This beaded wire bird is the work of Bernard Domingo a folk artist living in Westchester County in the lower Hudson Valley of New York State. It was purchased in 2013 from the New York Folklore Gallery in Schenectady, and added to our permanent Folk Art Collection. It is also one of the featured pieces this summer in our evolving display, Folk Arts All Around Us, distributed around Crandall Public Library.
Mr. Domingo was born in Zimbabwe, a member of the Shona people. He began making toys at the age of six, using coat hangers and other cast off wire. This creativity grew into a livelihood as an adult, when some 30 years ago he made and sold his beaded wire figurines, and also founded an artistic cooperative, Domingo Wirecraft, where he coordinates as many as a dozen artisans, selling in Zimbabwe, in the United States, and around the world.
Various birds, lizards, lions, and other animals, fruit and even motorcycles, are made from wire threaded with small glass beads. The only tools used are the artisan's hands and a pair of needle-nose pliers. For our current Folk Art display in the Children's Department, we've added a lizard to the bird, loaned from my own personal collection.
If you enjoy reading this blog post and seeing the display, you can also learn more from the artist by watching Bernard Domingo discuss and show more beaded wire art in a Cultural Survival Bazaar Vimeo video at https://vimeo.com/446530932.
Be sure to watch for more posts about our Folk Arts Collection, and for our new project, Folk Arts All Around Us, an evolving exhibition found throughout Crandall Public Library.
New York Folklore Gallery of Folk Art, 129 Jay Street, Schenectady, NY.
"Bazaar Artist: Making Art Out of Wire - Bernard Domingo," Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine, June 15, 2013.
"Travel the World In One Place" by Sharon Adelman Crowley, in Tewksbury Town Crier, December 20, 2014.
"Domingo Wire & Beads Work / Bernard Domingo," Cultural Survival Bazaar: A Festival of Indigenous Arts and Cultures, https://vimeo.com/446530932.
Todd DeGarmo is the founding director of The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library, in Glens Falls, NY, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s worked as a public sector folklorist and educator in various venues for over 42 years, and is the editor of Voices: Journal of New York Folklore. He lives in the upper Hudson Valley of upstate New York, a stone’s throw from the Battenkill near the Vermont border.