The Tobacco Sticks Story

Doug and Rachel's Tobacco Sticks

I call them 1″ Wonders.

I discovered them on a summer driving trip with my friend Gino. While walking on the Kentucky farm of friends Lucy and John I spotted them. At the other end of one of the barns there they were. I had never seen one before let alone thousands. While I didn’t know what they were I knew instantly that I wanted to paint them.

Un-Painted Tobacco Stick by E.G.Silberman

Piled and dusty with no future use on the farm as the farm had stopped growing tobacco crops I saw these tobacco sticks as canvas. Marvels, actually. Each solid and unique yet uniform. And ideal for a second use.

 

Tobacco sticks. Wood, no doubt, hewn from trees on the property.

1″ x 52″, solid, brilliantly evocative, and stately when held, I was encouraged to take a few back to NYC and see what I could do with them in my studio. They offered the entire stick content of the barn. I brought back six. One of those original six sticks is now in their house on the farm. The Daffodil Stick. 

While similar in form each has variations. Their wood, for example, Pecan, Chestnut, Ash, Oak, Pine. The wood’s age? Might be older than America.

One year after discovering them I presented them at an NYC Arts Festival where they were awarded most successful use of recycled materials.

Artifact to art. And a new form of American art/craft: the singularly painted tobacco stick.

Painted tobacco sticks are slender accents. They do not shout but rather remind with delight how fortunate life is with beauty in it.

They can be leaned, grouped, or mounted (horizontally or vertically) in the narrowest spaces – on walls, over door thresholds, and on columns.  Look around the rooms you’re in and see where potentials lay for a bit of art to accent your life.

 

 

NYT: The Searing Beauty, and Harsh Reality, of a Kentucky Tobacco Harvest

2021

TOBACCO STICKS

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