Its coming down.

Bees all around, Q. Cassetti, 2010, mixed mediaYesterday, Kitty had studying with friends and shop time. Alex relaxed.

I worked in an unplanned way on these patterns which was derivative of a 2.25” x 12” inked pattern tile the other day. I thought it looked good as a limited palette (see first post on Saturday) and then evolved the color…and then pulled the illustration elements out of the mix to make other patterns. This is a fun break for now. I seem to go to patterns when I am in a lull…and then it gets me recalibrated back into the thinking of the current body of work or pointed at a new one. I find it interesting that this is the process.

I was looking at Virginia Lee Burton’s art project, the Folly Cove Designers’ work. You can still buy this work through the Sarah-Elizabeth Shop .  Burton, the author illustrator of the recognized children’s book, Mike Milligan and His Steam Shovel taught classes in Cape Ann MA.  From these classes and students, the Folly Cove Designers evolved (from the Sarah Elizabeth Shop background page)

The Folly Cove Designers was a group taught design by Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios. They used what they learned to design, and then carve, linoleum blocks to print on fabrics for place mats, runners, hangings, tablecloths, skirts, and yardgoods for practical uses. They started in 1938, over the years including more than forty artists in their guild-like association. No works were signed, everyone putting the group first. When their teacher died in 1968, the remaining designers decided to disband. The sample books, long yard-good hangings, and related material which remained in their retail outlet (the Barn) were given to the Cape Ann Historical Museum in Gloucester, where they can be seen to this day.

From Spiritus The Folly Cove Designers grew out of a design course taught by Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios. She lived in Folly Cove, the most northerly part of Lanesville, Gloucester, Massachusetts. She was able to express the local consensus that the world was a beautiful place, and the elements of beauty surround us in nature.

Her block printing thesis grew out of the home industries/arts and crafts movements of the past. The artist/designer of products for home use is separated from the product by machine age technology (and now globalization). Fine art for home use is within our own power. To this end her design course taught an ability to see the design in nature, a set of good design rules (dark and light, sizing, repetition, reflection, etc.), and the craftsmanship of carving the linoleum, and then printing fabric for home use.


On completion of the course the graduate was permitted to submit a design to the jury(selected Designers rotated this responsibility starting in 1943) of the Folly Cove Designers. If it was accepted as displaying the design qualities as taught in the course, then they could carve the design in linoleum and print it for sale as a Folly Cove Design.

The design course started in 1938. In 1940 they had their first public exhibition-in the Demetrios studio. The following year they decided to go public, they called themselves the Folly Cove Designers. Every year they had an opening to present the new designs, and everyone enjoyed the coffee and nisu (Finnish coffee bread). They established a relationship to wholesale their work to the America House of New York which had been established in 1940 by the American Craftsman Cooperative Council. In 1944 they hired Dorothy Norton as an executive secretary to run the business end of the successful young enterprise. In 1945, Lord and Taylor bought non-exclusive rights to five designs which pushed the reputation of the group, and began some national publicity and diverse commissions for their work.


The Home Industries shop in Rockport, Massachusetts, owned by the Tolfords, sold the Designer’s work to the public starting in 1943. It wasn’t until 1948 that the Designers opened “The Barn” in Folly Cove as their own summer retail outlet. In the late 1950’s they extended the season to ten months. Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios died in 1969. The following year the group disbanded, ending a period of unique creativity and cooperation. Some Designers were with the group for only a season and others continued with the group for decades. In 1970 the sample books, display hangings and other artifacts from the Folly Cove Designer’s Barn were given to the Cape Ann Historical Association in Gloucester, Massachusetts who are now the primary source for information about the Folly Cove Designers.

I am going to try to figure out how to post these to when I have a chance to understand the technical specs etc/

It is raining like theres no tomorrow…but in the way things are here, we will have a cloudless beautiful afternoon here on the plateau. Need to get going on paying work. What a dawdler I am.