George McCormick, originally from Mississippi, began creating
African-American folk art in Milwaukee, WI, in 1993. He says that
his craft came to him by prayer. George was learning to create
porcelain dolls, but was finding it difficult to find time for
the art as his job at the county hospital kept him busy. He recalls
praying that he would be able to learn how to carve wood. One
evening, George discovered a piece of wood on the floor. A voice
in his head told him, "This is my gift to you." Pulling
a knife from his pocket, he began carving and hasn't stopped yet.
A spiritual person, George's art reflects the growth he has undergone
in his personal life. He spoke about his "flat people"
which were representative of people he knew in his youth. George
has created dolls in the form of clowns, historical figures, and
religious scenes. He makes all of the clothes for the dolls himself.
When asked about his favorite piece of art, George pointed out
a doll he made of Mary McCloud Bethune (bottom left), the founder
of a school for African-American children. The doll's dress is
made from the material of a dress his mother wore in 1955. This
doll also won first place at the Holiday of Black Doll Festival
in Columbus, Ohio in 1996. George says that his dream is to have
his art in the Smithsonian before he dies.