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Sunday, January 29, 2012

SUN, ROCKS, HOME AND MOVING WEST


The late day sun casts bare tree shadows on my home as I contemplate the work ahead for me. I have made a decision to move to Utah after long deliberation. Kentucky is a natural paradise that abounds with all types of fantastic wildlife. It has been a good place to nurture my interest in all things wild. Also, it is a treasure chest of folkways that I have attempted to record in part through images and a few words. I will miss this place as I am now in my fifth year of living here.


But, most of my family members are now living in the west, Utah and Oregon, and there are no more  members in this part of the country. And, I have a great love of the west with its grandeur of mountains and varied landscapes. This will be an opportunity to explore cultures of ancients, wildlife, and folks. Hopefully it will open a multitude of new views for my layperson's photography. 



Above are rocks that I have picked up along the many roads I have traveled in the U.S.  over the past twenty-one years. I think there are only about five states that I have not visited. I consider these rock fragments -- my fetishes. I use the native American interpretation of fetishes -- being sacred objects for spiritual awakening and to communicate with supernatural powers providing protection, promote healing and ensure success in ventures.

Of course -- the runway ahead can be a really long one before I take off with my dog Sal. Sales of houses are  slow and low. In the meantime I have plenty to do around the house and property -- trying to get it on the market in March. 

I will continue with FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK when I finally make it to Utah. I plan on bringing a whole new western palette to my blog.

But for now everything is as usual with my postings. No changes. Except for me feeling completely overwhelmed!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

TRADITIONAL APPLIQUE PICTORIAL QUILTS -- A SOUTHERN TRADITION



Pictorial Quilt 1898
Quilter --Harriet Powers
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Massachusetts



Bible Quilt -- 1886
"Adam and Eve Naming the Animals"
Quilter, Harriet Powers
Smithsonian, Washington D.C.

History repeats itself over time in all types of genera. In this case -- appliqued pictorial quilts. 

In the 1800s a Georgia woman of African-American descent created a quilt out of cotton panels and appliqued story pieces on them. Today she is considered the "mother of appliqued quilts." Two of her quilts are still with us in Boston and Washington  D. C. museums. These two quilts are the lone survivors of her work. Unless . . .

 Another quilt is known to have been created by Harriet Powers. The book This I Accomplish: Harriet Powers' Bible Quilt and Other Pieces by Kara E. Hicks, provides the following information, "In 2009, a copy of an 1896 letter from Harriet Powers to a prominent Keokuk, Iowa woman surfaced . . . it (sic) describes a quilt made about 1882 that she called the Lord's Supper quilt. It is unclear if the presumably appliqued quilt still physically exists today. Given that two of Powers' appliqued quilts have survived for over 100 years, it is possible the Lord's Supper quilt could be in a collection." (Hicks)

"Wild and Wooley"
Pictorial Applique Wall Hanging Quilt
Creator -- Ms Betty
From the 1800s lets jump to a 2011. Here an appliqued wall hanging tells a contemporary garden story -- created by Ms Betty who is a member of the Berea Depot Quilters guild in Berea, Kentucky.  


Section of "Wild and Wooley"

Here we find the same idea of the Powers quilt of telling a story. The story appears to be about  gardening, home, food and insects all intertwined into a artistic blend of applique.

"Section of Wild and Wooley"

Pieced with many different colors and patterns the quilt does appear joyously wild with the use of wool appliqued pieces.


Section of "Wild and Wooley"

Such works of art such as the applique quilt reminds me of how women can avail themselves to artistically contribute their own personal stories.  

Harriet Powers truly was the "mother of appliqued quilts" who began a traditional art that she created over a hundred years ago. A traditional art that is still going strong today.



REFERENCES

Online Sources


Harriet Powers Quilt




Book Sources

by Maude Southwell Wahlman

This I Accomplish: Harriet Powers' Bible Quilt and Other Pieces. by Kara E. Hicks,  Publisher: Black Threads Press





Saturday, January 21, 2012

SHAKER CEMETERY FENCE

WOODEN CEMETERY FENCE
OFF THE BEATEN PATH OF PLEASANT HILL, SHAKERTOWN, KENTUCKY IS THIS SHAKER CEMETERY


Last summer, I visited Shakertown, an old Shaker community in Kentucky. It wasn't my first visit -- my first was in 1990 and since then I have been there about six times. Each time I visit I like to experience something different from previous times.


This time it was the Shaker cemetery. I took mental note to stop at the cemetery site on my way out of the Village.


And that is what I did.  As I left I hiked a short lane to a semi-wooded area and there came upon an open space where the cemetery was located.


At the old cemetery a crafted Shaker picket fence glowed in the sunlight while the cemetery's grassy area held the few remaining graves. I stood there letting the quietude of the place seep into my pores. The serenity of the graveyard along with the beauty of the fence brought peaceful thoughts. 


It was a good way to end my visit to Shakertown.







Monday, January 16, 2012

VICTORIAN WINDOWS -- ARCHITECTURAL BEAUTIES


Richmond, Kentucky has one of the better collections of commercial second story windows I've seen in Kentucky towns  -- most located in their old main street section. Now let me qualify that statement -- I have not seen all the towns in Kentucky. I'm sure there are many others with special qualities.


Included here are a couple of photos of the streetscapes displaying the contiguous line up of some of the buildings. I then have taken close-ups so you can view the workmanship of the Victorian windows.

Why the second story windows and not the whole building? Well, I wanted to concentrate on these old ladies as they appeared in the late 1800s when most of them were built. Sometimes the first floor can be rather contemporary in feeling.


This is not all of Richmond's historic commercial buildings. There are more around every corner you turn in the commercial section. This town is also filled with beautiful historic housing of all sizes and types. Richmond's population is presently a little over 33,000. I would call it a medium size town. 



Check out second story exteriors in old towns  -- you might discover some fine workmanship as well as beauty.



Saturday, January 14, 2012

RURAL CHURCH LADY


She ran a church rummage sale. 
Where I bought some old clay planters. 
We talked about her gardens.
 She gave me some hens and chicks plants. 
Martha
Her age is 84
Madison County, Kentucky 



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

WALKER EVANS -- 1930s RURAL PHOTOGRAPHER


Downie Bros.Circus ads on rural outbuilding

Lynchburg (state?)

Walker Evans, photographer
1936 -- Library of Congress


Early photographers have always captured my imagination --from the early tin types to mid-twentieth century. This time-frame was a trans-formative period based on wars and industrial growth. Much of what can be imagined from this period is found through the eyes of photographers. I like amateur photographers as well as the professionals. However, a favorite of mine from this era was a professional photographer that I label a cultural photographer  -- his name was Walker Evans. 
Evans, found creative passion in the humbler side of life -- what I call the reality of  life. He had a long career in photography but  his photos from the 1930s are the ones that I have always admired. These were main streets, small towns and people of our rural areas. Primarily these photographs were taken in southern states while he worked for the Resettlement Administration (RA) and then the Farm Security Administration (FSA) both Great Depression federal programs. 


SHOE SHINE STAND, SOUTHEASTERN U.S.
WALKER EVANS PHOTOGRAPHER 1936
Library of Congress

These early photos convince us that we, as a country, have changed, losing our former creative community  spirit. . But I feel there is a movement afoot that might result in bringing back some of our former significant values to small towns  and the rural coutryside. 

Take a look at these early photo icons of main street commerce. Their liquid ambiance feels welcoming and real.   


WATERFRONT IN NEW ORLEANS
FRENCH MARKET SIDEWALK SCENE, LOUISIANA
WALKER EVANS PHOTOGRAPHER -- 1935
Library of Congress

The French Market scene appears as a thoroughfare of legs, wheels, signs, and trade. Regulations seem unknown as vehicles park ever which way, signs protruding from on high and on the sidewalk. It almost feels like it's a fair.
LINCOLN MARKET, WINSTON SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA
WALKER EVANS -- 1935
Library of Congress

Aren't we glad that Evans captured this creative way of advertising -- using the store's exterior wall -- of course. 
SIDEWALK SCENE IN SELMA ALABAMA
WALKER EVANS -- 1935
Library of Congress

Alabama and the camaraderie of friends -- always present in the 1930s rural environment.
RURAL LOUISIANA
WALKER EVANS --  PHOTOGRAPHER -- 1936
Library of Congress

Walker's subjects were often of vernacular architecture along with other cultural materials. His photos  have a "stand alone" quality. They really can be presented with few accompanying words. 


RESOURCES:


Introduction to "Walker Evans," Museum of Modern Art Exhibition, 1971 


Walker Evans,  by Maria Morris Hanbourg, Jeff L. Rosenheim, Douglas Eklund, Mia Fineman


Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by Walker Evans (photographer) and James Agee


Library of Congress, Washington D. C.







Sunday, January 1, 2012

SHAGBARK HICKORY TREE PROVIDES BANQUET FOR WILDLIFE

SHAGBARK HICKORY TREE NEAR AN OLD COUNTRY CHURCH

A few weeks ago, I was meandering around a piece of property where an old country church stood  but was now abandoned. I had been to this property before and thought I could capture some better photos of the church than I had taken previously. 

As I wandered about, snapping photos, I nearly bumped into a tree. The tree that I had almost bumped into was a majestic Shagbark hickory tree that was back-lite by a dark blue clear sky. Its shaggy appearance was humorous yet appealing and its height and girth told me it was middle aged to elderly, appearing quite healthy. 


SHAGBARK HICKORY NUT HUSKS CRACKED OPEN 
ON THE GROUND BY THE TRUNK OF THE SHAGBARK TREE

I instinctively looked down at the ground to search for hickory nuts that I knew would have dropped  from the tree around  this time -- providing a rich food source for wildlife.  

There appeared to have been a banquet on the ground around the base of the tree. Nut husks were cracked open in fragments, fragments that once contained white nut meats. It was evident that some wild critters had certainly enriched their diets. It could have been any of the wildlife that can be found in the area such as Gray squirrels, Eastern chipmunks, White Footed mice, or wild turkeys -- all known to devour Shagbark nuts. 

Missing from the Shagbark hickory banquet were  bears that love the nuts as well as the native American population that used the nuts in their diet. 

This very Shagbark could be almost 200 years old as they are known to live that long. If it is, that means that it actually could  have had in its early life a few bears and native Americans feasting on its bounty. Perhaps these former area residents did visit this tree at one time. If only this tree could tell us its story.

RESOURCE:


Hilton Pond, Center for Piedmont Natural History