Thursday, October 6, 2011
Vintage Thursday: The Morse Code Board
At home, I looked at the board again, and the signature. Jan Fleck. Who was Jan Fleck, I wondered? I typed the name into Google and added woodburning to the search. There seemed to be two Jan Flecks, an artist in Louisville, Kentucky and a rocker in Europe. I clicked on the artist.
This Jan Fleck, I found, worked with her husband Mel to create beautifully intricate Egyptian-themed art using metal etching to create acid prints which we then hand-colored. There was a telephone number listed so I called and left a message, feeling fairly certain that this could not be the same person--and yet metal etching and woodburning were similar, so maybe...
My phone rang later in the afternoon. It was Mel Fleck and he told me that yes, the Morse Code was a piece by his wife, made probably in the early 70's when she was just beginning her art career. He said that a descendant of Samuel Morse, the creator of the code, had purchased one of the board from Jan years ago, and that she sold others at art shows in various places. How did this one end up in a yard sale in West Virginia, I wondered? Mel told me that one of the shows at which they exhibited was in Myrtle Beach--West Virginia's #1 vacation location. I am sure that is where the piece was purchased.
The Flecks developed an interest in Egyptian art and learned to create pieces together, with Jan doing the etching and Mel working with inks' both did the hand-coloring. Jan Fleck passed away in 2008, but Mel Fleck continues to tour the art circuit and still creates new pieces.
"So what you have is an early Jan Fleck," Mel told me. I offered to return the piece to him, but he said he had several; he was just pleased to know I had found this one and had followed up on the signature.
I think I'll be keeping this little piece of art. Thank you, Mel Fleck for helping me solve the mystery of its origin.
I'm linking up today with Colorado Lady's Vintage Thingies Thursday. Stop by her place to see all sorts of fun vintage items and links to other blogs.