Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blogging along on Lincoln’s 200th Birthday!

If Honest Abe could see the spectacular furniture and accessories being presented at our upcoming show I think he would be impressed and well pleased! It’s great fun to think that Lincoln would have seen most all of these pieces in their original form during his lifetime. And we’re certainly fortunate that a number of today’s contemporary craftsmen and artisans are making outstanding reproductions of the extremely scarce originals, just as they were made 150 to 200 years ago!

Did you know that ASL Pewter ( will be participating in our spring Country Folk Art Festival provided all the pewter for last year’s John Adams Special on HBO? Tom & Pat Hooper are wonderfully talented artisans who make all forms of traditional pewter as well as contemporary pieces.

We’re thrilled to have Randall & Susy O’Donnell ( returning to the show, presenting exquisite reproductions of formal period furniture. Randall, who also does custom pieces, will be demonstrating some of his furniture-making techniques in his booth at the show. We have witnessed an example of Randall’s custom work when we got to see a reproduction fireplace mantle and surround that he created for a customer in Illinois. Exceptional!

And talk about fun. You’ll want to see Windsor chair maker, Jim Van Hoven ( demonstrate in his booth...”How to build a Windsor chair on a Weekend!” For those of you who don’t know about Windsor chairs, they were originally made in England. The form first appeared in this country about 1720 in Philadelphia, eventually taking on a unique American style. Windsor chairs are considered to be one of the most comfortable chairs ever produced, and the outstanding reproductions available from Jim at our show are not only comfortable, but sturdy! Unlike English Windsors, the versions made in this country were originally painted and much more graceful in design than their English counterparts. Various different woods were used in the construction of American Windsor chairs, and in order to disguise this fact, most all of them were painted, providing a much more pleasing appearance. Incidentally, antique American Windsor chairs retaining their original painted surface make any died-in-the-wool collector’s heart skip a beat! And of course, the high prices will do exactly the same! But fear not, Jim’s Windsors are definitely affordable!

Nancy Rosier, of Rosier Period Art, ( an outstanding theorem painter, who was a guest speaker at a Colonial Williamsburg Symposium last year, will be joining us once again in March. The Williamsburg Symposium was entitled “Remember me when this you see” Embroidered and Painted Arts of the New Republic. Nancy will be presenting her authentic reproductions and classic interpretations of this incredibly beautiful art form, which are a perfect highlight for traditional or contemporary décor. A theorem is a type of still life, with stencil forms painted on paper or velvet.

We’ll end our “Blog” for now, but watch for upcoming ones! And be sure to mark your calendar for the spring Country Folk Art Festival on March 20, 21, & 22 at the new Kane County Fairgrounds Convention Center on Randall Road in St. Charles, Illinois.
Lee & Judy Marks

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Our Very First Post - Lee Marks

As I’m sitting here at the computer on a cold, blustery winter day my thoughts turn to spring and the excitement brewing, as we plan our 27th annual Country Folk Art Festival. Many folks who check out our website or phone us are not really clear in what we’re all about.

So, for all who wonder just what we’re up to, here’s some tidbits for your perusal. People who attend our shows tell us they have literally been “blown away” at what they’ve seen! They’ve found an eclectic selection of furniture and decorative accessories that they’ve never seen anywhere else. Many of these same people, including our younger customers, said the things they’ve found at our shows have solicited rave reviews and enabled them to totally transform their interior décor and establish a refreshing new look. Their homes no longer look like everyone else in the neighborhood!

And for the guys out there who wouldn’t be caught dead at a craft show, you can relax and eliminate those thoughts completely! It’s perfectly okay to tag along with your wife or girlfriend. In fact, when you see our show we’re sure you’ll be hooked! We’re not your typical craft show that you can find anywhere in the country on a given weekend with the same repetitive and boring merchandise. In fact, we’re not a craft show at all. What we are is wonderfully unique show featuring the finest award-winning artisans and craftsmen offering a incredibly diverse selection of handmade furniture and accent pieces. And it’s all handmade in America and presented by the individual craftsmen who made it. No imports. No mass-produced merchandise. No gift show items.

A great example for the men who need a little urging from their wives would be to visit the booth of the Great Northwoods Trading Company. Owners Mike & Nancy Patek, former TV set designers, offer a collection of wonderfully creative signs, boxes, fishing & hunting memorabilia as well as holiday-themed items, ideal for your own home or as a gift for that impossible-to-please friend or relative.

Enough “blogging” for one day, but please stay turned. We’ll be sending along some great news about the many exciting artisans & craftsmen who will be joining us at our March show. Think Spring! Stay Warm! Lee & Judy