Folk Art Masterpiece. Four feet long and entirely made of hand-dyed rice kernels, each single piece placed by hand. I thought it was a pretty good (and pretty large) hooked rug until I got about fifteen feet away. 100% rice, whole-grain....and each tiny kernal vegetal dyed. Click to enlarge. I am inclined to run a "guess the number of kernels" contest but then I would have to count them myself.
When does a now extinct child's craft become a work of art? Well, for one thing, when it gets this big. No child made this. 4 feet x 3 feet and framed like the serious construction it is. This took longer than the hardest puzzle and I presume tweezers were involved.
Now tedious and repetitive folk art pieces like this used to be common, or at least smaller versions were. Certainly television took away much of the motivation, I suspect sleeping pills and sedatives have as well...obsessive art is far less seen than it used to be. This certainly would have won first prize at the State Fair around 1900 had it been entered, but there is no attribution other than the Midwest.
I have seen portraits of clown heads made of aquarium sand. I have seen entire buildings made out of corn-cobs. I have seen a Harley Davidson motorcycle constructed of dried beans. If there is a person bored and a wooden board, something will be made. But I could look 20 years full time and not find a piece as balanced, as big and as beautiful.
"Make-do" Applied Rice constructed "painting" circa 1900. Collection Jim Linderman
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