Don Noyes has always been fascinated by the folk art of the Pennsylvania Germans, particularly the colors and the whimsical nature of the carvings. His first exposure to Pennsylvania German folk art came in the late 1960s when he traveled with his wife, Jane, several times a year to Pennsylvania to buy antiques.
In the process they became acquainted with many dealers who shared their knowledge and collections with the couple, who found that the folk art carvings always interested them the most. In 1991 his wife started encouraging him to get serious about his desire to carve.
Although he grew up with a penknife in his pocket and had whittled all his life, he never seemed to finish the pieces until he started carving birds. As he drew a pattern for his first bird carving, everything fell into place. He spent a week carving the piece, which he and Jane called a “goonie bird.” He painted the whimsical bird in vivid colors with lots of spots, and “that was the beginning.”
Artists appearing in the 20201 Directory of Traditional American Crafts have been selected, and the best of their handiwork has been photographed at Cedar Grove, an 18th Century house museum operated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Look for the Directory in our August 2021 issue.
1,841 days until America's Sestercentennial
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