Art for Art’s Sake (and I am not talking about Garfunkel, here…)

Greetings and Salutations;
Just as a diversion from the ugliness of the day,   I want to tell y’all a short story that is at least 40 years in the making.
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When I was in my 20s and 30s,   one of the pleasant activities I engaged in was to spend a day going through flea markets and Antiques shops.   I really enjoyed finding some hole in the wall that was a bit off the beaten path.   THOSE were the places where I would meet the most eccentric, unique people,  and find some amazing,  buried treasures.   I ended up getting some fine tools for nearly nothing,  and exchanging some amusing stories with folks on these expeditions.

Wooden Bow Saw

On one of these outings,  I ran across one of the stranger things I have seen.   Hanging on the back wall of a little shop (as usual, packed to the gills with a variety of oddities),  was a very nice Bow Saw.    That was good,  as I needed a bow saw,  to deal with a bunch of branch trimming around the homestead.   However,   someone had used this saw as the  frame for a piece of woven art.   Now,  at the time,  that was just an annoyance to me,  as I was focused on the utilitarian aspects of the saw.   However,  since the price was right,  I acquired this odd mixture of the functional and the aesthetic.
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Because life is always complicated,  I put it aside for a bit.   Finally, though,  the work of using the saw came up on the list and bubbled to the top,   I pulled out the saw,  with the plan of simply cutting the woven thing off it, and discarding it.   However,  when I looked at it again,  it spoke to me,  and convinced me that destruction was NOT what should happen!   So,  instead of trimming back the branches that Saturday, so I could mow without having to do the Limbo under them,  I carefully disassembled the saw,  and removed the woven art from it – intact.   It was  rather fiddly work,  so it is probably a good thing that I am a tad Obsessive/Compulsive!
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Once the art was free of its frame,  I  got it rolled up, and tucked it away in storage.   As for the saw…I spent a couple more hours putting it back together,  sharpening the blade, and then, was ready to saw.   It worked great,  by the by…  Just at the moment,  I do not know where it is,  but, I am fairly sure I still have it tucked away in a box someplace,  awaiting the end of the chaotic moves that the last 5-6 years have been filled with.
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As for the art…It stayed in storage, quietly sleeping in the dark  until last week.   I was down in the barn,  feeding the barn cats (who I am gradually getting closer to being able to pet),  and moving some boxes around to try and evaluate what I have lost during the moves,  what has been stolen from the barn,  what has been destroyed by the storage, and what I still have left of the large collection of useful and useless things I started out with a decade ago when leaving the house in North Knoxville became necessary.   The good news is that, so far,  my packing was good enough that,  in spite of less than ideal storage,  most of the things I managed to move are intact.   As for the rest..well…no matter.   The important thing is that I opened one box,  and found,  rolled up inside,  the woven art I had acquired all those years ago.
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I took it up to the Octagon with me,  and,  as you can see,  above, after some thought and construction of a shadow box frame,  have finally gotten it back to a state where it can be hung on the wall,  and enjoyed again.   Since I am older, and, I hope,  wiser,   I find that I am looking at it with different eyes.   I see more in it than I did when I first got it, and,  I am rather glad that I hung onto it, and kept it intact.
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However,  Now,  I  have another problem.   I would like to know more about it.   Of course, the antique shop where I got it knew NOTHING about it, nor,  were there any notes attached to it.   So…Here is what I know.
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  • It was created sometime before 1970.
  • It is of all natural materials.
  • I purchased it in the East Tennessee area,  probably in the Sevierville/Gatlinburg area.
  • When I contemplate it,  I see a strong,  Native American influence.   Since the Cherokee are still around this area (in spite of the efforts of that Scummy Bastard,  Andrew Jackson),  It could be their work.  However,  it seems to have a far more “South Western” look to me.
  • There is a leather tab woven into it,  with a logo on it that might help identify the artist…but no luck so far!
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So…I present this for your interest and pleasure (I hope),  and I ask…if ANYONE out there looks at this and says to themselves…”WOW,  that looks like what my Great Grandmother/Grandfather  used to do”,  or “I have a bit of art with that same logo signature on it!”,  please leave a comment on this blog entry.   If you are an Ethnologist,  specializing in Native America Culture,  DEFINITELY get in touch with me! (*smile*).
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Whether or not I find out anything about this art, or who created it…I have to say that I thank the Artist  for creating a lovely  piece of weaving that  brings a bright spot of pleasure to the world!   We need more of these moments right now,  because it is, alas, a rather dark time in our history.
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God Help Us All!
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Bee Man Dave
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