Folk Art

During the Bicentennial, “Folk Art” was self-taught art reflecting a community’s lore and tradition, and plays a role It Vaillancourt’s foundation. […]

What is folk art? And, why is it in the name?

An original wooden Butcher Shop Folk Art piece created by Judi in 1985.
An original wooden Butcher Shop Folk Art piece created by Judi in 1985.

Folk Art is simply an art that expresses the identity of a culture or community. During the Bicentennial, there was a large resurgence of craftspeople doing traditional folk art based upon historical references. This group of artists became very successful and folk art shows began to spring up around the country. Theorem painters, tin smiths, blacksmiths, furniture makers, and painters all recaptured traditional American Folk Art and during this time period Vaillancourt Folk Art was born. Judi would make reproduction clocks, Noah’s Arks, butcher shops, scherenschnittes, and developed a modern day chalkware based upon a late 19th century formula. She was the first to re-create the historic medium aided by historic confectionary moulds created between the late 19th century and earl 20th century. She did rabbits, lions, eagles and eventually santas. As time went on and the desire for American Folk Art declined, she focused more on Christmas. Since 1984, Judi is most famous for her Chalkware Santas, yet if you look at how it all began, you can still find her early folk art pieces in collections throughout the United States.

Although our final product is more in-line with museum quality fine art, we still use “folk art” in our name because we unlock the cultural identity and community that was locked within the historic chocolate moulds that act as the basis of our chalkware.

Folk Art clocks painted by Judi in the 1980s. Two versions pictured, a wooden face formed by woodworker Raymond Vandyke and a ceramic face by Eduardo Rodriguez via Car Studios (Uruguay).

The 2023 Chalkware Collection

The 2023 St. Valentine Santa (SWAK)

The Celtic Triquetra Knot Irish Santa