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I Had Never Seen One Before.
I call them 1″ Wonders. And they are. I had an inkling they’d be special the minute I saw them.
On a 2011 summer driving vacation with my friend Gino we visited Lucy and John on their farm. Walking the property we stopped in one of their barns where I first saw the sticks. I didn’t know what they were other than I wanted to paint them.
Piled, dusty, and, as I was informed, with no future use on the farm as they’d stopped growing tobacco crops, I saw hope for these wood marvels.
1″ x 52″, solid, brilliantly evocative, and stately when held, I was not disappointed when I was encouraged to take a few back to NYC and see what I could do with them. I brought back six.
While similar in form each has variation. I respond to the differences, in their wood and age, for example. Pecan, Chestnut, Ash, Oak, Pine – each stick has it’s own weight, silhouette, and history. Some are no doubt from old growth trees that stood during revolutionary times.
One year after discovering them I presented them at an NYC Arts Festival where they were awarded most successful use of recycled materials.
Farm artifact becomes new form of American art/craft.
As art, painted tobacco sticks are slender accents. They do not shout but rather remind with delight how fortunate life is with beauty in it.
They can be leaned, grouped, or mounted (horizontally or vertically) in the narrowest spaces – on walls, over door thresholds, and on columns. Look around the rooms you’re in and see where potentials lay for a bit of art to accent your life.
Painted Tobacco Sticks