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Lockdown marked the beginning of a new chapter for my work and practice. I began lockdown spending my days exploring the world of folk art, looking for inspiration and a new horizon for my work post pandemic.

I have always been fascinated by folk art. It feels like a very welcoming and inclusive art world. The materials you need are often to hand, the skills needed can be learnt and the tools need not be complex. I like the fact that some of the things we describe as folk art were made in large multiples, but by hand. I think this is partly responsible for the aesthetic of some folk art. It is not overly complicated or ornate, there is often a limited colour palette of simple colours and you can clearly see the maker's mark on the object. All this results in objects that hum with life and personality.


After weeks of exploring online collections of folk art in museums around the world, I began to wonder what a folk museum shop would be like. What would I like to buy there to help me remember my visit? I decided to create the content of the museum shop of my dreams. It allowed me to explore different methods of making, from knitting to weaving, pottery to kite making and I was introduced to cultures I had not come across before. I tested my ideas on my Instagram followers who became a loyal team of supporters. I uploaded videos and instructions for how to make my souvenirs to the 'free fun' page on my website.

This work became the theme for an exhibition that I had in September 2020 at the Meiklejohn Gallery in Lewes called My Make Believe Museum Shop. It was well received and I have gone on to create other MBMSs and to work with museums across the country.

Emma Carlow profile pic 2020.JPG
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