Posts in Magical Folk Art
The Spirit of Powderhorn

This project grew out of attempts to get ordinary passers-by to draw something small at an art fair. Turns out that being put on the spot to draw is really intimidating for the average person, but that arranging magnetic shapes on a board is much more accessible. The idea is to ground yourself in body and place - ideally a natural setting. While immersed in sensory information provided by this place and its inhabitants, create a pattern from life using combinations of point, line and arc (the building blocks of all pattern language). My first experiment with magnets used a black background, but because the idea is to engage with the spirit of place, it became obvious that a better ground would be reflective of the natural setting at hand, hence the map of Powderhorn Park, what I like to call the ‘jewel of our neighborhood’.

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Unicorn Anti-Hate Hex

This year has been such a departure from the norm for me, I’ll usually take January to rest up after the Holiday market season, but this year chose to plow through a deadline to submit images on the 1st of January, spending my birthday on the 31st of December working. Then there were literally mountains of books on folk art and folk magic so sift through - searching for nuggets of inspirational material to work from this Spring. The Liminal art show put on by Conspiracy of Strange Girls in mid-January, Huldufolk art show in March (which, if you hadn’t heard, was marred by the presence of crypto-fascists and was shut down for the disturbance). Last in a run of gallery shows was the Unicorn Art Show in April, and a series of 3 Hex signs modeled after a Pennsylvania Dutch barn art tradition. In contrast to the original unicorn hex for piety, these Anti-Hate Hexes were made in response to the events at Huldufolk (which was held in the same space as the Unicorn Art Show), as an antidote to the damage done to the community.

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Folking Up the Status Quo

This post contains the aggregated results of a Summer-long community sourced art project culminating in a workshop entitled ‘Folking Up the Status Quo’, while in residence at The Future Minneapolis. Afterward, the copy and images collected during the experiment were made into a self-published zine for distribution around South Minneapolis. Click to view Midwinter Folk Arts Vol 1 as a PDF document.

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Folk Art Self-Study

Folk art comes from direct experience with the landscape. Specific adaptations to local environments give rise to unique forms of creative expression, born out of necessity. The oldest known form of magic, pictographs and patterns have been used for millennia to tell our stories and appeal to natural forces for help in navigating worldly challenges. Because we are living through a time of great transition, I’m wondering how we can we use the collective power of our traditional folk art forms as seeds for reclamation and healing. In order to explore this potential, we would need to reinvigorate forgotten skills that were once passed from generation to generation. But I realize that many people don’t feel they have a connection to any folk art traditions.

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Magical Midwest Folk Art Tour

This photo essay is from a Summer road trip around the lower half of Lake Michigan. Mostly in search of the beach, I'll be honest, but also as a scouting mission to find out what folk art presents itself along the way. My mind has been filtering for living traditions, hidden in plain sight. Decorative marks form visual languages, speaking to our relationship with the landscape, telling of the ways we are beholden to and in love with creation. Traumatized by our collective past, we've stopped making folk art like we used to, stopped celebrating nature due to a psychic disconnection from it - as though we have been shot into space. Disoriented, we can start bringing ourselves back down to Earth, grounding through interaction with our local ecologies and healing community by observing ancestral art forms. This is an exploration of current stories being actively translated into new symbolic expressions.

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