Made in America with Foreign Parts

Tramp Art Stand

Tramp Plant Stand Tramp Art Stand
Norwegian-American
Martin Cliff, c.1910
Wood (used cigar boxes)
Gift of Lila Martin
MHAHS 1980.001.0006
Photograph by Emily Pfotenhauer

With ingenuity and skill, even cast-off materials like cigar boxes were transformed into unique and artistic household items. This skillfully executed stand in the “Crown of Thorns” pattern contains hundreds of hand-carved wood pieces held together without the use of glue or nails. A popular vernacular art form, this style is dubbed Tramp Art because of the romantic association with homeless workmen who might trade this work for food.  Martin Cliff, the maker of this piece (and also the Hardanger fiddle in this exhibition), was known as an “artist farmer.” He drew his inspiration from both his Norwegian heritage and the popular arts and crafts of the period.

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Creators, Collectors & Communities by Mount Horeb Area Historical Society is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.