If “folkwords” was a word, truer folkwords were never spoken:
“Nobody visits a garden to see the mulch.”
I just love that quote. It was written by a gardener whose name I can’t recall but bless him for making that up and making me smile, which brings us along to the point of this blog. Folk art is good for you.
The health benefits of folk art – be it song, painting, craft or book – can be summed up in a few, brief statements.
Folk art is good for the circulation.
A good folk painting or sculpture fills my beating heart with joy beyond what I can absorb with my eyes alone.
* Think Mose Tolliver, Charlie Lucas, Bill Traylor and Howard Finster.
Folk art is good for the soul.
A good folk song lifts my spirits even if my brain doesn’t quite understand the meaning.
* John Prine’s “Lake Marie,” “Camp Town Ladies” or “Bringing in the Sheaves,” (I used to think they were singing about clean sheets).
Folk art is good for the brain.
A book written by a “non-writer” who actually lived his story stretches my mind out of the box marked “acceptable literature” and makes it more elastic.
* Co. Aytch, by Sam Watkins is my favorite example. Dog Stories, by my friend Jane’s grandmother, is another.
Folk art is good for the body.
The unstructured nature of any outsider art – a rooster made of welded farm implements, a nice piece of graffiti, a loosely-played blues riff – instantly soothes me, like sliding my legs under an old quilt.
* Look on the refrigerator of any young family to see it.
Too much mulch needlessly neatens the camellia’s unruly beauty. So many well-trained artists produce work that is, well, over-trained. I admire this carefully crafted work with my mind. I adore folk art with my self.
The more folk art I live with, the longer I am likely to live. Whatever age does to me, folk art can only make better.
I hope to review in this blog at least one good folk art book, song or collection each month. I’ll try and keep the mulch to a minimum.