American folk art used to have a bad rap, labeled primitive or naive compared to other fine art. Traditional woven rugs, carvings, and quilts - once valued in families and small communities for their utility - are now recognized by the larger world as a legitimate bottom up approach to beautiful design. Created by self-taught artists, they have their own patterns and expressed traditions, unique to region and individual maker. Think Navajo rugs, or the vibrant quilts of Gees Bend, and you know what I mean.
Folk art is a welcome way to add character, history or humor to a room. Stark white walls or neutral interiors, when combined with the bright colors of a block print, the textured feel of a sculpture, or hand stitched flag, are both calm and dynamic. (Just a tip: choose just a few great pieces to avoid looking like a exhibit at Colonial Williamsburg, or like rural New England threw up all over your living room.)
Enjoy these modern and clean interiors, punctuated by great American folk art.
(Images: Design*Sponge; Apartment Therapy; Auction Decorating; Westchester Magazine; Apartment Therapy; Cote de Texas; Architectural Digest; and Rural Intelligence.)