Northwest Artist With Ashland Roots Creates Unique Folk Art

Sep 28, 2013

Over the last few years, JPR has had an opportunity to play dozens of fantastic folk and roots music albums from the Shoreline, Washington-based music promotion company Hearth Music. Artists like Josh Halverson, Red Tail Ring, Laura Cortese, Dustbowl Revival, and Pharis & Jason Romero have been heard throughout the region on Open Air and on The Folk Show on Sunday Evenings.

An exmaple of Dejah Leger's linocuts.

Hearth Music has Ashland, Oregon roots. Its owners, Devon and Dejah Leger actually met at Ashland High School in the 1990s, and Devon's parents, Barbara and Louis, lived in Ashland until 2010. Dejah's mother and brother still live in Ashland.

One creative twist that has always made Hearth Music albums stand out among the hundreds we receive every week is that each envelope is stuffed with a little paper card printed with a custom-designed linocut by Dejah. They're creative and beautiful (see photo).

Recently, the Leger family (Devon, Dejah, Louis and Barbara) returned to Ashland to perform at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Green Show as La Famille Leger - an Acadian folk music ensemble. At the end of the show, Dejah brought her music and artistic skills together in what's called a "crankie."

It's a style of folk art that can be described as a hand-made movie. Dejah creates paper cut designs that tell traditional stories or ballads and attaches them to a long scroll of paper. The paper is then mounted on a pair of wooden dowels, which are cranked in order to pull the moving design through the viewing window. When a light is placed behind the window, the light shines through the scroll and illuminates the designs from behind.

Here's a video of one of Dejah's crankies.