Few people have mastered the art of decorating with folk art as well as Wendy Cain and David Hunt (right). It helps if you’re an artist, but for those of us who may be less visually inclined, there are some lessons that can be learned by observing how they’ve done it.
What strikes us is how seamlessly they integrate folk art throughout their home, and in ways that allow the work to shine. The sheer variety and quantity of pieces might overpower some interiors, but the overall effect brings life and vitality to their home, and it is displayed without looking contrived or overdone.
Both Wendy and David taught at OCAD University in Toronto for many years. Wendy Cain is a well known paper artist and printmaker whose work is featured in many private collections and galleries across the country. David is a metal and woodworker. They purchased an old stone mill in Eastern Ontario close to forty years ago and have lovingly restored both the interior and exterior into an exquisite residence complete with a Sissinghurst style garden for all passersby to enjoy.
The Musuem of International Folk Art defines folk art as:
“the art of the everyday, rooted in traditions that come from community values and aesthetics. It encompasses a range of utilitarian and decorative media including: wood, paper, clay, metal and more. It is made by individuals whose creative skills convey their community’s authentic cultural identity.”
When you enter Wendy and David’s home you have to pass over a moat and bridge, on the north branch of the river, to get to the main stone building. A staircase takes you to the main landing where there is a collection of work from several Canadian artists, displayed in joyful and whimsical vignettes.
First you see a family of pigs by Peter Rafuse, next to the sculpture L’escapade, by the French artist, Claude Luneau. On the floor is a hooked rug and on the back walls is cherry wainscotting from a Victorian House in Port Hope. Wendy calls them Taffy Doors. See close up images in the above slides.
As you enter the open space kitchen and living area you are greeted by two roosters by Bradford Naugler. They’re sitting on an early Canadian painted wooden chest. Sometimes the white one can be seen playfully peering out the side of the wall observing people as they enter the room.
In the dining room is an impressive antique corner cabinet from Lennox and Addington with restoration done by David. Here, Wendy and David combine functional dining room elements with folk art by showcasing two birds on top of the cabinet, created by Bradford Naugler.
The mantlepiece features a colourful sculptural piece called, Bird Stack by Barry Colpitts. Next to it is an antique clock circa 1850 manufactured by Eli Terry in Plymouth Connecticut. The mantle is simply and yet expertly embellished. Each piece, from modern folk art to the antique clock and candlesticks, has room to breath and display its own unique beauty.
Moving from the living room to the bathroom there is much to see. In the deep window sill lives a family of owls by Craig Naugler, a cat by Peter Rafuse and a small bird with acorn hat by Reynolds Aulenback. Against one wall is an early Canadian painted cabinet with a lamp collection and birds by Brian Francy. Another outstanding feature in the bathroom is the stencil on the floor based on an early American pattern.
This is just a small sampling of the couple’s rich and varied folk art collection. Rogues’ Hollow Antiques is thankful to Wendy and David for letting us share their home with our readers.
Please stay tuned for an upcoming post about how Wendy & David, and others, successfully mix modern art with antiques.
To find out more about Wendy Cain’s work please visit her website (www.wendycain.ca).