“I wake up with an idea that won’t let me get back to sleep. So I get up and make that idea.” Steve Ashby converted most of his ideas into objects in the early 1960s after his wife had died and he retired from his years of work as a farm hand and gardener. Ashby’s favorite subjects were figures and animals, often inspired by the agrarian activities of Fauquier County, Virginia, where his ancestors had been slaves. Some of his figures were wind-activated to perform various activities that ranged from the domestic to the pornographic. Others include parts that move when handled.
Lynda Roscoe Hartigan Made with Passion: The Hemphill Folk Art Collection in the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990)