted medium. Information on resources for regionally specific folk art, preferably in the painted medium, would be best of all.

As said there seems to be a huge amount of folk art (in various mediums) from the US out there, but I don't know where to look for sources closer to home.

It's a good point about 70's album covers, but I really don't want to imbibe the period aesthetic overlay. Had enough of that as a kid.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 22 May 11 - 01:23 PM

There's canal boat art, 'Castles and Roses'. And pub signs!


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 22 May 11 - 01:33 PM

Good point Eliza, I have just ordered a title from Amazon called 'Castles and Roses'.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 May 11 - 01:47 PM

I would think a beautiful British Folk Art painting would depiict a ship loaded with every Concertina in the world sinking 75 miles west of Fastnet Rock..................


Spaw


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: glueman
Date: 22 May 11 - 02:17 PM

Have a look at the work of Alfred Wallis and similar British naive/folk artists.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 22 May 11 - 03:19 PM

I'm sure Wallis would turn in his grave if you called his work Folk Art, glueman. Just seems kind of wrong somehow, like calling Ivor Cutler Folk Music. But then again, when you consider the amount of art being done by British Outsiders, then one night ponder the nature of Folk (What is Folk Art anyone? What's that? Never seen a horse make a picture?). Otherwise, anything in the traditional & generally anonymous vernacular - from medieval misericords to modern hip-hop grafitti tags would suffice, none of which might be the sort of thing lively is looking for (as we've seen again & again on Mudcat, Folk is very often a matter of what isn't rather than what is - & I'm still frankly mystified as to what is meant by the term Folk Arts).

Joseph Crawhall II wasn't Folk either, though his quaint woodcuts & decorative motifs certainly have an abiding Folk feel & will be familiar to many Folkies - see Here for a fine selection of his amazing work.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 May 11 - 03:24 PM

If Folk Roots has become F Roots can Folk Art become F Ar...

Oh, I guess not.

:D tG


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 22 May 11 - 03:34 PM

"none of which might be the sort of thing lively is looking for"

Indeed Suibhne, I'm looking for olden days stuff by ignorant rural retards that I can steal and wreak irreverent havoc with.
Hope that helps... :)


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 22 May 11 - 03:36 PM

PS - Folk Art, like Folk Music & Folklore, is more often than not a matter of perception than intention. Below the line is a thread about a 10,000 y.o. megalithic site which is somehow Folklore. Go figure...


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 May 11 - 03:39 PM

Should have said before (I'll probably be in trouble whether I post it or not!) How about folk-based art

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 22 May 11 - 03:39 PM

I'm looking for olden days stuff by ignorant rural retards that I can steal and wreak irreverent havoc with

Check that Crawhall link; he was hardly a retard, but an educated gentleman who drew on the old traditions of vernacular woodcutting so well beloved of us Broadside browsers!


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 22 May 11 - 03:51 PM

"Check that Crawhall link"

Ah, Wickerman central! Quite perfect for tattoos too.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 22 May 11 - 04:37 PM

Quite perfect for tattoos too

Tattoos are certainly Folk Art - and I have a Crawhall motif on my bum. Too much information, as usual...

What's your medium anyway? I'm currently repruducing medieval vernacular chuch carving (green men / triple hares / Hereford romanesque) in polished painted plaster using latex moulds from my own clay sculptures. Looking good...


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 May 11 - 09:36 PM

Although the term "Folk Art" works pretty well for the US, it's likely that what you're looking for is categorized differently for other cultures. In the US, there were (and are) settlements of immigrants who came together, stayed - for a time - together, and thereby "segregated" styles that, while they existed in the "homelands," were merged sufficiently there to be less noted. "British" also has a longer "industrial" tradition that probably buries the sort of "primitive" stuff you want amongst the "commercially manufactured collectibles."

While it's likely not the sort of thing you're looking for, I've noted that British artists (or Frenchmen painting to order for British clients) prior to the mid 20th century had a very distinctive (and IMO "peculiar") way of drawing/painting horses, with scrawny long necks and pointy noses so that they looked like long-legged wolverines.

For "primitive paintings," and especially for symbols/signs, perhaps a search for architectural styles from a particular time and place might be a way of finding how houses and barns etc. were decorated in distinctive sytles. I would suspect that "British" is too broad a category to be too revealing, but a more specific district/region within the British realms might get more helpful results.

Symbolisms often are revealed in "advertising" if you can pin down a place and time, or a style of ads like patent medicines or farm implements that provide a few hits. Cigar boxes often had rich symbolisms in the US, although I don't know how common that was elsewhere.

In the US, there are a few - but pretty good - resources that crop up in a search for "Erotic Folk Art," (tame by current standards, but some of it is pretty cute).

If the first search term you think of doesn't work, you'll need to come up with a different set of terms that's in better agreement with what the thing is called by the people who own the secrets you want. Finding collectors of what you want would likely be most fruitful, especially if they've got an "organization."

John


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 23 May 11 - 04:23 AM

One of the best books on the subject is Peter Brears' "North Country Folk Art", published by John Donald of Edinburgh, in 1989. Although published in Scotland it deals with English folk art and covers all aspects of popular art. It is also full of excellent illustrations. It may be hard to find these day, but it is worth the effort!


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 May 11 - 05:09 AM

A search on Abebooks reveals a few:

North Country Folk Art


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Mike Yatres.
Date: 23 May 11 - 05:50 AM

I didn't know that there were still so many copies available! By the way, if you are looking for a book on French folk art, then I like Jean Cuisenier's "French Folk Art",published by Kodansha International, Ltd., Tokyo, New York & San Francisco. 1976. I got my copy a few years back from Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland. There are probably other copies still available.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 23 May 11 - 05:52 AM

Many thanks, in my basket.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Baz parkes
Date: 23 May 11 - 06:11 AM

Some years ago I bought a book with that very title...sadly, all books in boxes in garage atm

Messrs google or jeeves may be able to help...

baz


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 23 May 11 - 08:11 AM

Some evocative images to be found by browsing Antiques dealers:

pub sign "pelican and fox"
collage "the earth stopper"
lots more pub signs, narrow boat painting and such to be seen here too:
flickr group 'british folk art'


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 23 May 11 - 10:29 AM

Another book to seek out is Noel Carrington & Clarke Hutton's "Popular English Art". It was published as a King Penguin in 1945. It is quite a small book, but again, worth looking for.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 May 11 - 11:12 AM

Just about to mention that; in fact, I think of the old King Penguins as Folk Art in themselves, each one is a classic of its kind and I collectv them avidly. I think my favourite is the Misericords volume, but The Leaves of Southwell (text by Pevsner) runs it a close second (along with Garden Birds). Popular English Art returns us to the usage of Popular in lieu of Folk, which to me is less intersting. Child used Popular in this sense too, and the whole notion of Popular Art / Popular Music is richly fascinating in terms of Tradition.

Anyway, Popular English Art (the book) takes us from the Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture through figure heads, samplers, fair ground horses, Gypsy vardos, pottery, gravestones*, ships in bottles, Punch & Judy and horse brasses, so quite a range. No slip ware though, of which I'm a great fan.

Also worth looking out for in King Penguin is The English Tradition in Design which begins with amazing carved oak chests from the 13th century and ends up with fabric from the Metropolitan Line trains circa 1947 when the book was published.

Again, try Abebooks.   

* Which reminds me - those Folkies of a Macabre cast of mind check this out: A Morbid Eccentric


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 23 May 11 - 11:23 AM

If you like slipware, then have a look at Victoria & Michael Eden's book "Slipware" published by A & C Black, London, & University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, in 1999. Although mainly concerned with modern potters (from all over the world)it does have a good, illustrated, introduction on the history of slipware. It is one of my favourite forms of ceramics too!


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 May 11 - 11:56 AM

Will do; there's some choice examples in NW UK museums (Preston, Manchester) of Talor, Toft (et al) which blows my mind. I keep thinking - if only I could get my music to sound like this stuff looks... Ralph Toft, 1676


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 23 May 11 - 01:00 PM

Until fairly recently, folk art was mainly associated with functional/utilitarian items. Folk artists didn't paint something on a scrap of roofing tin hoping someone would buy it to hang on a wall. They painted something on a wooden napkin holder hoping someone who needed a napkin holder might pay a bit extra if it had a painting on it.

So, one way to approach searching out information about folk art would be to ignore the "art" and search for examples of items which folk artists would have used as media.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 May 11 - 01:06 PM

And watch out for the biggest decorative Folk Art motifs of them all...


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: Little Robyn
Date: 23 May 11 - 05:22 PM

How about Lowry?

He even has a song written about his matchstick men - Matchstalk cats and dogs

But maybe he's just primitive, not folk.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: Max Johnson
Date: 24 May 11 - 05:11 AM

And, there's graffiti art from the neolithic to the present day.
Folk art is a very different thing to folk music though, isn't it? Music and dance being more of a shared thing than art, in terms of actually doing it?

Just thoughts. If you challenge them I'll agree with you and privately think you're wrong.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: glueman
Date: 24 May 11 - 05:18 AM

Visual art used to be more collaborative that it is now, although some is still going. What we perceive as the work of individual genius was usually a workshop, someone painting backgrounds, another on skies, the boss doing figures and so on.

Obvious examples of mutual art include quilt making but largely speaking, most art was collaborative until the modern era. Even now it's a more a question of attribution than making, Damien Hurst doesn't make his own prints tha'knows.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 May 11 - 06:07 AM

Genius needs focus - that of the individuality of the human brain. The folk myth assumes anonymity and collectivity - it can't see the Trees for the Wood, but without the Trees, there would be no Wood. To what extent is collective process merely the ILLUSION of individual action? Like swarms. People do collective swarming, but they do it as individuals - crowds, communiting, music, lore, traditions... Is Folk Art any different other than in terms of aesthetics? Folk Music likewise.

There is only one type of Music: Human Music. Human Music, like Human Beings, comes in a myriad diverse styles and idioms but they all share the same basic features (all of which might be found in the 1954 Definition). The religiosity of Folk (and Folkies) is such that they want to believe that their music is something other than a very modern construct. Like Mormons, they baptise the dead in the name of their God.

Dada, Surrealism, Cubism, Fauvism, the Pre-Raphaelites - all these were collective traditions, but Folk Art? I think not.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: glueman
Date: 24 May 11 - 06:47 AM

It depends how you define folk but if anonymity plays a role and tradition passed down from hand to hand, eye to eye, there are plenty of examples of seamless collaboration, some for profit, some for posterity.

I've never bought the 'songs of the people' idea as most people on here know. All creation requires a progenitor IMHO but that doesn't rule out the morphing hand of generations of individuals doing their bit. Pargeting, alabaster work, embroidery left degrees of folk marks.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 May 11 - 07:18 AM

I agree, but in terms of process you could say that about any creative tradition - everything from car design to computer technology. This is where the whole idea of Folk fails for me - it becomes too precious a contrivance that assumes that those creative processes are any different from any other. Individual Creativity is therefore negated by seeing things in terms of their Collective Anonymous Consequence - like Traditional Folk Song (which is as much a creative idiom as any other sort of music). We see Folk Art in patronising terms of Naivity and Primitivism; we see them as being Noble, Natural, Innocent, Uneducated, Untainted. The Folk / Volk myth springs from a political need to negate the individual. Left or Right, it makes little difference - the Folk are entirely passive to their Folk status and their Uneducated Innocence stands in stark contrast to the scholarship deemed necessary to understand them, or the taxonomy of their works.

Folk Art tends to the anonymous and the collective; Outsider Art to the eccentric, idiosyncratic and the maladjusted. Both embody a strong sense of Tradition, Idenity and overall Aesthetic which might be seen in terms of our deeper psycho-biological subroutines which determine such things in the first place. To what extent is anyone truly an Outsider? Or even an Individual? It's a dialogue, ongoing, between our unique selves and the culture into which we have been born.

Having said that, my culture is my unique perception of experience thus far in my life; any objectivity is the consequence of the billions of other human individuals with whom I just happen to share this planet with, each of whom see it very much their own way. It's all a matter of unique perception, and it ends when we die.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,David Owen
Date: 24 May 11 - 07:50 AM

Oh for f**ks sake.....boring boring boring.....kill me now....

here :

http://theinkcorporation.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 24 May 11 - 08:22 AM

Nice one, David - I'm one of that happy breed of Committed Bellamists on that Oak Ash Thorn album BTW...

One of the things I like about Folk Album Art in general is just how it's determined by a Collective Aesthetic of how such a thing ought to look; from OAT to VOTP, and beyond... I've just had the pleasure of reviewing the latest offeruings from John Kirkpatrick & Jim Causley, both of which unashamedly proclaim their graphic tradition in this respect. And then there's things like THIS which becomes all the more terrifying when we realise that it was made in the same year as THIS...


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: glueman
Date: 24 May 11 - 08:44 AM

I'm all for liberating folk from its sepia vignette, which is why I questioned the OP about what she/he meant by 'motifs'. Almost every folk or folk rock album of the 70s and 80s had a sleeve with the visual equivalent of a hey-nonny-nonny lifted from some Victorian novelty arcade or broadsheet.

As for outsider, well Alfred Wallis was certainly that. I'd image Ben Nicholson lauded him for a 'folk' survival of pre-Renaissance perspective which happened to coincide with modernism and a romantic revival and bridge the two. Didn't stop Wallis dying in a pauper's grave while his paintings are bought by the exceedingly wealthy. Now That's What I Call A Folk Process (Volume 7).


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: Silas
Date: 24 May 11 - 08:59 AM

Have a look at the stuff Bill Caddicks wife does - it really is lovley stuff. She did the CD cover for Unicorns.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 May 11 - 09:15 AM

I love the Sepia Vignette me; I love Folk Albums that look like Folk Albums - just as Heavy Metal albums look like Heavy Metal Albums and ECM albums look like ECM albums (even ECM Folk Albums, such as those by Robin Williamson). If we accept the idea of Folk Music, then Folk Image is all part of that surely? The parameters are certainly intriguing though. In the 80s they tried to get away from it, but even Peter Bellamy's 1985 EFDSS album Second Wind still manages to look like Folk Album - God knows it certainly sounds like one, so why worry? That is the nature of Folk: if I want to see truly radical album graphics then I'll buy something with truly radical music to match. Meanwhile, I'll continue to indulge with my fondness for Alia Vox albums which are proud to be exactly what they are in terms of image / product and visual beauty.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 May 11 - 09:30 AM

PS - I remember one day in the Tate my art lecturer telling me you could teach a monkey to paint like Afred Wallis, to which I replied that unlike Wallis, no monkey would ever be moved to paint like that without being taught. Remembering that makes a sort of sense I suppose, and I still love Wallis for all sorts of reasons.

There's a church on the Norfolk coast (at Salthouse, now an art gallery!) on the stalls of which the choir boys of old engraved graffiti of sailing ships. Over all it's a palimpsest of crude maritime images, but the effect, like Wallis, is utterly beguiling. But like I say, Folk Art is invariably a matter of perception rather than intention...

http://norfolkcoast.co.uk/curiosities/cu_churchgraffiti.htm


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: glueman
Date: 24 May 11 - 09:39 AM

Personally, I've never seen the need for a folk image. I suspect it's another one of those things folkies love and the rest of the world is alienated by. If by folk we mean the post-war folk revival genre, then yes, it may be heavily tied into the mores and clothing of the 60s and 70s, but that will die out with its originators. Revivalists will look like present day mods, rockers or civil war reenactors, someone to have your photograph taken next to in the absence of a man with a monkey.

Should there be any doubt, I'm entirely pro dressing up, so long as the dressing and the thing itself aren't confused.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 May 11 - 10:20 AM

Personally, we might not see the need for Folk, but there you are - it's there, music, image & all in it's post-modern glory. We were in Tate Liverpool the other day and we saw a book of Folk Art images (with CD clips) of pure graphic design; nothing alarming there - it's all part & parcel of what Folk has become over the last 50 odd years & what it now means with respect of culture as a whole. This is something I've lived with all my life (b. 1961 & still an awkward 49) - I find it alarming that anyone would find the need to be in any way radical in a Folk context, or even believe that such a thing was possible; Folk is the very antithesis of radical; radical is anathematic to Folk, and yet Folk continues to be embarrassed by its own image (as am I but only when morris dancers blacken up...) - unlike Elvis Impersonators, Punks, Goths, Emos who are justly proud to be exactly what they are. Be Folk - be Glad!


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 May 11 - 10:33 AM

The sort of celebrations Doc Rowe documents are a kind of folk performance art. We have one coming up in our village in a couple of weeks, the Newtongrange Children's Gala. It's not all that old (since the 20s, I think), like the other galas that take place in Midlothian villages during the summer. The structure is fake mediaeval - kinds from local primary schools are selected to be the gala king and queen, with a "court" of a couple of dozen other kids.

The artistic side is something else. The families of kids chosen for one of these ceremonial roles will decorate the frontage of their house in a theme of some sort. If you look at my house on Google Street View (11 Third Street, EH22 4PU) you will see across the street that the house there (number 24) has a sign saying "Liam - Page Boy". That's all that was left of their front garden being decorated as a zoo, with papier mache and plastic animals several feet high (the Google car came by two weeks after Gala Day). The house behind us once turned their porch into the stern of the sinking Titanic with the whole front of the house shrouded in black binbags to look like hull plating. Our neighbours a few years ago filled their front garden with sand, added 12-foot plywood palm trees and built a plywood Egyptian temple entrance over their front door. The most inspired one I can recall was the house across the street that turned their front garden into a scaled-up model aquarium, with fish several feet long whose scales were made out of hundreds of overlapping green and silver CDs.

The village supermarket always used to run out of toilet paper despite ordering a couple of extra pallet loads. People make floral wreaths out of it that form arches and lines along their iron fences. The trick is to keep it covered with clingfilm until the last minute in case it rains.

All this display is just for the Saturday of the gala and it's nearly all gone by Sunday night.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 24 May 11 - 10:37 AM

"Oh for f**ks sake.....boring boring boring.....kill me now...."

Oh, but not at all David! We can't all be belong to the hip new school of funky modern folksters after all. Some of us genuinely appreciate the charms of macrame owls and the witterings of bearded baby boomers. I don't know about you of course, but that's precisely what I'm here for..


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 24 May 11 - 10:47 AM

Though I'd like to add, that I do indeed enjoy your work..


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 24 May 11 - 11:12 AM

"IF YOU ARE A HARDCORE, HARDLINE TRADITIONALIST AND FIND MY OPINIONS ON FOLK MUSIC HERETICAL AND MY IMAGES OFFENSIVE AND SHOWING A GENERAL LACK OF RESPECT, THEN I AM OBVIOUSLY DOING SOMETHING RIGHT."

This is an intriguing statement, and a provocative one. I wonder why so many folkie thirtysomethings still feel like they are teenagers rebelling against their parents?

I still don't get this peculiar "us and them" idea which goes on and on. Particularly as "the kids" are actually nothing like kids, but instead proper grown-ups, usually with kids of their own.

I often wonder if the err folk "youth" so to speak, despite protestations to the contrary, are in fact far too wrapped up with what their elders think to simply get on with what they want to do without worrying whether their grandfather approves of it or not?


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 24 May 11 - 11:19 AM

Oh Gods, I just reread that and realised it is riddled with a whole wicker basket full of presumptions on my part! If you read this David Owen, then I'm happy to own those presumptions as my own, I do not wish to presume that your 'manifesto' implies anything that I have suggested above.

And with that, I think I'll go off to hover quietly on the naughty lurking step...


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 May 11 - 11:25 AM

macrame owls

My mother-in-law still has one, circa 1976, and looking good. These days Folk Owls are all the rage, although in Paperchase they call them Pop Owls, which is presumably Pop in the same sense as Popular English Art and Child's Popular Ballads. I've got a Macrame hanging I made around that time into which are woven assorted animal bones, skulls, stones and other things from the Nature Table - Folk Horror at its finest. Never made an owl though...


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 May 11 - 11:35 AM

"IF YOU ARE A HARDCORE, HARDLINE TRADITIONALIST AND FIND MY OPINIONS ON FOLK MUSIC HERETICAL AND MY IMAGES OFFENSIVE AND SHOWING A GENERAL LACK OF RESPECT, THEN I AM OBVIOUSLY DOING SOMETHING RIGHT."

Personally (speaking as someone who often gets called a hardcore, hardline traditionalist) I find David Owen's images & ideas utterly charming and not in the least bit heretical, offensive, alternative or disrepectful. He is obviously doing it right because he's in demand with an impressive CV to boot, which he wouldn't have if he was truly offensive, disrespectful or heretical.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 24 May 11 - 11:35 AM

"We see Folk Art in patronising terms of Naivity and Primitivism; we see them as being Noble, Natural, Innocent, Uneducated, Untainted."

Well maybe *some* of us do? I think I was attracted to so-called Primitive art during my mid-teens when browsing through, well 'art'. I was struck by the emotional potency, the super-real vividness, the palpable presence of the figures, the uncompromising directness of the story, the absence of contrivance.

One could rephrase such impressions in similar ways to those you have expressed of course.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GloriaJ
Date: 24 May 11 - 11:39 AM

Get hold of "People's Art:Working Class Art from 1750 to the Present Day" by Emmanuel Cooper ISBN 1 851581081. This is a thorough survey of the whole subject with plenty of illustrations, published in 1994


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 24 May 11 - 11:49 AM

Thanks Gloria, that sounds spot on!

Otherwise, as to folk art here and now - not at all heretical either, but it still might make some grit their teeth a tad:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/janicesaucier/3390784874/


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 24 May 11 - 12:19 PM

"I've got a Macrame hanging I made around that time into which are woven assorted animal bones, skulls, stones and other things from the Nature Table - Folk Horror at its finest. Never made an owl though..."

Folk horror nature table? I think I can outdo you with the time I began collecting dead crows (for skeletons and feathers). I hanged them out to dry on the huge resplendent ash tree in my mothers garden and quite a gothic sight it was.

Her vegetarian hunt-sab friend came in quite shaken from the garden one afternoon and commented on the mini display of feathered cadavers which were strung up in the branches.

As my mother was busy and distracted at the time she simply said that it was OK as they they were mine.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 May 11 - 12:35 PM

Lovely. As a kid I'd marvel at the gibbetted weasels, crows, daws and moles hung on fences midst blasted Northumbrian hedgerows; all part of the lore of the land, and replete with menacing overtones of a ceremonial something or other that lingers to this day...

They still do it in Shopshire anyway: Gamekeeper's Gibbet

Next album I do is going to be packaged using handmade covers fashioned from dead weasels and other such vermin interwoven with cornstalks and rowan berries. No two covers the same; limited edition of three copies, £320 each. Two songs: The Molecatcher (17.45) and The Sheep Stealer (16.00 - actually the same version you can download for nowt on my An Oblique Parallax of English Speaking Folksong blog which I can't link to because I've already used my link on this post already but for the truly curious a Google search will get you there - that's all about Folk Art as well in a way).


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 May 11 - 01:01 PM

Nits! The damn things vanished. Nae matter, it's up on Soundcloud now; be amongst the first to listen to it at:

http://soundcloud.com/sedayne/the-sheep-stealer

For those who feel that sitting though 11 minutes of real-time live electronics & Accursed Viol improvisation is asking too much of them, then the singing starts 11.40 minutes in. That's me in my guise as hardcore, hardline traditionalist BTW...


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 24 May 11 - 01:34 PM

So Sub, you're a smart fella, to what extent do you feel like you are patronsising the groups who inspire you and who you (to what ever degree) emulate in your own work?


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: glueman
Date: 24 May 11 - 02:17 PM

Unfortunately, I spent to long in art schools to settle for hay bales or moons with faces on my album covers. Ironically, it was a portfolio of ratting pictures that got me into one C1978. We were keen ratters our gang and the photographic portraits, complete with our quarry hung from their knotted tails, I'd stand by all these years later.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 May 11 - 02:28 PM

Whilst I'm not aware of consciously emulating or patronising anything, though I do subscibe to the Camus maxim (as quoted by Scott Walker on Scott 3) that A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened. Unconsiously of course we are all conduits and repositaries of everything we've ever been exposed to; every one of us is a Tradition Bearer in that sense but our work is always more than the sum total of its parts somehow...


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 24 May 11 - 02:55 PM

"We see Folk Art in patronising terms of Naivity and Primitivism; we see them as being Noble, Natural, Innocent, Uneducated, Untainted."

"Whilst I'm not aware of [...] patronising anything,"

Come on honey, get it straight! Either 'we' do or 'we' don't - Eh?
Or perhaps are you a bit separate and superior to "us lot". Of course I know you are not. That's just provocation.

But all this "we / you" "thee / thou" stuff, arguably linguistically distances one from immediate personal human engagement - with art and indeed all other forms of personal experience. Though this is of specific relevance to matters pertaining to "folk" art I should guess.

Never having been to art college myself, I can only surmise.. :) Maybe someone can put this better than me.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 May 11 - 03:50 PM

We were keen ratters our gang and the photographic portraits, complete with our quarry hung from their knotted tails, I'd stand by all these years later.

Sounds about right; I hear that in the recordings of John MacDonald: The Singing Molecatcher of Morayshire. Is it true that once he recorded the album he never sang the songs again, believing that the copyright law prevented him from doing so?

We see Folk Art in patronising terms of [...]

and

I'm not aware of [...] patronising anything

Do keep up there, lively. We ain't me; by we I'm speaking of the general Folk Consensus of the last century or so as revealed in The Imagined Village, Fakesong, Rites and Riots etc. etc. I'm trying (!) to be objective and impartial here; like I say perception vs intention is the key. Besides, I tend to see art for it's own sake really - even Folk Art, if, indeed, such a thing can be said to exist at all. For sure we might find a tasty item of Treen tucked away in a car boot sale (hardly likely in these days of afteroon TV antique shows) but what is without that all important provenance confirming that it is, in fact, the real deal; authentic indeed.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 24 May 11 - 04:08 PM

"We ain't me; by we I'm speaking of the general Folk Consensus of the last century or so as revealed in The Imagined Village, Fakesong, Rites and Riots etc. etc."

Indeed, and I'm sure folkloric consensual objectivity is all very fascinating, when it's at home, though I'm not sire where that home is? Is it to be found on Brighton Pier or in it's Antiquarian Bookshops? Hell, who knows? Except the experts of course who have pondered such matters, thankfully for me I'd rather be eating chips than fretting over such imponderables..

Mind you, I'd still be interested in further resources for British folk art.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 May 11 - 04:28 PM

Is it to be found on Brighton Pier or in it's Antiquarian Bookshops?

Both; and it doesn't preclude fish & chips either. On the end of Blackpool's north pier is a fine traditional triple-decker carousel of the sort cherished as something of an icon of English Folk Art. And in my local Antiquarian Bookshop, one might find a copy of the aforementioned Popular English Art, the cover of which depicts a fairground horse (in fact, the very image was used by The Museum of Folklore as part of their website). Folk Art is as much gibbeted weasels in hedgerows as it is rooting around in dusty bookshops and libraries; I'd say it lies somewhere between the two maybe - empirical on the one hand, and cerebral on the other. In the end, it's all about the joy...


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 27 May 11 - 07:31 AM

Get hold of "People's Art:Working Class Art from 1750 to the Present Day" by Emmanuel Cooper

Bought it for pennies from Abebooks on the day of your recommendation and it's just arrived now; a lovely old hardback libary copy with the Dewey number still on the spine (A 709. 033 COO) - inside it's stamped City of Sunderland College Learning Centre. Still, it's part of my library now (my mother's a Makem). Flicking through it strikes all the right notes - from intimate pieces of treen to union banners; and Wallis and Lowry are in there too... Many thanks for the heads up!

Check it out, lively...


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GloriaJ
Date: 27 May 11 - 08:35 AM

Great - yes I think mine was a remaindered copy so I didnt pay the full price of £25.I like the way a lot of folk art doesnt take itself too seriously, and the book is quite entertaining and well-illustrated.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 27 May 11 - 10:33 AM

I like the way a lot of folk art doesnt take itself too seriously,

A quality we find in much medieval stuff too, from misericords to the vivid illuminations of the Luttrell and Macclesfield Psalters - however so condescending their ultimate purpose. The Luttrell Psalter is famous for its vivid scenes of rural / peasant life at the time, as well its more fantastical inventions / conventions. With this in mind I'm going to seriously recommend Mirror in Parchment: The Luttrell Psalter and the Making of Medieval England. How much? Well I'm sure you can get it for a lot less; even my copy of the complete facsimile of The Macclesfield Psalter was a fraction of that...


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: GUEST,katie
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 04:42 PM

Hello, I am a decorative artist specialising in traditional folk art such as Gypsy wagons, canal boats and Fairground rides and showfronts. You are more than welcome to visit my website www.kbmorgan.co.uk All the very best, katie


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 04:53 PM

You could try clicking on some of the names on this site.. many of which are into the Folk Art Pottery of today but much of which is based on yesteryear:-   Traditional Pottery Folk Art Site.


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 04:56 PM

You could also try this very interesting site!


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Subject: RE: British Folk Art
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 05:01 PM

You could google 'Punch and Judy'... 'Measham ware' (known as bargeware), 'slipware pottery', 'early bird decoys',' Folk art painting' .' 18th century dolls'. These I have come across in my study of antiques.


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