Posts Tagged ‘Barn Art’
Here in the Midwest, barn quilts are becoming ever more popular. These painted reproductions of the stitched variety can be found in many different sizes, colors, and patterns. Not only can barn quilts be spotted on the sides or gables of barns, but also on garages, sheds, and even on houses and fences.
These little pieces of artwork add an air of modern character to the agricultural historians they are typically associated with. The faded colors of the barn are offset by the bright hues contained in the quilt pattern. There may even be some farm and family history involved in the choice of the pattern. Barns that are decorated with a quilt stand out from others, especially because usually no two blocks are the same.
The two paintings by Tonya Crawford, Moon Farm I and II, commemorate these modern day pieces of art. She has illuminated the quilts on the two subject barns with moonlight, making them look as though they are glowing in the night. The focus on the quilts is quite delightful for fans of barn quilts. The pair of paintings would be a wonderful addition to the home of a barn quilt enthusiast. They are available from JHE’s Log Furniture Place’s Art Gallery, along with many other pieces of art that nicely complement your rustic furniture and décor.
While making my way back to the Midwest to establish our new home for the next few years, a thought that went through my head suddenly made me become very excited. I will again be living in the heart of barn country! I began making plans to purchase a nice camera and planning trips across the Iowa countryside to capture the aging American icons in every season and at any angle possible. I have really developed an affinity for these agricultural relics and want to preserve them in any way that I possibly can, whether that be by purchasing barnwood furniture, photographing old barns, or collecting barn art.
In doing some internet research about barn tours throughout my area, I happened upon a website that contained stories about different barns in many parts of the country. One story was about a round barn that was built in 1910 by a Vermont dairy farmer, and has since been renovated for use as a community center and events hall. As I read the story, it became very clear to me that these structures were built by technological geniuses of their time. They did not have all of the fancy gadgets that we utilize in today’s construction; instead, they had to scratch their heads while thinking about the design, use their pencils and erasers to draw it out, and learn by hands-on trial and error during the entire process.
Further reading informed me that during that time, the farming business was the bread and butter of the farmer, so he spent more money and time designing and building his barn than he did his dwelling. This particular round barn in Vermont was an astounding three stories tall and approximately 14,000 square feet. That is about 4-5 times the size of most modern homes! The barn was carefully designed to accommodate a milking operation. The lower levels had walkways around the outside and inside, and stanchions were built so that the wedge-shaped cattle fit into the circle with their heads to the inside and wider hips towards the outside of the barn. Typically, a silo was situated in the middle, and feed for the cattle was efficiently distributed directly from the silo and into feed bunks at the front of the stanchions. The top level of the barn was fashioned with ramps so that horse-drawn hay wagons could enter from one side, drop their load into the loft, travel around the circle, then exit back off the same ramp. The more traditional rectangular barns also usually required horses and wagons to enter and exit from the same ramp, but instead they usually had to back out of the barn.
Round barns became a very popular facet of the milking industry for quite a few years. A farmer who owned a round barn was usually known as a standout in his profession. The print pictured above, “Round Barn” by Warren Kimble, is an accurate tribute to the circular barns of American agriculture’s yesteryears. If you are a barn fanatic like I am, it would certainly be a worthy addition to your collection. Unlike today’s “skinny” mindset, it’s certainly refreshing to remember that it was “hip to be round” back in those days, and to remember how much hard work and thought went into those round beauties.
In recent years, the popularity of the metal barn star has flourished. Made in different sizes and covered in many different finishes, these stars have gained prominence as decoration in many different areas of houses and outbuildings. Once upon a time, different styles of stars were placed on barns to denote the builder of the structure. Because of their regal stature, their original purpose gave way to one of aesthetic value.
Barn stars can be seen all across the country. Perhaps because of the popularity of the barn star, many decorators have carried the star theme throughout their home. Collectors of star memorabilia seek to display the five pointed shape in many different ways. For hanging curtains, the Village Wrought Iron Curtain Rod and Holdbacks would make a star collector twinkle with delight. For washing up in the bathroom, the HMI Rust, Turquoise, or Red bathroom set outshines the competition. And at the end of a long day of star searching, your collector would love to relax with either the Barbwire Star or Luxury Star bedding ensembles.
Something about the five pointed star is very attractive to some collectors. Perhaps it is out of a sense of patriotism and the white stars on the blue field of the Star Spangled Banner. Maybe it is tied to the barn stars of yesteryear; the history and the meaning behind hanging a star up high for all to see. It could be that there is no real meaning at all, just a love for the simple shape of the star. Whatever the reason, help your star-loving collector put a little star power into your home to make it shine with distinction.
I am a creative person at heart. When I was young, I did a lot of drawing and painting…and was quite good at it. I took some art classes in high school, but my priorities had shifted at that point to having fun with my friends and chasing boys. After graduating high school, I dabbled with college, not able to decide what I wanted to do with myself when I grew up. I ended up pursuing graphic design and photography for some time at the local community college. Today, I have a degree in a completely different field…Human Resources Management…and no longer do much doodling or painting. These days my creativity has morphed into occasionally making gifts, completing some decorating projects for my baby’s nursery, and refinishing some of the “treasures” I find at the local thrift store.
For all of this creative energy that I have, one would think that the walls of my home would be filled with every type of artwork imaginable. Surprisingly enough, our walls are actually pretty bare. I am not completely sure why, but I think it is because I have a difficult time determining what I want to put up or how I want to arrange items on the wall and in the room. Or maybe it’s because I keep thinking that I can make, draw and paint my own home furnishings. However, after a lot of consideration and not much decision making, I still don’t have many things to hang on the walls.
Despite all of the indecision I have faced in the past, I truly believe that I have found a theme for my home. I am losing the fear of putting items up on the walls and not liking them. I am no longer looking for that perfect sign or picture to put up in “that spot”. If I find an item that I like, then I get it and worry about finding a place to put it later. It is rare that I can’t find somewhere in the house to put everything I bring home.
An inexpensive way to decorate walls is to use the tools that you already have. Because of my interest in photography, I have taken many digital photos with my camera and archived on my computer. Quite a few of them are of barns, a theme which I want to incorporate into my home. I am going to sort through them and have some of my favorite photos printed by an inexpensive online service. Once I find suitable frames for the printed pictures that match my décor, I can frame and hang them throughout the house. I might even mix them with other artwork and Country Barn by Dotty Chase. This is a perfect start to a country theme that can be carried throughout my entire home.