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PAINTING TAKES A TOLE ON ARTIST
ARTIST LIVES IN COLONIAL ARTWORK
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HOME AND GARDEN HAPPENINGS

ARTIST LIVES IN COLONIAL ARTWORK

by ROBYN MURPHY
Correspondent

In a walk through artist, Barbara Franzreb's, home, beautifully decorated in a romantic colonial style, it is obvious she has an affection for the 18th century.

Recently commissioned to paint items for sale in the shops of Colonial Williamsburg, Franzreb of Macedonia has maintained a hectic schedule working on her hand-painted heirlooms.

Using acrylic paints and varnishes, she transforms small wooden boxes into souvenirs ornamented in colonial fruits, flowers, and landscapes. She is also working on a special commemorative piece for Williamsburg's 300th anniversary, as well as other exquisite tole-painted treasures.

Returning from a painting retreat in Warren, where she taught classes instructing craft lovers how to make fruit recipe boxes and wildflowers painted on paper mache bags, Franzreb relaxed in her armchair, explaining, "I just love Colonial Williasmburg. I've been going down there since 1971 and I it just my favorite place to be. If I believed in reincarnation I would have to believe I lived there at one point."

Her love of this historic art style began the moment she first took up painting. Some of the Williamsburg boxes displayed in her home feature sites such as the King's Arms Tavern, the Governor's Palace and the Nicolson Store, all endearing landmarks for Franzreb.

Her favorite house in Williamsburg is the George Wythe home, a building originally owned by the law teacher at the College of William and Mary, who also made history as one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

"I just love the layout of the house. If I lived in Williamsburg, that is where I would want to live. I'm also drawn to the Governor's Palace with its extensive gardens and canal in back. It's a very peaceful place to be. On a recent trip in December, I was able to just sit by the canal and be a part of it, pretending what it was like to be a part of Williamsburg."

Speaking nostalgically of the romance of the time period and the home décor in the age of enlightenment, Franzreb admits she would really like to be doing reproductions of colonial artwork. "Unfortunately they did not have tole and decorative painting in Williamsburg in the late 1700's. It was found more in the New England states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire."

Today, tole and decorative painting includes a myriad of painting techniques, surface styles, and color schemes. It has evolved into a form of expression surpassing traditional folk styles.

As for her work at present, Franzreb says, "If I can surround myself with something from Williamsburg, I'm happy. I thought others would like these souvenirs as well. I'm really hoping this takes off and I can do many more buildings."

For information about Barbara Franzreb's work call (330) 467-7402 or see her website, www.calicogoose.com. Franzreb's work will be featured at Witan's 22nd Annual French Market February 26, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and February 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Todaro's Party Center, 1820 Akron-Peninsula Road, Akron.

Article Source: February 17, 1999 - New Leader



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