Tramp Art and a Giveaway

In Absence of Alice, Sarah Winston is doing a sale for a client who has a collection of tramp art. I first learned about tramp art when we unearthed a piece in my grandparent’s basement on their farm in Novinger, Missouri. My mom uses it to display shells in her house.

Tramp art is a bit of a misnomer. Here is a bit about it from Old House online: Tramp art is the whimsical name given to a folk-art form that was popular ca. 1870 to 1940. Boxes, picture frames, religious artifacts, and decorative objects were chip-carved from cigar boxes and, less often, from packing crates. The wood was notch-carved with squares, triangles, and rectangles, then layered to created three-dimensional, boldly geometric pieces. Some are inlaid with carved hearts, leaves, or stars; others feature applied decoration made of “found” materials like bits of china or mirrored glass. Larger pieces can run to mantel clocks and tables with drawers.

I think mom’s piece is made out of an old crate.

If you look closely on the right side it says Novinger MO!

I did a lot of research about tramp art which led me to eBay which led me to a purchase. Imagine that — the sacrifices I make for my art. I bought three frames that were grouped together. They are all about 12 1/4 by 10 1/2. Here is one of them:

Here is a close up of the detail:

Monday I taped an episode of Antiques Roadshow and what do you know there was a piece of tramp art! Here’s a close up of some of the detail.

If you are interested in seeing more about the piece you can watch here:–200701A35/

I decided I didn’t need to keep three tramp art frames so I’m giving away the one pictured above on my author Facebook page. Leave a comment there for a chance to win:

I’ll give away a copy of Absence of Alice here!

Readers: Have you heard of tramp art before? Do you have a piece?



41 Thoughts

  1. While I don’t own any pieces of tramp art and since we downsized probably never will, I think they are intriguing. Can you imagine the hours of work and imagination it took to make them. I watched that episode of Antiques Roadshow. No wonder the woman said she would never sell it knowing a dear relative had made it. Through antique shopping in the past, I have seen many pieces and was aware of tramp art for some time.

    Thank you for the fabulous opportunity to win a copy of “Absence of Alice”. It’s on my TBR list and I can’t wait for the opportunity to read it. Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. No I’ve never heard of Tramp art before but I like it, the first one most of all. Thank you for this chance at your giveaway!! pgenest57 at aol dot com

  3. Thanks for enlightening me about tramp art. I think I need to start collecting.

  4. Sherry, I can’t tell you how pleased I am to see this post! When I read Absence of Alice, even though you described Tramp Art, I couldn’t quite imagine it or picture it in my mind. I certainly never understood how beautiful it is. Thank you so much for sharing the photos of your pieces!.

  5. I had never heard of Tramp Art, your pieces are lovely. Now I will be looking at garage sales to see if I can find any!

  6. My neighbor has a piece of tramp art that her grandfather made – it’s a beautiful box.

  7. I loved Absence of Alice and enjoyed learning about Tramp Art. The photos on your blog post are spectacular.

  8. I think I’d heard of it before, but I really didn’t know what it was. Thanks for the explanation and the pictures.

  9. There were so many extras in Absence of Alice like the Tramp Art and the military families in EFMP. I so enjoyed reading the book!

  10. I have never heard of tramp art, but I love the picture frames. I have so many beautiful old pictures and one of those frames would only enhance the beauty. Looking forward to reading Absence of Alice and would love to win a copy.

  11. Wow, this is so very interesting, I had never heard of it. It is Beautiful! Your frames are beautiful, they look so exquisite! Thank you for sharing this very,very interesting post. Have a Great weekend and stay safe.

  12. I haven’t heard of tramp art before. It was intriguing reading about it and I loved the pictures of the frame you posted. Thanks so much for the giveaway! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

  13. I have not heard of Tramp Art before. It is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you. I do not own a piece of the art.

  14. Thanks, that was really interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Tramp Art. I’ll have to look it up.
    I love learning new things!

  15. Well there seems to be a bunch of us that have not heard of Tramp, my. Thanks so much, y’all all stay safe & have a good evening! nani_geplcs(at)yahoo(dot)com

  16. I have rarely seen Tramp Art at house sales and the rough craftmanship is something to treasure.

  17. My Grandmother was very art oriented and made a lot of things out of old discarded items. She used to make things out of boxes used to ship peaches. Interesting name for that kind of project.

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