My personal art collection includes many folk art pieces and others which I would describe as “post-traditional” folk art. By post-traditional I am referring to work where the artist has gone beyond recognizably traditional work, yet the influence of centuries of artists before them is clear in what they create. For myself, I have often relied on traditional textile work, especially quilting, for many of the patterns I incorporate into my own art work. My map collages and map quilts have been some of the best examples. During the creative process, I often think about expanding on folk art motifs.
Recently, I had one of those aha moments when I was watching an episode called Neighbors from the PBS series Craft in America (it’s a fantastic show!). The film included a segment on the ceramic artists Carlomagno Pedro Martínez and Magdalena Pedro Martínez in Oaxaca (you can watch it here). As Magdalena was demonstrating how she preserves and depicts traditional Oaxacan folk costumes in her ceramic work, I was immediately, instantly inspired!
I follow a blog of Polish folk costumes which got me thinking about how to depict the folk art of my Eastern European heritage within my own work. My collagescape series has been focused on capturing the palette of landscapes I wander through. Much of my work in 2017 centered on ideas of color and memory. It all is starting to coalesce in a new series where I capture the colors of Polish folk costumes. The first three pieces, shown here, are inspired by Kashubian folk costumes — a place some of my ancestors emigrated from about 130 years ago. You’re seeing a preview of what’s to come in 2018.