Monday, October 15, 2007

That Sad Little Piece Of Folk Art

You've been dying to know, haven't you, about what I did bring to be appraised...

Well, (drum roll) here it is:

Officially known as a woolie, this charming art piece had a much higher appraisal than I could have imagined. Mine is definitely not as old, nor as 'clean' in short tight stitches, as most woolies -- and valued accordingly (mine at $150, most others over $4,000) -- but it was lots more than I had paid ($4). And lots more than the estate sale had it priced at ($40). I figured the $40 had to be too high because, as Daddy says (when I mention estate sale and antique shop prices), "Well, it's still there... It didn't sell because the price is too high."

While doing research on woolies (for this wild and woolie article, full of history and fact) I began to seriously ponder my woolwork.

It certainly makes sense, given what I now know, that this particular American made woolie would be made later than most British woolworks -- so the circa 1930s-50s decree makes sense. Americans made few woolies, and those they did were made later (which also matches the later trend towards larger stitches). And being painted, it likely was created by a retired sailor. Which accounts for both the larger size and again, the later time period.

But it still seemed rather more 'primitive' or 'naive' than the other woolies I was seeing in photos...

Upon closer inspection though, there are many charming details which impress upon me that my woolie is authentic -- and the sailor had great artistic flair.

The flames & smoke are consistent with a boiler fire, which shows at least some rudimentary ship knowledge. And the flames on the lines are also most precise. The iceberg is reflected in the waters -- waters which have a choppy impressionistic quality, rather like a Monet. Clearly this sailor-artist was workin' it in this piece.

So I'm most proud of it, and even more charmed than when I first purchased it. The appraisal value is cool to know, but secondary.

Then again, if I had not brought it in to the appraiser, how would I know what it is called? I needed to know the name 'woolie' in order to research it. And find more of them.

Which brings me to two points.

First of all, I apologize to my woolie for calling it a "sad little piece of folk art." It is grand and I love her.

Second, while I am not likely to over-estimate the monetary value of my stuff (it's just not in my nature to do math -- and round up -- where the main issue is charm), I don't think I will ever again be so anxious about attending such events like Trash or Treasure. Or even getting appraisals.

We originally planned to only bring one thing each, but after a fab first round, we brought several more items the second day.

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