March 27, 2007

Ozark folk dolls on display at University Museum

by Tom Woolf


Ozark folk doll

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Ozark folk dolls that focus on superstitious stories are on display at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's University Museum through April 13.

Ashley Marie Jacoby, an art history student, curated the exhibit, which features 17 dolls from the museum's Naomi Clark collection. Superstitions illustrated by the dolls involve howling dogs, wedding rings, hairballs, dead trees, mad stones and black threads.

Residents of the small northwestern Arkansas town of Winslow, in the secluded foothills of the Boston Mountains, created the dolls in the 1930s. The residents of the area relied on the land for most of their food and materials for living. Objects of leisure came from the environment as well.

Clark, who began her career as a writer, became a main figure of Ozark doll making. During the Great Depression, she brought men and women from Winslow together to make dolls for the enjoyment of children and to sell to hill country visitors.

The University Museum is in Faner Hall.