Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Off the Beaten Path

The potter's wheel hasn't changed much in thousands of years.

We recently toured artist's studios in Mt. View, Arkansas. For those of you who are not familiar with the little town, it is a national tourist destination due to the Ozark Folk Festival and Center, an Arkansas State Park, which keeps alive the traditions of the Ozark Mountain people. Once a year, visitors may tour the area's plethora of artist's studios during the three day "Off the Beaten Path" tour.

En route we came across this really nifty old "dog trot" house. The pioneers would build a simple one room log cabin and as they prospered, or needed more room, they would build another one room log cabin with a breezeway between the two. This configuration is known as a "dog trot," because the open air, but covered porch was a breezy place for dogs and people alike to relax out of the noonday sun. The economy of materials and simplicity of design, makes a "dog trot" house a very clever architectural solution. If the open porch got filled in, the house became a "dupledoor," which is German for two doors.

For an amazing literary story about the Ozarks, check out Donald Harrington's classic, "Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks." I was privileged to meet him some years ago, and he is a very gifted author.--Ruth Mitchell

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