Folk art is an important part of my artistic viewpoint. Folk art is done by regular people, in their own homes, and often with unconventional tools. Sometimes for profit. Folk art, unlike fine art, does not rely on realistic depictions of animals or people, or on abstraction. I think folk art captures the pure essence of the desire for creativity in a way that many highly educated and commercially successful artists can only mimic.
I am also drawn to folk art because it is done by people of all walks of life. Poor peasants, retired lawyers, sharecroppers in the Deep South, rural women in India. Hobby artists who by day are government bureaucrats, and people who have tried several jobs, but never made one work...all are welcome to train themselves in artistic expression. Unlike fine art, folk art can't be easily defined as "good" or "bad". Art critiques don't matter to those that are looking for pure forms of creativity.
I think children's art is often reminiscent of folk art because of it's purity and ease of expression. Books for children should help capture the exuberance of child art, but also communicate the beauty of the world we live in to the young.
Many folk art designs look similar- Norwegian rose mailing designs look a little like Indian paisleys. Russian textiles also use paisleys. To people like me who feel disconnected to my surroundings because of moves and culture, the fact that folk art can look similar across continents is comforting.