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  • HandiworkA Postscript from The South in Color
  • William R. Ferris (bio)

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This stockman’s cane was made by Victor “Hickory Stick” Bobb out of hickory wood (1976). Mr. Bobb designs, paints, and lacquers the cane and then gives it to one of his friends whom he admires. He never sold a cane. When friends would say, “But I don’t need a cane,” he would reply, “If you live long enough, you will.” Mr. Bobb lived in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

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Pecolia Warner stands in front of one of her quilts in Yazoo City, Mississippi (1975). The fabric of her dress and her face are at one with the quilt. Mrs. Warner told me that she learned to sew quilts through “fireplace learning,” as she sat beside her mother and grandmother sewing by the fireplace.

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The front porch of Pecolia Warner’s home in Yazoo City, Mississippi (1975), was a comfortable, intimate place where people often sat and spoke with neighbors as they walked past on the street below. This quilt cover will soon be sewn into a beautiful quilt. Mrs. Warner has sewn pieces of fabric into patterns that are visible as the afternoon light passes through them. She will next sew the cover onto the quilt so that it will keep you warm on a cold winter night.

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Luster Willis holds a sculpted cane that he made from cedar wood. At the top of the cane he carved the torso and head of a person whom he admired, such as Reverend Martin Luther King. When you walked with the cane, you gripped the person’s head as the handle of the cane (1976).

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I love to photograph hand- painted signs like this one (1975). These signs are works of art that beckon the traveler to enter private, beautiful worlds. This sign announces that you have arrived at the Pleasant Valley Methodist Baptist Church, where Pastor P. E. Lott preaches on the third Sunday of every month at noon. It is a starkly beautiful image that draws the eye to the roadside, and from there to the church in the distance beyond.

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Harry Warren (1976) lives in my hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi. He is an artist who earns money painting signs. Mr. Warren made this sign for the Katie Cool It club, where you can get a good cold beer and enjoy music in Vicksburg.

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The California Club, in Belzoni, Mississippi (1977), advertised itself with a beautiful mural that captures the faces and the spirit of soul music.

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These two men are visiting at the Pink Panther Lounge on Highway 61, near Lorman, Mississippi (1976). You can get a cold beer and listen to good music inside, or you can visit outside and listen to stories. This is a familiar scene at the Pink Panther.

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Teenagers gather outside Cobra’s Clubhouse in Belzoni, Mississippi, where soul music was the preferred music. The club was was a favorite spot for teenagers where they could dance, have a drink, and enjoy each other’s company.

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Leon Peck Clark, in Sharon, Mississippi, 1973, was known as a basket maker, but I also discovered that he did needle work. This is a piece that I especially love and have framed on the wall in our home. Mr. Clark sewed his name in the bottom of the piece, which has symbols that are inspired by both African and Christian traditions.

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Theora Hamblett was a visionary painter who lived and painted in Oxford, Mississippi. She was inspired by her childhood memories in Paris, Mississippi, and many of her paintings...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 84-95
Launched on MUSE
2016-12-11
Open Access
No
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