‘Art of the Past’ creates new items with an old twist
Some people have a gift of taking something old and turning it into something new and beautiful. One such person is Sevierville artist Nancy G. Wilson who specializes in handmade folk art limited edition originals, which she creates from vintage materials.
“I consider my work historic American folk art,” stated Wilson speaking from her booth at the 29th Annual Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair where the artist shows her wears twice a year in July and October. “I have a good following of people who come to buy from me here at the show. I’ve also just started selling some of my pieces at two retail stores, The Common Good in Sevierville and Primitive Creations in the Arts and Crafts Community.
According to Wilson, authentic historic folk art is created from remnants of the past, inspired by the ingenuity of those who came before us. Wilson has been perfecting her art for more than 18 years using pieces of recycled furniture, fabrics, antique buttons, porch posts, papermache, old nails and more. “I had this one lady call me that had a large assortment of old fabrics. They were incredible, from the late 1800s,” Wilson stated, sounding like a child in a candy store. “It really got me going on the artwork again.”
Some of her more popular pieces include Folk art dolls, Raggedy Ann’s, woodcarvings, decoys, folkart paintings, paper mache’ and teddy bears. Primitive cats, rabbits, Santa’s, angels and various Americana pieces round out the collection.
A self-taught artist in folk art designs Wilson works with her husband Kenny who is also an artist. A woodcarver, Kenny stated, “If it is still good for something don’t throw it away. We might need that for something some day.”
When asked how long it takes to create a piece of artwork Wilson stated, “It’s hard to say because now I tend to work in groups. First I’ll work on all the bedposts, then move on to something else. It takes about two to three weeks to do a grouping.”
Wilson likes to keep the signature style of past folk art artists alive. Most of her works are one-of-a-kind due to the nature of the materials used in each piece. When a model is complete, Wilson tops it off with a hand written piece of parchment paper describing the story behind the ingredients used which come from a variety of places. “I use what they had in the region to create the different pieces,” stated Wilson.
After wholesaling her work and attending flea markets one of the promoters of the Gatlinburg Craftsman’s Fair told Wilson she should be doing art shows, not flea markets.
According to Wilson, “I started by catering to the public but my work is more of a collectible art that appeals to different people for different seasons. Schoolteachers like it because of the history behind the pieces, doll and teddy bear collectors like it because of what they collect, so I cater more to collectors now.”
Prices range from $20 for one of her Christmas ornaments to $6000 for a special custom piece.
“My work is important to me and I want more people to know about what I do, especially locally because this is my home. I think local people appreciate us [artists] more here because they expect to find good work in this area.”
For more information on Nancy Wilson’s work you can go to her website at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (865) 453-0319.