|BACK TO HOMEPAGE|
I hope you enjoy the fruits of the internet as much as I do. For more than thirty years I have been traveling the back roads of the Brandywine Valley, this area is rolling green vastness brimming with early America. The region surrounds historic Philadephia, Pennsylvania, our Nation's original Capital. I love searching out the sights and sounds, the small obscure antique shops, observing the Amish of Lancaster County, peering over the fences and walls hoping for a glimpse of Andrew Wyeth at his compound in Chadds Ford, looking in the windows of long abandoned historic homesteads, and contemplating the historic grounds where George Washington fought revolutionary battles near my home. The Liberty Bell at Independence Hall and the home of Benjamin Franklin are within a half hours drive. But it is the country back roads I truly enjoy.
I put those many many years of photo practice to work creating the cards and prints I am hoping to sell on my site. You will also find simple, affordable antiques, collectibles, and country goodies for sale. Some of these hard goods for sale are from my private collection, accumulated over the last thirty years. Most things you see in the store are new finds from the old shops mentioned above. I love all of this stuff. I hope you will too.
I am not used to putting my bio out for public consumption, but since this blog page is called “about”, I thought you might like to know a few other things about the proprietor of Carole’s Country Store. I have been married for forty three years. I have two children , William and Melissa, and a granddaughter, Emily. I was born in Philadelphia, and have lived in nearby Wilmington Delaware for close to forty years now.
All along I have had a passion for all things folk, antique, primitive, and country. I started in my twenties transforming plastic flowers into faux aged arrangements dipped in secret blends of stains and paints then putting them in beautiful containers. Even way back then, my friend, Carole, was my partner. We had such fun together. So many laughs. We did home demonstrations dressed in long skirts. After our presentation, we would sit patiently waiting for the ladies to place their orders. Sometimes it seemed that we wouldn’t get any orders so we would sit and write notes to one another while the ladies socialized and drank punch and ate cookies. I still have our order book, oh, what memories it holds. I had surprising success selling my flower creations to neighborhood gift shops, even a department store, and got the bug for making and selling. I quickly left flower dipping behind, as the fumes from the paints and stains gave me headaches and a good notion that this would not be healthy work over the long haul.
From there, I moved to hand lettered wooden plaques, and painted blocks. I would go to the lumber yard, get long pine boards cut into various size pieces, sand the edges, age them with TLC paint rubbing techniques then stencil or handletter them with “Welcome Friends”, "Fresh Eggs", "Bread 5 Cents", and other homey things. They sold amazingly well. Before long I had a distributor clamoring for more. In those days, back in the early 70’s, “country” was really hot. Everyone was into it. The husband of one shopkeeper left his corporate job to rep for several artists. I was one of them. This was great, because all I had to do was fill the orders, call UPS, and off they went. There were even orders from Japan (of all places to find folky art lovers). I never intended to have a high powered business, so I slowly withdrew from the plaque making as I moved on to other interests - one thing led to the next and the next.
As it turned out, my many years learning color mix, creating color textures, painting primitive country imagery and loving the simple art of days gone by led to my discovery of American Folk Artist/Muralist Rufus Porter. You can read more about him here. It was a perfect fit for me. I sure did love simple whimsical folk art, I loved painting, and from there on out I was determined to turn all my years of fooling with art into a business painting folk art murals in the style of Rufus. Fortunately, my previously mentioned lifetime friend (also Carole) is almost a “real artist”- as she has been trained in fine art and can paint a bird or a fox still life with the best of them. I prefer the offbeat whimsy of disproportionate trees and slightly surreal representations of things found in early country. Our skills are highly complementary. Our customers tell us they love our creations. Anyway, our mural painting business “Carole II” is just the right pace for me. I have been doing it for about 8 years. The jobs are many times physical - on ladders, up stairways, on a scaffold from time to time. So the fact we keep low key and still manage to get five or six good paying jobs a year keeps it more like fun than work. The sense of permanence, accomplishment, the joy in our customers hearts, is most satisfying. We even were commissioned to paint a mural in the Governor's Guest House in Dover, Delaware. It was quite an honor. Carole and I, of course, use that to promote our work. If I was younger, maybe I would be doing this fulltime as fast and furious as I could, but for now I like this laidback pace.