Folk Art… Who Needs Rules Anyway?

The past few months, I’ve started to notice more and more examples of Folk Art cropping up in my social media feeds and even in my favourite upcycling and interiors magazines. Not all of the examples are necessarily labelled as Folk Art, but they do seem to fit nicely into this broad and interesting category.

So what is Folk Art?

Well, traditionally, it’s art which reflects a community or indigenous group – the local folk, I guess! It often contains images or depictions of local customs and culture, as well as native flora and fauna.

But as well as representing culture and traditions, Folk Art has an important characteristic: it is not based on traditional or ‘fine’ art. So when the Impressionists were busy creating fashionable, elegant pictures of gardens and the Cubists were designing edgy, trendy pictures of sharp-looking faces, the local folk were doing their own thing and painting cute-as-a-button pictures of the things that mattered to them.

I think that’s what I love about it the most. Things like perspective, light and shade and other traditional ‘fine art’ rules go right out of the window. Instead, you can pack your favourite flowers, characters, ideas and colours in to your heart’s content! If you want to have bright blue flowers surrounded by tiny houses, go for it. If you want to have a tree covered in patterned circles and not a leaf in sight, then let your creative juices flow.

If you search for Folk Art on Google Images, it brings up a mouthwatering array of lovely paintings – most of which are packed to the brim with bright, cheery colours.

(I have to be honest, there’s a lot of Folk Art that just doesn’t appeal to me. That’s not to say it’s not great, but not all of it is to my taste. I much prefer the more modern designs.) I mean who wouldn’t love this whimsical design (found here)?

Whimsical and fun!

Whimsical and fun!


I have also been blown away by this incredible picture by Renie Britenbucher. Renie’s use of colour and patterns gives this picture an almost magical atmosphere.


You can visit Renie’s Etsy shop here where I can guarantee you will spend a lot of time browsing her beautiful artwork!


Modern Folk Art in pastels is beautiful, too – like this oh-so-pretty piece by Sascalia.

Cute as a button!

Cute as a button!

You can visit Sascalia’s etsy shop here.


Folk Art on Furniture 

As you might have noticed, I’m a big fan of featuring pretty designs on my upcycled furniture projects. I think it’s the perfect way to inject a spot of colour and a heap of personality into your project. I really enjoyed free-painting the flowers onto this old chair



and painting a Folk Art-inspired picture on the front of this little plantpot…



But after looking at some of this fabulous inspiration, I plan to pack in my designs over a much bigger area on my next project.

Many happy hours on Pinterest has resulted in me coming across some incredible examples of Folk Art on upcycled furniture. Just look at this little beauty from The Salvage Collection. There’s something so fab about a painted interior, isn’t there? All that loveliness just waiting to be discovered as soon as the door is opened.

I wouldn't want to shut the doors on this!

I wouldn’t want to shut the doors on this!


I’m afraid I don’t know who to credit for this beautiful chest of drawers, but it is too nice to leave out.


So pretty!

So pretty!


And this fabulous chest of drawers from The Decorative Paintbrush… if you were a little girl (or have never really stopped being a little girl, like yours truly), wouldn’t this look wonderful in your bedroom.


The Decorative Paintbrush


And you may remember from an earlier post that Annie Sloan herself has experimented with some Folk Art on this chair. Whose day wouldn’t be brightened by those cute little birdies?

Hand painted birdies by Annie Sloan

Hand painted birdies by Annie Sloan


Have you got any Folk Art inspired pieces in your house? I’d love to see them – you can leave a comment below!



  1. Liz Kibby says:

    Re-purposing is so much better than buying brand new! And if it is a DIY project, I think it helps you appreciate what you have so much more. Interesting blog, I look forward to reading more!

    • lavendertimes says:

      Thank you, Liz! You’re right, it does make you appreciate what you already have, and it’s a thrifty way of updating your furniture! The photographs on your blog are beautiful – so calming! Helen x

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