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Plywood Folk Art from Hell

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Posted 8 years ago

(203 items)

Plywood is now officially an antique, thus making those beautiful early Eames chairs for Herman Miller no longer "modern" but "old" and they can be moved from the cool wing to the brown wing in decorative arts museums. Don't get me wrong...there are few things more beautiful than a molded antique piece of plywood made by Herman Miller. But "modern" is finally a misnomer. I am really sorry nothing as "modern" has come along since.

Shown here is a wall-sized plywood nick-nack holder from hell. There seems to be about twelve feet of shelf space. A jigsaw jungle of overdone, obsessive eccentricity. This monster is literally as big as a wall. I picked it up (with help) in an antique mall. I have NO idea what the maker was doing, but I believe either junior or the wife had to help slide the sheet of wood around as he cut it out. Certainly no one has spent this much time in the garage since they invented television.

I recently found a really nice type of plywood. It is a composite, but rather than crushed particles, the wood is half an inch thick and each piece molded together is about ten inches long. It even has tiny machine cut dovetails cut into it so the wood fits together for added strength. I turned it into a desk-top, unfinished...and it looks really modern.

The monster umbrella girls go in the basement, where they will await the next garage sale. I'll price them really high, but will negotiate.

Cut-out Folk Art Obsessive Victorian Decorative Plywood Shelve with Umbrella Women, circa 1920 Collection Jim Linderman


  1. Savoychina1 Savoychina1, 8 years ago
    You can't paint (or should I say shellac) all plywood with the same brush. The 1/2 inch CDX on your roof is vastly different from the 3/4 inch birch in your cabinets. The veneer on a sheet of plywood is no different than the walnut veneer on your hutch.
    This is a marvelous piece. It has a Pennsylvania Dutch feel to it. Never mind Mom and Jr, I am betting this was cut out by hand.

    I would love to be at your next garage sale however, I already have two plywood girls. Looking like June Cleaver, they were decorations for a model home. When the home sold the furnishings had to go. They were priced at $300. On the last day of the sale I returned to find them in the garage with the remainder of the decorations. I asked the price and was told I could have them! Call me on the last day of your sale!!!
  2. Jim Linderman, 8 years ago
    Funny! Thanks for commenting! I first considered plywood an official antique when I was the patina of the Eames leg splint things. Genuine age! So I was amazed to find how long it has been produced. Now i'm not suggesting folk art collectors stop sneering at it, but it does put collecting carvings into perspective. Tnanks!~ Jim

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