There's a place in North Carolina, near Holden Beach, called Mary's Antiques and Folk Art. Used to be it was called Mary's Gone Wild. And when Wendy and I first discovered her place a dozen or more years ago, it was called something else.
Way back then we were driving along, looking for bookstores, coffee shops, and just anything unusual. And, there it was. I don't remember who was driving, but out of the corner of my eye I saw this color explosion of odd miscellany hanging from trees, and scattered around the yard. We had to pull over.
What we found was the work of a true honest-to-goodness folk artist. Paint cans and broken glass painted in wild colors, window frames in various states of brokenness propped up against trees, signs collected from everywhere, odd assortments of Christmas lights strung from trees to buildings back to trees, tree-houses with doll furniture, and gospel music blaring away from a speaker.
And then, there was Mary. Always smiling, dressed as colorfully as the conglomeration of objects she painted. I asked her if any of her art was for sale. She said she'd take 10 or 20 dollars for something if I liked it. Wendy and I found an odd piece and handed her a 20.
That's Mary. You can't go to her place without coming away smiling or laughing. She's a living testament to the true creative spirit. No art classes? No materials? Not a problem. She takes what other people throw away, paints it, glues it to something else, and hangs it from a nail. Voila! Art.
We went back there four or five years ago. Mary was still there, creating, smiling. Her husband Paul had added more odd buildings on the property, and Mary kept filling the buildings with her creations. They had built bottle houses, bottle ships, and a bottle pool. There was also a Coca-Cola house.
We have some of her work hanging on the fence in our backyard. Someday it will deteriorate. And that would be okay with Mary. She’s not concerned about preserving it. She’ll just make more art.
If you ever make it to North Carolina along Holden Beach, stop by Mary's. Click here to see some of her work: https://roadtrippers.com/stories/marys-gone-wild-folk-art-and-doll-museum-is-home-to-over-6000-dolls.
Keep writing, friends.