There has been a lot of good feedback from my Mom’s exhibit in Oley. The newspaper interview was well done and, since it was on the family page in the Morning Call, Kathy Lauer worked on the mom and son angle. I was glad that she did. She made me think hard about what made my mom’s work so powerful, and, in turn, made me reflect on my art as well. There are some very surprising parallels and philosophies that surprised me and made me appreciate our different paths as artist.

Mom was an incredibly diverse artist, working within the broad field of Early American Decoration, and explored, dissected, performed and curated her particular project. She absorbed the techniques and stayed strictly in the tradition of each form. She was not into being ‘the artist’, but more of being the ‘documentor’. There no room for her own creative input, that is, she did not go beyond the genre.

She also strived to perfect her techniques of needlecraft, brush work, etc. through hours and hours of repetition to the point she could retain muscle memory with her fingers, hands and tools.

She worked very hard on her submissions to the guild, putting up many pieces for an A rating, something she had to do across several genres, in order to gain her Master Artist designation. She didn’t always get it on the first submission, but always came back with another effort.

She wanted to preserve this tradition and be able to pass it on to future generations.

Here’s the connections that I’ve come up with.

We both value folk music and folk arts, both traditional arts and we want to preserve them through our skills. Mom’s work went into museums; I created a live museum at Godfreys.

I am not a songwriter, per se, but enjoy plucking tunes from other artists and recreating them in my repertoire. I make them my own through my interpretation and musical craft. I particularly try to pick from a variety of styles and work within that style. I also attempt to make each song an A rating. Diversity and excellence is a noble artistic bar to strive for, even if the material is not original.

We both have created some concrete works of art that will outlive us both, her handiwork and my CDs, videos, etc. And we have passed our passion on to others who can learn from our work.

This artistic DNA is pretty strong and, thanks to the Oley exhibit and the Morning Call article, I’ve had a great opportunity to reflect on the connections I share with Doris H. Fry, artist and mom.