Linvel Barker cat!

Here is the newest piece of folk art…an exquisitely carved cat by Linvel and Lillian Barker, joining a squirrel and rabbit, already at home.  (Much thanks to the wonderful collectors, Robert Cugno and Robert Logan for parting with it.)  This particular cat, with the delicate tail wrapping around the body, is reminiscent of a similar carving by the artists featured on the spine of “Contemporary American Folk Art  – A Collector’s Guide”  by Chuck and Jan Rosenak.  

The carvings created by these to artists are particularly touching to me.  The economy of line and form is incredibly sophisticated and surprising, considering that the Barkers didn’t even start to carve until 1983, when retirement became too boring.  Needless to say, I am always on the look-out for more creations by this couple.
If you ever want to see an amazing collection of their work, be sure to visit the Kentucky Folk Art Museum in Morehead, KY. 

Lillian and Linvel Barker

Linvel—1929-2004, Lillian Faye—1930-1997  |  Isonville, KY  |  Wood carvings 

With the encouragement of neighbors, Minnie and Garland Adkins, Linvel Barker began carving his Brancusi-like animals after he retired from steel mill factory in 1983. Working with his wife, Lillian, he would rough out pieces with a band saw and then carve them. She would do most of the sanding. “If you can see what’s in the wood, you can carve it out. There ain’t no paint in wood, and you don’t need none.” After Lillian passed, Linvel quit creating and died seven years later.