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Letters from Paul Schobernd


Folk Art...


Andy et al - Whoa, did you ever trip my trigger! This is a full-fledged rant so read at your own discretion. I get this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach followed by a full-blown sense of righteous indignation every time I see an old tool covered with another coat of slob art paint!

I don't know who told some of these folks it was "folk-art" to ruin old tools and turn them into wall hangings and shelf-sitters to be ogled by every half wit that can't tell the difference between art and refuse.

Folk art is something to be treasured. It is rare and innocent and when you see it, it has an authenticity and naivete' that is immediately apparent. It is art borne out of necessity and was a way to bring a sense of color and beauty into what was often a grey and brutal world of poverty. It deserves our respect.

Every person who decides to paint old tools should be issued a life-time supply of cheap circular saw blades made in Taiwan or Indonesia so that they can work this desire to create out of their system without doing damage to that which matters and offending the senses with ersatz art.

Now, I'll shut up. Thank you for listening. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the values of the LIST MOMS. I bear sole responsibility for the content herein.

Paul in Normal

Not too long ago a friend brought me a mess of saws he had gotten at some sale or other. These saws were beyond any restoration. I wouldn't even take them home. These saws can be painted, and the world will never miss them as they hang on some desolate wall. But, yeah, I also object to mutilation of good useable saws. The problem is that the saw painters have no knowledge of the value we put on old saws. To them it is just a cheap canvas to put some paint on and sell for a profit. They are not deliberately ruining fine old saws. They just don't know any better.

Forgive them, for they know not what they do. Sound familiar?


James, I am not sure who is in the position to forgive whom. Seems to me that there are more saw and plane painters than users and collectors! Or, maybe they are just more prolific--who can forget chartreuse trees painted with sponges?

I'm not ready to consign these folks to the netherworld just yet - that's not within my purview. But, there may be a special place in perdition for those who corrupt the values and innocence of others. Art is more than a word and coming from the wrong mouth it sounds like blasphemy.

I still like giving them a lifetime supply of 99 cent circular saw blades, I can even concede all the porcelain bed pans, sad irons and bite-my-tongue, even the old washboards, but it pains me sorely regarding the latter.

The one thing I love about our country is that we have been granted the inalienable right to make total fools of ourselves. Then, we can get up the next day and try again to get it right. Tool painters don't need my forgiveness, they need lessons in art! I am content to let God sort out the rest of the problem.

But, I think I'll keep being the voice crying in the wilderness. We all have our soapbox issues that keep us occupied. I think we all need a little fire in the belly to keep us from getting complacent.

Very Respectfully, Paul
in Normal, Illinois
January 30, 2006


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