Daffodil Stick, 2011, 1″x 52″, acrylic and mixed medium on wood.
From barn to manor, these are repurposed farm tools.
I have a long history of painting things. Objects. Savable, ready for a second life stuff. These sticks fit my pattern.
They were completely unexpected. I’d never seen one before. Didn’t know what they were for. Or their physical nature. The first time I held one I thought it a marvel of architecture. Evocative, tactile, weighty. Made of wood, pointed at both ends, these tobacco sticks were scepter and staff, superhero rods. Magical.
Mostly they were raw and solid, slender and unused with no discernible future.
Each, from the start, began as it’s own piece. Treated individual. Four-sided, lean and holdable. I liked so much about this new canvas. A new option for me. I fell in love with them.
It began on a driving trip with a friend and a stop at his friend’s farm in Kentucky. On that first visit Lucy, the lyrical Lady of the Farm, introduced us to the lands with a walking tour and on that walk one barn had the sticks (pictured above) stacked by the thousands. “No longer needed.”
The farm had not grown tobacco for years. I learned that the sticks were used to transport tobacco from the fields and then hang them in the ventilation barn rafters for curing. Complete utility. A farm tool. Now unused. Me, I saw second-life potential.
Averaging 1″ square by 52″ long, pointed at both ends, with a weight determined by their wood, they’re all stand me up or hang me up pieces.
This Daffodil Stick is painted on one of the original six tobacco sticks brought back to New York City from that first visit to the farm. The back seat floor fit them easily. The Daffodil Stick was sent via post which I heard was as much of a surprise and pleasure as I’d hoped it might be. The Lady of the Farm loves daffodils and thus the theme. Daffodils are welcoming of spring and what could be more hopeful.
The following year my painted tobacco sticks won a Greenwich Village Arts festival award for most successful use of recycled materials.
In 2021 the green and white striped stick, above, was given as a gift to a childhood friend of Lucy’s in New York. I included daffodils to represent Lucy. And lucky horseshoes to represent her friend.