Friday, November 2, 2012

Folk Art Friday ~ Mary Azarian

Welcome to Folk Art Friday!

Today's featured folk artist is Mary Azarian, creating an all-encompassing folk art life by depicting folk art scenes via the old-ways method of WOOD BLOCK print.

Heritage and nostalgic scenes are alive and well in Mary's works: life on the farm, nature, bedtime stories and old medieval peasant life, are encompassed in old-time patterns and wrapped in a bit of lore...all within the specific technique of wood block printing.

As noted by Mary:

"I grew up on my grandfather’s small farm just outside Washington, DC. Grandpa had a few thousand chickens and a flock of geese that menaced the customers who came to buy his eggs. My uncle grew vegetables and had a farmstand. My interest in gardening developed at an early age and continues to this day.
I began drawing and painting at an early age and fell in love with woodcuts when I did my first relief print in the fourth grade. It was a 3”X4” lino block of an angel with “NOEL” at the bottom. It was a valuable lesson in the need to reverse words when doing a woodcut. The finished print read “LEON”.
Undeterred, I continued to do lino cuts until I got to Smith College where I studied printmaking with the one of the great 20th century printmakers, Leonard Baskin. I began to work on wood and have never lost my enthusiasm for the medium.

After graduating from college I moved to small hill farm in northern Vermont. My husband, Tom, and I farmed with horses and oxen, kept chickens, a Jersey milk cow and sheep.......We raised three sons who helped with our large gardens and maple syrup operation. It was a wonderful life and a great way to bring up children. These years on the farm became the inspiration for many of my prints.

....I (eventually) decided to see if it would be possible to earn a living selling woodcut prints. I began producing prints in black and white, printing each block by hand. Eventually I began adding color by hand-painting each black and white print, a non-traditional approach, to say the least. Finally, I found an old Vandercook proof press, the Rolls Royce of proof presses, and began using it to produce the prints.
In the 1970’s I begun to illustrate children’s books and have produced over 50 books, including Snowflake Bentley, which won the 1999 Caldecott Award for the best illustrated picture book of the year."

To see more of Mary's exquisite works, or to order, please see:

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