Our final theme introduction: the United States. Now here’s a place I know about! Or... should know about? I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I find myself more and more often wondering how much I really do know about the US. Who’s engineering this crazy train, anyway?
The Americas, of which we are only one part, are a truly expansive and wonderful group of continents. The history of even the Western-settling of the land is as diverse as those who already occupied it. With that being said, my main focus here will be on those who settled the woodsy landscapes of the British Colonies. I have been fascinated lately with the symbolism, symmetry, and colors used in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, so that has definitely shaped my thoughts on what to pursue here. Though, as all of the eastern lands here can claim, there was heavy Scotch-Irish settling as well. Truly, what makes the Americas unique, all of them, are the crosses of culture that took place. Despite trying their damnedest, early settlers even had to take on Native American culture. If they hadn’t, they would have died: from starvation, from cold, and from simply getting lost.
Also, my interest in woodworking has lead me to looking at a lot of “primitive” home furnishings lately. Now, when I say “interest in woodworking” you should know that it is not a well-practiced skill for me yet. Hence the interest in “primitive”.
Which is not to say that I could even achieve “primitive” level. But hey, I’m getting there.
A few years back I also went to the Frist museum in Nashville to see their Andy Warhol exhibition. At the same time the museum had an exhibition of Shaker woodworking. I can definitely tell you that the contrast between these two displays was intriguing. I spent hours walking through the straight lines, dark stains, and natural materials to then walk into a Warhol wonderland. The Shakers were design geniuses. Anything that can hold its austere weight next to Andy Warhol is deserving of a gold medal.
Anyhow, here are my thoughts for the American section of my Etsy shop (click here to see). I will focus on the Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch influences, with these materials and influences in mind: wood, steel, quilting, weaving, baskets, and raw carpentry, with natural tones, dark stains, greys and bright pops of folky colors. Here are some visual examples of what I have in mind: