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 refers to the artistic expressions created by ordinary people within a particular culture or community. It often encompasses a wide range of art forms, including painting, sculpture, pottery, and textiles. Folk art typically emphasizes simplicity, practicality, and a connection to the traditions and beliefs of a particular group of people.

During the Bicentennial, there was a large resurgence of craftspeople doing traditional folk art based upon historical references.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.

One way in which Vaillancourt chalkware has changed the tradition of folk art is by introducing a greater level of refinement and detail to the craft. While traditional folk art often emphasizes simplicity and a rough-hewn aesthetic, Vaillancourt chalkware is known for their intricate detailing and lifelike appearance. Additionally, the popularity of Vaillancourt chalkware as collectibles has helped to bring the art form to a wider audience, and has encouraged a new generation to explore the possibilities of this unique medium.

Today, although our final product is more in-line with museum quality fine art, we still use “folk art” in our name because we share the cultural identity and community that was once locked away within the historic chocolate moulds that acted as the basis of our original 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).

With Summer over, we're ready to start decorating for Halloween!

Pre-Order The 34th Starlight: Midnight Forest Santa With Sack of Gifts

All pumpkin, no spice.