When Special Folk Art Deserves a Special Place

Sunset, November 1990 | Go to article overview

When Special Folk Art Deserves a Special Place


The difference between a clutter and a collection has more to do with the how than the what of an assemblage. Pictured here are six ways Western homeowners have made places for folk art. Two carve out space. Two use existing wall and ceiling space. Two revamp shelf space-all too often a disorganized catchall.

Small objects are more effective when grouped rather than scattered, and grouping should follow a theme-origin, size, color. All the schemes except the hanging masks allow one of the pleasures of collecting: holding pieces in your hands.

Carved-out space. To build the two display shelves at top center, Los Angeles architects Prats/Coffee cut into nonbearing walls a triangular niche at a corner (backed by a closet) and a 9-inch-deep, 14-inch-high linear opening along a hall. Both spaces were finished with gypsum board. The long shelf has an intimate scale that invites a close look at the south-of-the-border ceramics arranged there.

Hanging displays. To turn his stairwell into a gallery, Seattle architect Jim Hussey hung two Kwakiutl masks on clear fishing line tied to eye screws in ceiling joists. …

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