Folk Art

Strawberry Momma & Babies Pincushion Make-Do
  • If you have known me long, you know I’m kind of a make-do nut—that crazy old make-do lady. But early make-do repaired pieces show us how precious things were to our ancestors. Although a make-do is a utilitarian object that has had repairs to make it serviceable or turn it into something else they fall into both the categories of Folk Art and Decorative Arts. I find that so many of them are great folk art because they really show the creative ability of non-artists who make the most of an accidental break.

    Strawberry pincushions are among the most popular of the make-do pincushions. This strawberry seems to have grown some baby strawbs that keep “hanging around.” There are ten dangling velvet baby strawberries with embroidered tops and seeds. Some of the babies have been tied or pinned back to Mama. The velvet on the big strawberry has mostly worn down to the nap, which means someone used it a lot (that’s a good thing). Big Mama Strawberry has leaves of a green fabric that has faded to mostly brown and is edged with the same thin cording that is used to hang the babies. Her seeds are also little French knot embroidery. The pincushion is placed on an old lamp base with an iron base and a center column of what I think is some type of opaque glass that is a cream color. The color may be painted on because there is some craquelure in it. I guess it might by some kind of ceramic….I really don’t know. But there are berries and leaves painted on it so it is the perfect base for the pincushions. It stands 10 ½” tall. The big berry is not at all loose but there must be a tiny hole because a bit of sawdust comes out when you move it around. You might see a bit of sawdust in the packing material when you open it but place her in your home and she will be fine. So, I’m telling you it isn’t perfect but it is what it should be, an antique with no repairs or changes once it was transformed—and I estimate that it was a make-do pincushion since about 1890. I usually sell these strawberry make-do pincushions with babies at more than $500. So, really, the apologies are worth the price of this one! It’s a steal even with the apologies!

    #6710    Sale Pending