Antiques & Collectibles

“Folk” Art

by Patrick K. Robinson

Folk, Outsider, Brut, Intuitive/Visionary, Naive… There certainly are many labels for art done by those who may not have had the training of the traditional art school. Some of the terms mentioned above may even cross over or are very closely related.

First off I will get into what industry titles look like and then give my very brief comment on how I view this, since dealing in art, antiques, collectibles, and rarities for over 31 years, starting at age 13 and now being fifty-two.

Folk art many times can incorporate what might appear to be crafts and decorative art, which has some roots in the European countries, but also very early U.S. history as well, and many times is created by untrained artists. Also folk art may have been centered around a particular culture, for instance face jugs, or also called ugly jugs, which I have written about before in this paper, have an early history in the African culture.

Outsider Art and Naive artists can be labeled such because of having little contact or involvement with the art world in general. Some research shows the term outsider was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for art brut (French for “raw art”) a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside of official culture. Art Brut originally denotes art created by psychotic individuals who existed almost completely outside culture and society. Strictly speaking it refers only to the collection de l’art brut (literally “Collection of Outsider Art,” sometimes referred to as “musee de l’art brut”). A museum dedicated to outsider art is located in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The labels of Intuitive art/Visionary art are Raw Vision Magazine’s general terms for outsider art. Visionary Art, unlike other definitions here, can often refer to the subject matter of the works, which includes images of a spiritual or religious nature. You can look into this more by checking out Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, based in Chicago, which operates a museum dedicated to the study and exhibition of intuitive and outsider art.

The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore Maryland is dedicated to the collection and display of visionary art. I mention all of these art form labels because, on January 12, 2020 Kitson Arts Alliance will install a folk art exhibit that will run through the end of March 2020, at the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock, PA. The Dietrich is is partnering with us and hosting a “Meet the Artists” opening reception on January 19, 2020.

For this exhibit, we will be sharing a particular type of folk art called Tramp Art. Before I get into the exhibitors, let me explain my thoughts of the aforementioned art labels. As previously mentioned, being in this business for over thirty years, I have found many artists that have had zero association with the art world and are naturally talented, self taught, amazing artists that paint in watercolor, oil, pastel, work in clay, bronze, sculpting.

I also know artists that have spent many years in art schools and do great work in many different mediums and have created some amazing folk art, which is typically “labeled” as “untrained” artisan work. Here is the truth of the matter, an artist whether trained or untrained, natural, self taught, whatever the situation, is creating and expressing themselves, based on the total sum of everything that has happened to them throughout their lives. The good, the bad, the challenges, their entire lives’ physical and mental experiences are coming out into their works, one way or another. Let the art speak for itself and even if it fits a label or not, that is ok.

Back to our great upcoming exhibit with our partners at the Dietrich Theater. Matthew Howell, who is bringing back the old art form of Tramp Art will have some traditional Tramp Art boxes, as well as many other carved animals and figures. Matthew repurposes wood from old homes from the early to mid 1900s that have been torn down. The artist Jennifer Sause Brennan will have some very cool folk art – wall-mounted carousel figure heads you have to come and see to know – as well as full sixteen-inch mounted carousel figures, and some great small sculptures too. The artist Cheryl Korb, known for great oil-painted folk art animals on repurposed vintage wood, and some painted scenes as well. The artist Stephen Colley who teaches art along with his wife Amy at the Dietrich Theater, will have some hand-sculpted clay face mugs, again you have to come and see these to really know. Also from the collection of Patrick Robinson, some antique pieces of Tramp art from the late 1800s to the early to mid 1900s along with some other folk art.

Please join Kitson Arts Alliance and our host the Dietrich Theater on January 19, 2020 from 2 to 4pm, and – some exciting news, we will also be celebrating Kitson Arts Alliance’s four-year anniversary. Come out to this great, free, community event!

Until next quarter, happy art, antique and collectible hunting!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Patrick K. Robinson is a life-long collector (since the ripe old age of nine), antiques specialist, and kid-at-heart entrepreneur who is passionate about hearing YOUR stories about the items YOU collect, the cherished antique YOU’VE acquired, the family heirloom YOU’D like to know more about. Co-founder & Creative Director of the Kitson Arts Alliance and owner of Robinson Group International (offering great collectibles online at HotGavel.com) and Tunkhannock’s Kitson Gallery at Pen Corners, Patrick invites kids of all ages (7 to 77 and beyond) to share your story by contacting him at rgroup@emcs.net or by visiting his Facebook page, Kitson Gallery.

Down on the Farm

A Case for Raw Milk

by Gerald & Tina Carlin

 

A bill was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives “to prohibit Federal interference with the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products that are packaged for direct human consumption.” H. R. 5410, the “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2019” was introduced by Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky. As of December 12, 2019, the bill had 17 co-sponsors, including none from New York and only one from Pennsylvania, Congressman Lloyd Smucker from Lancaster County.

So why is this important? There are currently 40 states in the U.S. that allow legal access to raw milk through sales for human consumption, raw pet milk, or herd share agreements. The bill would prevent the federal government from restricting sales across state lines if the states allow raw milk sales.

Currently, two states adjacent to Pennsylvania do not allow raw milk sales, New Jersey and Delaware.

The Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (POM) went into effect in 1924 and soon became the standard practice. Pasteurization was intended to prevent diseases caused by poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods. In 1973, the federal government made pasteurization mandatory for all milk involved in interstate commerce. With the advances in stainless steel tanks, milking equipment, refrigeration, sanitation, and inspections, pasteurization of milk has become less necessary, if it is needed at all. Farmers who have raw milk permits undergo more rigorous inspections and are held to a higher standard than conventional dairy farmers. This ensures that the raw milk that they produce is safe for human consumption.

Pasteurization of milk damages enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile proteins and kills some beneficial bacteria. Now Ultra-Heat Treated (UHT) milk is becoming more common. Some call this “dead milk.” This practice sterilizes the milk, allowing a shelf life of several months. Even most organic milk is now UHT. Not all milk that is UHT is labeled as such. There have been reports of conventional pasteurized milk lasting several months without souring. Homogenization of milk breaks up the milk fat and makes it less digestible and less beneficial to the human body.

Fairlife, now 100% owned by Coca Cola as of January 3, 2020, is both Ultra-filtered (UF) and UHT. Ultra-filtration forces milk through membranes under high pressure, removing lactose, fat, and some other nutrients. The protein is retained, but the question remains has the protein been altered by this process?

Milk has been called “nature’s perfect food.” Dairy farmers take pride in producing a quality product. They want high quality, nutritious milk, and dairy products available to the public. Yet, when milk leaves the farm it often becomes a series of industrial ingredients. Milk is taken apart and components are used and assembled in various ways to make dairy products in a much different way than in the past.

Because of this, a growing number of people are realizing the health benefits of drinking raw milk and eating dairy products made from raw milk. Many who can not tolerate pasteurized and homogenized milk have no problem consuming raw milk. In spite of known benefits of raw milk, federal and state governments and the “dairy industry” stand in the way of people having access to this nutritious product. Furthermore, they stand in the way of small dairy farms being able to market directly to the public, thus hindering the economic viability of small farms.

Gently pasteurized cream-line milk is the best alternative to raw milk. Any on-farm processed milk or dairy products are likely superior to the commercially processed varieties and the money goes to the local farmer and helps the local community.

Please contact your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to co-sponsor H. R. 5410 which would be a step in the right direction.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Gerald & Tina Carlin are the owner/operators of Carlin Farm and the 4 Seasons Farm Market. The 4 Seasons Farm Market (located on the farm at 3064 SR 3005, Meshoppen, PA 18630) is open year-round. Call 570-833-4592 for hours & directions.

Hops & Vines

Laura’s Little Corner at Hops & Vine

by Laura Yale

 

As days grow slightly longer and a new decade has begun, I welcome you, my dear readers, to my little corner at Hops and Vine. On this latest adventure along our Northeastern Pennsylvania ale and wine trail, we have a couple of winter months upon us which means a lot of hard work in the fields for both industries is now paying off behind the scenes. Both brew masters and winemakers are very busy concocting libations to tantalize our tastes in 2020 in order to keep up with supply and demand. And lucky for us all, they are off to a phenomenal start!

Like winter turns to spring and the trees and flowers begin to bud, the local beer and wine industry just blossoms this time of year by branching out of the norm and showcasing their creativity. Our brewers are taking their craft to the next level by using a variety of different methods to develop multiple varieties of stouts, the finest of English-style brown ales, chocolate lagers, and many infused beer combinations while our vintners are introducing us to some amazing award winning reds, elderberry wines, and other berry wines which are perfect for this time of year – especially with the coming of both Valentine’s and St Patrick’s Day.

Some of these creations are seasonal, some are developed for fun, some for customer feedback but all of them are about truly pleasing the ever-changing palate of the consumer. I am in awe of what is currently being produced right in our own backyard and just like our local purveyors I am growing with knowledge by visiting with them along my way.

The most interesting lesson among my travels comes from my friends in the beer industry and how just attending a few regional brewery events called “Firkin Fridays” opened me to a whole new vocabulary of craft brewing terminology. It had me asking all kinds of questions such as, “What is a firkin, how is it used, and what is its significance?” Those few simple inquiries developed into full conversations and a combination of terms that are linked primarily to the beer vessel itself and how the brew is processed. So what exactly is a firkin, you ask? Join me as I delve into a wee bit of beer history and what I have learned.

A firkin is actually a type of smaller beer cask based on the Middle Dutch word vierdekijn meaning “fourth” that dates back to the mid-15th century as an ale vessel. The beer produced in firkins differs from the traditional beer we are used to in kegs as it is made without carbon dioxide and is not pressurized so it has no fizzy taste or help to move it through the tap lines. Firkin’s brewing contents are unpasteurized and conditioned in the firkin by the brew master’s addition of live yeast and a layering of flavors to the cask which all ferment in the closed vessel at around 55 degrees. Once the process is complete, a tap much like a faucet is driven into the side of firkin and the beer is expelled by the use of gravity alone and served room temperature for no more than 48 hours. These small batches are rich not only in flavor but in history. Isn’t it so amazing the same methods of crafting beer from centuries ago are being done locally?

This journey has been so refreshing! Between all the information I have gathered and have been studying and the lasting memories made, it was an absolute pleasure! I know it will be for you all too! So please join me and carve your own path down our local wine and ale trail with your family and friends. With the extraordinary flavors popping up everywhere, you can surely tell Spring is definitely in the air!

Hope to see you all next time at Laura’s Little Corner at Hops and Vine! Until we meet again, Cheers!

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Yale and her husband, Dan, are the long-time owners of The Fireplace Restaurant, 6157 US-6, Tunkhannock, PA 18657. The restaurant proudly features a variety of local wines & beers, the artwork of local artists throughout, and locally-sourced foods as much as possible. The Fireplace Restaurant is open 11am-10pm daily, until 11pm Fridays and Saturdays.