seed pod newsletter
© 2000 Maria Pahls
"She gets that from her father's side of the family"
© 2000 - Maria Pahls
seed pod #077
© Copyright 2000 Maria Pahls
Published to the internet
by arrangement with Homespun Peddler.

Fence Post
the fence post
(editor's letter)

dear friends:

with fall bold and bright all around many of us find that we are making the usual preparations to bring warmth to our homes. besides the usual festive scatterings of dried pods, flora, berries, pine cones, acorns, gourds and twigs you might well want to consider making groupings or "studies" of autumnal colored primitives. during october i like to have a "black display". i use a small set of spice drawers with a painted cloth crow perched atop. in front i set a black cat atop a grinning jack o lantern and a small black chair and bench. the black really looks super and any color that i introduce (such as orange) just "jumps" out. you might consider pumpkin orange and actually include pumpkins in your display. or what about a wonderful display of white including those great white pumpkins? remember too, that pumpkins can be painted to any color that suits your fancy. to keep un-carved pumpkins of natural colors and those that are painted a bit longer, spray with several coats of a good fixative before displaying. for carved pumpkins place petroleum jelly on the exposed flesh to reduce the loss of moisture, but avoid spraying with sealers.

unwelcome guest of late my reading has really been limited as i have been plunged into painting my children's rooms...but i did come across a thought provoking quote about folk art in "country homes antiques" quarterly. the interviewee said:

"folk art...which i define as being something made by an untrained artist, usually for his own enjoyment or to give as a gift....folk art never looks like anyone else's work, it's never intentionally quaint, and it is seldom if ever made for sale."

then i thought how this might apply to me. really i have had little to no formal training...a year and a quarter at university mixing colors to paint tedious little paint chips to me doesn't qualify as being "art educated"... although i did enjoy the mandatory english and writing classes.... let's see- so i am not "art educated"...then comes made for "enjoyment or to give as a gift"...well i do certainly feel a great sense of enjoyment when creating and i do tend to keep many of the pieces i create. the part i'm stuck on is "selling". i find i sell just enough to get by but never much more. i don't have the desire to mass produce beyond more than a few of one thing. i do enjoy making prints of my drawings because i would find it hard to part with the originals.. when and where is the line drawn between mass production and art? is it still "art" after the um-teenth time it's made? or is it cheapened in some way? i many of the great folk artists of this time or any time made dozens or more of one item to sell for profit. perhaps just a hand full. when producing replaces creating how can it be beneficial for the artist?

primitively yours, maria pahls

tips & techniques


this technique, although meant for wood, can be adapted for other media as well. as an alternative you might want to try incorporating hot wax drippings or the use of a heat gun for other interesting effects.

there are many combinations of layering and applying resist. used on plain wood the wood color will show thru the finished paint. wax applied over a primed then painted surface topped with a secondary color will allow the first color to show thru the second. the process can be repeated with multiple layers of paint. the important thing is to first do a test strip on a small piece of wood before beginning any project to check what the final result will be.

shown are two examples of the wax resist. the orange sample was waxed then painted. the wax was removed to expose the wood.

the green sample was painted orange, waxed then painted green. the wax was removed to expose the orange paint.

using a bee's wax square or candle or paraffin block randomly apply, marking the wooden surface or primed and painted surface as if you were coloring. press hard and go over areas well. wax bits may fall off during rubbing... waxed areas will not accept paint that is applied over them-thus showing the wood or other painted surface beneath. apply paint as you normally would. when dry use a putty knife to gently remove the wax from the wood by lightly scraping. this will also distress the surrounding wood making the look of the piece more "believable". sanding and additional distressing such as hitting with chains or antique staining can be done.

basic primitive armature

Shown are the basic static doll and cat forms, the paiper mache cat head is inserted during the wrapping process.

the idea of these armatures is not to make the finished creation so much "pose-able"( although some posing may be possible) but to create a base shape on which to "build". i hope you find this versatile technique useful.

choose wire that is strong yet still flexible enough to bend easily with a pliers to form a basic shape such as human or animal or geometric (round for a snow man face etc.) using the illustrations as guides you can bend wire to form the shapes.

finished cat with paiper mache head, wrapped armature, stitched and painted. by maria pahls 1999.

hold rolled wads of fabric to the wire then tightly wrap with strips of cloth to keep in place (pin where needed until piece is complete then tack in place with needle and thread as needed.) some wrapped armatures need no sewing because of the tightness of the wrapping. if you stitch or not will also depend on the final application paiper mache should call for little to no stitching.

wrapped armatures are ideal to paint over "as is" and dress as dolls. my favorite is to use paiper mache over them either entirely or just a small portion such as face and hands for a doll. whether you paiper mache or paint the armature you may want to take it one step beyond and apply melted wax for an really great effect.


1. to or toward this place.
2. located on the near side.
(also: hithermost-nearest to this place; hitherto-until this time and hitherward-hiter.)

yon (or yond)-yonder
1. being at an indicated distance, usually within sight.
2. in or at that indicated place.
3. over there.

a square dance or the music for a ho-down tip toe witch

1. an informal performance by folksingers, typically with participation by the audience.
2. an unidentified or unidentifiable gadget.

a festive party or celebration

a club or cudgel, esp. one of oak or blackthorn.

an ugly, mischievous elf or goblin.

1. a shelf or projection at the back or side of the inside of a fireplace used for keeping things warm.
2. a hobgoblin.

1. a trough carried over the shoulder for transporting loads such as bricks.
2. a coal scuttle.

a naive or gullible rustic.

time long past.

crow on pumpkin

burlap sack

American Primitive gallery
594 Broadway
New York, New York 10012
contact: Aarne Anton
telephone: (212) 966-1530, fax: (212) 343-0272
hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11:00-6:00

book wormie   book reviews
books of interest

reminisce this sweeeet little magazine is really swell they tell you all about it on their web site

$32 per year pub by marka chervenka
antique & collectors reproduction news (ACRN)

Little by Little
Six Decades of Collecting American Decorative Arts
by Nina Fletcher Little
Paperback - 308 pages
Reprint edition (July 1998)
Society for the Preservation
ISBN: 0874518660

American Painted Furniture 1790-1880
by Cynthia V. Schaffner, Susan Klein (Contributor)
Hardcover - 224 pages
(January 1998)
ISBN: 0517700832

shaker woodenware a field guide vol 1
by june sprigg and jim johnson
1991 berkshire house, lee ma
160 p paper back
out of print
ASIN: 0936399066

holiday collectibles
vintage flea market treasures
by lissa bryan-smith, richard smith
paperback - 128 pages (september 1998)
krause publications
isbn: 0870697692

Miller's Antiques Encyclopedia
by Judith Miller (Editor), Amanda Patton (Illustrator)
Hardcover - 560 pages (October 1998)
Mitchell Beazley
ISBN: 1857327470

Antique & Vintage Clothing
A Guide to Dating & Valuation of Women's Clothing 1850 to 1940
by Diane Snyder-Haug
Paperback - 125 pages (August 1996)
Collector Books
ISBN: 0891457135
spider web
web sites of members & other sites of interest

skookum dolls

paper collectibles

sampler catalog

antique fishing lures

mummert sign co.

ever wondered how they made paint in the 1800's? what about some recipes for paint, varnish, inks & paiper mache????
this page is great:

suppliers: teeny witch

handcraft designs clays from around the world

historic home supply

old house parts co.

october has no butterflies
and so we told jack frost
to make a million right away
no matter what the cost
and so he painted all the leaves
a lovely red and brown
then he shook the branches hard
and made them flutter down
jack frost
Jack Frost prints avaliable


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copyright 2000 maria pahls~the seed pod all rights reserved. no part of this newsletter may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review with appropriate credits; nor may any part of this newsletter be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means -- electronic, mechanical, photo- copying, recording, or other -- without written permission from the publisher. photographs posted on homespun peddler site by permission of photographers and are protected under this copyright. eproduced without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a
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