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      Folk Art collage

The Illinois State Museum has a fine collection of folk art made or used in Illinois in the nineteenth century. Folk art is art made by self-trained artists or trained artisans. These artists made a wide variety of decorative works of art such as paintings, carvings, textiles, and pottery.

Each of these works of art has a story behind them. The pieces of art chosen for this online exhibit have been organized by two types of stories.

Heartfelt stories came from written records left by the artist, maker, or owner that showed the object expresses an emotion he or she felt strongly about -- such as love for a family member, friends, or country.

Handmade stories tell about the particular process the artist or maker used to create a work of folk art -- the techniques of stencil painting, the characteristics of genre painting, or the process of weaving. These objects undoubtedly had heartfelt stories, too; however, the museum records did not reflect this information.

Every family has objects that have emotional and historical meaning associated with them. By writing down these associations, we enrich the objects for our descendants and for people who want to learn about our culture. 

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