True, it’s not the same without Sam The Dot Man, but the famous Fearrington Folk Art show in North Carolina, as everybody knows, is still really, really great.
Sam, who must be 80 something now, is reportedly in a nursing home in South Carolina, but there’s still the Cap Man — so named because of his bottle cap-encrusted pick up truck — and Miz Thang and her vibrant, intricately cut-out Country singers and Bluesmen (she usually sells out), Mama Girl and her newspaper and glue creations (the only art supplies, she, a former sharecropper, had at her disposal), and Missionary Mary Proctor, whose artwork features lots and lots of buttons.
I just got back from Fearrington, me, the only Northerner. It was a blast seeing my fabulous-o Southern artist pals – and their crazy great art cars—and visit with all the folks – 2,000 of them this year — who flock to this little town near Chapel Hill for the chance to see, and buy, some of the best outsider and folk art around.
We love this show, for a ton of reasons. The people who attend are super friendly and they really like and appreciate the kind of art we make. Colorful, wacky, straight-from-the-heart, authentic, unpretentious art, made by people outside the mainstream of the traditional art world. (Hence, the term “outsider” art, which you may have heard of, although maybe not, if you’re from boring New England.)
Also there’s Gilda and Kerstin, the two amazing women who organize the show every year. They feed us breakfast every morning, which of course includes grits and biscuits, and on Saturday night we’re treated to dinner at the local award-winning restaurant.
An added bonus for me was the weather. It was 79 degrees down there. Green grass, flowers all over the place, tulips and daffodils and pansies and hyacinth, birds singing in the blossoming trees, and off in the distance, at dusk, you could hear the spring peepers croaking away.
(I’m writing this from cold gray Rhode Island, where, agh, we’re about to get slammed by yet another snowstorm. )
Oh, and another thing about Fearrington: there is no booth fee for artists — pretty unheard of. All they ask is that we bring our very best work, which of course we’re all very happy to do.
Some of the other talented Fearrington artists…
CM and Grace Kelly Laster
These are just some of them; the rest you can see if you click on the Fearrington Folk Art Show link below.