Just Folks

while in santa barbara, one place i wanted to visit
was a shop/gallery dedicated to folk and outsider art.
it’s in a beautiful town a few miles beyond sb called summerland.
two women, marcy carsey and susan baerwald,
both from the tv/show biz arena–seriously, google them–decided to turn their shared passion for american folk art into a shop that would display their wondrous collection
in a custom built setting.
they called it just folk.

the collection is an event.
wander through the gallery and see american history through the eyes of people
with such imagination, perserverance and spirit.
the materials used to build the space are so creatively blended with the art,
the result is a tranquil, happy place to spend an hour or two.

what exactly is folk art?

from the just folk website

These artists have produced, from the depths of their own personalities (for themselves and no one else) works of outstanding originality in concept, subject and technique. They are works that owe nothing to tradition or fashion. They are linear or dimensional expressions of inner worlds. In some way, we can say they are “unfiltered,” which implies pure, honest and unique visions. We feel that is why they speak to us in such a singular way. That’s how we define folk art.

here’s the outside–why didn’t i take a better pic? now you have to go see it yourself.

brian cearnal and his associate, adam cunningham
were the architect and designer of the award-winning structure.

we were so lucky to meet fernando giron and deirdre gerry,

who were running things that day–and we soon
were chatting away
like old friends.
our conversation ran the gamut from earrings to funerals.
they truly were the two friendliest people we met all weekend.
they encouraged us to wander around and enjoy the space.
for some reason, i didn’t think i could take pictures of anything but them.
i now realize that was ridiculous–
but also i wasn’t distracted by taking photos.
here are some things we saw, photos and info courtesy of their website.
Early 19th Century, from Bedford Massachusetts, hand-carved wood with hand-forged chain.
Alvin E. Friedman-Klein collection.
32″ x 17.25″
Circa 1920, found in New Jersey, wood frame with wrapped canvas, leather belt made into collar, hand painted chocolate and beige.
41″L x 33″ H

Two-sided sheet metal weathervane, lovely patina.
31.5 L” x 27.5 H”
Circa 1950, wood, hand carved and hand painted. Signed “ARW”
4″-6″ tall.

Enamel, marker on board. Howard Finster.

23″ x 17.5″

Handmade, pine cobblers bench, small seat with nail heads, many drawers for tools.
46″ L x 25″ H
Wood house with front porch, stone chimney and shingled roof.
18″ high.


White painted house modeled on a bank in Texas.
Incredible detail. Tan wood shingled roof with glass windows.
32″ high.

A unique tramp art carving with hearts and horseshoe motifs,
two drawers with hidden cubbies throughout. A truly original piece.
37″ x 20″

Carved wood and hand painted, 1992. Leroy Archuleta.

53″L x 30″ H

being able to absorb the energy and passion
present in this space
truly gives one perspective–
these handmade
expressions of human spirit
deliver a world that is both personal and universal.
thanks again, deirdre and fernando.
thanks to all who created just folk.

5 thoughts on “Just Folks

  1. I also have an african american family of four (and a hound dog) with the initials of ARW. I am certain that this is the same artist, as the family looks so very similar with the exception of the clothing. 🙂


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