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Fogo Folks

The Self Taught Creations of Dee and Bob Lauder

by Jantje Blokhuis-Mulder

"We were following some family roots in Scotland some years ago and we found the little country church named Fogo, the one attended by the Lauder family in the 1800's. Fascinated by the design of the entry gate and the name, we decided that some day we would use them". -Dee and Bob Lauder

After working as farmers in rural Saskatchewan for more than fifty years, Bob and Dee Lauder left the Canadian prairies and moved to a small Island called Gabriola. Located off the coast of British Columbia, Gabriola is home to about 4000 residents as well as many dogs, cats and a few hundred horses. The island has a moderate climate and offers laid back country living. It takes about two hours by ferry to get there from Vancouver.

Once on the island, Bob and Dee built themselves a wonderful house with high ceilings and they called it FOGO. The house is surrounded by a mini mote and you have to enter by crossing a draw bridge.

It was never their intention to become well known - let alone famous - for their folk art creations, but in less than two years Bob and Dee were in demand for their Fogo creations. Rather tall, 6 foot high life-size people carved out of wood ... people who look like real caricatures out of someone's family. Duncan, according to Bob, "...was carved in a likeness of my Great Uncle "Jimmie" a shy bachelor who came to Canada in the 1890's and worked with my grandfather on the family farm." Then there was Rose who was a commission. "They wanted an outrageous yard light." says, Bob. With her flannelet bloomers, lisle stockings and colorful dress, the 6 foot tall Rose makes quite a sight. She came complete with a light and a motion detector!

Bob and Dee's sense of humor and life experiences have resulted in folk art creations with an unusual twist. Folk art stools like "Gertrude", "The Sheriff" and the "Horse Stool" are just some of their many truly unique wonders.

A few weeks ago, Bob explained, "I am in the process of making our life size people out of cement to be used as garden or outside art."

Judging from what I've seen of their work so far, I think we will be in for a treat when this next phase of FOGO Folk Art is complete.

Text © Jantje Blokhuis-Mulder; Photos Reprinted with Permission

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