Folk Art Wood Finds

I love little handmade wood things, so I’m always thrilled when I find some when I’m out hunting. These first four items were all found at my neighborhood thrift store. Sometimes when I walk in this tiny Goodwill I wonder if I’ll ever find anything worth buying again (I’ve thought this for years!) and Lord knows I do walk out empty-handed a lot, but then I find a few things and it’s like the clouds have parted. These are not mega finds, but neat little bread-and-butter ones.

New Finds

This quirky, colorful, hand-painted swan napkin/letter holder was too fun to pass up. I believe it may be Mexican as it’s in the Alebrije style.

I know it’s weird, right?!

I was over the moon the other day when I saw this vintage sewing accessory. It’s a rocking chair with arms to hold thread and bobbins, a loop in back for scissors, a drawer for buttons and the padded seats serve as pincushions. It was likely made in the 1960s.

Isn’t this cute? This could also be used for rings and brooches.

Now this wood candleholder doesn’t look like much but it’s made by Swedish artisan Gunnar Kanevad. He makes simple, yet intriguing wood sculptures and pieces that resemble puzzle pieces like this candleholder (which is signed on the bottom). His pieces sell well, but I am concerned that its diminutive size (a mere 2.75″ by 3.5″!) may not be as appealing to some folks. Well, we’ll see!

This holds small menorah-sized candles.

Previous Wood Finds that I Got for Myself

I bought this Russian carved wood Santa/Father Frost ornament more than a year ago for $1.49. I thought the paint work on it was so nicely done including the big blue eyes with eyelashes. Some of the larger pieces like this sell for hundreds of dollars. This one could sell for $35-50.

I bought this old shoe shine box off a gal in my city who only sells through Craigslist. It’s made from vegetable crates! It has a sturdy web strap and what look like bells, but they make no noise. I just loved this piece. She had it listed for over a year and finally lowered the price. I negotiated a bit more and then it was mine. (I paid $45.)

I’ve always wanted a bog oak handicraft and decided to treat myself a few years back when I found this little Irish-themed caldron on eBay. It’s not unique or valuable, but was just the perfect size to display my small collection of vintage/antique stickpins.

Most of these are 10kt gold with real turquoise, opal, diamonds, pearls and amethyst.

Some bog oak Victorian-era brooches and necklaces can fetch a pretty penny. On WorthPoint I found this recent brooch sale for $465!

Note to self: Keep an eye out for pieces like this. They may look a tad staid amongst glittery ’50s brooches but are quite collectible.

Pieces I’m Looking For

Some day I hope to find a really cool, undervalued piece of tramp art. I find this type of carving intriguing and at present it’s still quite collectible.

from Museum of International Folk Art

Tramp Art is a mainly American genre of art using small pieces of wood, primarily from discarded cigar boxes and shipping crates, were whittled into layers of geometric shapes having the outside edges of each layer notch carved, or in the technique of a Crown of Thorns.


So far I haven’t found any at estate sales and certainly not at thrift stores…but I keep looking!

How about you? Any fun wood folk art finds?

Happy hunting,


P.S. The floral carved box in at the top of this post is a beauty I found earlier this year. It has pride of place on my family room mantel till it sells.


  1. I love these pieces. I too have a soft spot for carved wood. Especially boxes. Years ago I used to work at an antique store and this reminded me of a massive tramp art picture frame they had. Such much work went into it. But so lovely (and so out of my budget 😉 ).

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