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In a name…

by admin

One or two people have asked about where the name Folksy originated. I really don’t know. There were a few other names knocking around at the time – zakka [after the Japanese home craft craze] being one and stitchy being another.

Now, having dug around a bit I see that it has a pretty broad use, mainly signifying: informal; familiar; rural and of course to describe the Folk music and fashion ‘style’. For me it’s about people and celebrating everyday creativity in an age which often reduces us to Taylorist automatons in offices everywhere [and see Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk on YouTube on how we’re killing creativity in the education process]. And if you’re interested it’s worth seeing what other people signify as folksy [and get a sense for how creativity in crafts is flourishing] and there’s no better place to do that than on flickr.

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spugmeistress May 26, 2007 - 12:48 pm

i stumbled across ‘folksy’ in the OED the other day (it’s right at the bottom of pg 552!) and after the surprise of seeing it there, was quite chuffed to note the 2nd definition as being “informal and unpretentious”. i quite like that :) the noun is folksiness btw :)

jamesb May 26, 2007 - 12:48 pm

Hey, I like that too! We’ve had some stick from the design community for being *too* informal but I think, over time, we’ll prove that informailty need not be synonymous with amateurish or low quality.

I’ve seen reference to a strand of US artists from the depression period described as “Folksy” too which was largely impressionistic but where the subject matter was describing the ‘working classes’. Then there is the strand of art called Folk Art which is largely craft based and is a result of what comes out of ‘everyday’ cultural forms, such as shop signs etc. Shame that the latter is often perceived negatively by those ‘trained’ artists.

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