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When special folk art deserves a special place.

The difference between a clutter and a collection has more to do with the how than the what of an assemblage. Pictured here are six ways Western homeowners have made places for folk art. Two carve out space. Two use existing wall and ceiling space. Two revamp shelf space-all too often a disorganized catchall.

Small objects are more effective when grouped rather than scattered, and grouping should follow a theme-origin, size, color. All the schemes except the hanging masks allow one of the pleasures of collecting: holding pieces in your hands.

Carved-out space. To build the two display shelves at top center, Los Angeles architects Prats/Coffee cut into nonbearing walls a triangular niche at a corner (backed by a closet) and a 9-inch-deep, 14-inch-high linear opening along a hall. Both spaces were finished with gypsum board. The long shelf has an intimate scale that invites a close look at the south-of-the-border ceramics arranged there.

Hanging displays. To turn his stairwell into a gallery, Seattle architect Jim Hussey hung two Kwakiutl masks on clear fishing line tied to eye screws in ceiling joists. He centered a third mask above a narrow shelf that he mounted to hold Chilcotin and Tlingit baskets. Masks and baskets continue on the walls of the lower stairwell.

To organize a collection of kachinas, Los Angeles designer Joseph Terrell lined the walls of a dining area with custom-made 3/8-inch plexiglass shelves. Each is 5 inches wide and 7 inches deep, with an attached lip drilled to accommodate two screws. Clear silicone secures the kachinas in case of earthquakes.

Shelf galleries. To make a library shelf into a mini-gallery, Hope Turney cut a piece of 1/4-inch-thick board to fit the back of a shelf, glued handwoven Guatemalan fabric to the board, and set it in place as a unifying background for Oaxacan figures.

To house an array of objects ranging from a Minnesota cranberry scoop to an African bark painting, she recycled an old cabinet with the doors removed. Los Angeles designer Virginia Knight chose the interior color, based on the blue of the eight-bladed whirligig (now perched up top). The cabinet has shelf-by-shelf themes: Southwest, Iroquois, African.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Nov 1, 1990
Words:363
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