Folly Cove Designers at the Cape Ann Museum

Print of the process by Virginia Lee BurtonFolly Cove is a wonderful name. It could not have been the same if they were located in nearby Brace Cove, Wonson Cove, Lobster Cove, Hodgkins Cove, etc. Light House Cove, Plum Cove, Gull Cove or Loblolly Cove might have done, but less perfectly. I think Folly Cove is where Giles did his SCUBA open water dive all those years ago.

I’ve wanted to see this exhibit for years, and today I finally did. It was wonderful! And I’m so glad Francesca came too. Two and a half hours in the car is a good chance to get caught up, and even the return trip in Friday rush hour traffic was fairly enjoyable. The exhibit was great; inspiring and relevant to my half-formed printing ideas. Can’t wait to try some of this, I will do a small block print of the Pantheon for my SPQR book, and I want to try printing textiles.

The rhythmic geometric repetitions of the Folly Cove Designers are mesmerizing and musical, and the abstracted natural and local subjects feel solid and authentic. Also very much of another era; there is an art deco/socialist realism/WPA vibe to the style they shared. The quality of the carving and printing is amazing. How cool that this collective was mostly women, and mostly previously untrained as artists. What an achievement, and what a lot of fun they must have had at least sometimes. I suppose if I read the books I bought, some dark underbelly will appear, but the photo and print of them jumping on their blocks before they had a press are utterly charming. As Francesca asked, how the heck did they keep them from moving?

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