Canadian Folk Art Outdoors


A canopy of trees is the perfect spot for a variety of bird houses, a genre of outdoor folk art that may represent our last close contact with animals in their natural environment. Some bird houses are so huge that they take the form of sculptures. Similarly, certain large whirligig wind machines, because of their size, must stand alone. Examples of both of these objects appear in this wooded area behind the house.

Whirligig - CD94-713-016 - S93-4976 Giant Whirligig Wind Sculpture
José Machado
Toronto, Ontario
CCFCS 90-186

Whirligig - CD94-713-018 - S93-4978 A Portuguese immigrant from the Azores Islands, Mr. Machado turned to sculpture after he retired. He had worked as a machinist and blacksmith - his expertise in metal fitting is immediately apparent in this remarkable accomplishment.

Mr. Machado displayed some of his large wind machines in his garden and on the roof of his home in Toronto's Cabbagetown. As a result of a local television feature, gallery owners acquired several of his pieces for corporate and private art collections.

This particular whirligig represents roughly 40 scenes from Mr. Machado's working life - and his imagination - ranging, in something of an eccentric progression, from flapping birds to snapping alligators to driving a donkey.

Bird House - Photo: H. Foster Red-Roofed Bird House with Tree and Bird
Elwood Sharpe
Picton, Ontario
CCFCS 90-168
"Le Château" Bird House
William G. Loney
South Bay, Prince Edward County, Ontario
Ca. 1940
CCFCS 83-1896
Patricia and Ralph Price Collection
Bird House - CD97-345-080 - S94-9304

This magnificent bird house has never actually known the patter of tiny bird feet. It was bought from Mr. Loney before it could be placed outdoors as he had intended. Clearly, it's a bird house that got away from the artist, growing into huge proportions and fascinating detail. Note, for example, the liberal use of architectural "gingerbread," which would have been common to Mr. Loney's area of Ontario. Note also the naked hostess on the front steps, and the two tiny birds perched on the second-storey balcony.

Even more interesting, Le Château (a name, like Clem and Bellodgin, given to the piece by later collectors) was involved in a serious automobile accident and had to be completely rebuilt by some very dedicated and talented conservators.

Mr. Loney (South Bay, Prince Edward County, Ontario) was born in 1878 and worked for many years as a blacksmith. In the early part of the century, he moved to Indiana, where he became a precision toolmaker. Returning to Ontario after 20 years, he settled on his father-in-law's farm. He died in 1956, at which time his considerable corpus of paintings, carvings and constructions such as Le Château were sold.

Bird House - Photo: H. Foster Dotted Paint Bird House
Charlie Atkinson
Southside, Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia
Ca. 1970
CCFCS 75-907

The dotted paint technique is widely used in folk art, and can be found on a variety of objects and in a variety of places in Canada. Viewed at a slight distance, this particular rendition looks remarkably like a garden full of flowers, reminiscent, perhaps, of floral wallpaper. Note that several small bird decoys have been carved on the bird house.


This Other Eden
Canadian Folk Art Outdoors


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