Here's an interesting read:
"In such circumstances, tens of thousands of soldiers died unknown, and tens of thousands of families were left without any consoling knowledge of their loved ones’ fates, circumstances of death, or place of burial. At least half of the Civil War dead were never identified. As the war continued, these realities became increasingly intolerable, and Americans worked in both official and informal ways to combat such dehumanization and loss. Soldiers endeavored to locate, inter, and honor slain comrades; merchants created and marketed identity disks for soldiers; the men themselves pinned their scribbled names to their uniforms before especially dangerous encounters. Voluntary organizations like the U.S. Sanitary Commission emerged and devoted their energies to compiling lists of killed and wounded from hundreds of Union hospitals, creating records of battlefield burials, and offering aid to families in locating the lost and, for those with means, shipping embalmed bodies home. Families swarmed to battle sites in the aftermath of engagements to search for dead or wounded relatives, actively seeking information otherwise unavailable to them, hoping to fill what one northern observer called the “dread void of uncertainty.”
The influence of Southern culture in my work also stems from the differences I’ve found in ethnic and cultural differences among whites in the South. Having brought up in an Appalachian family and raised in the Deep South, I found that many of the traditions of my family history conflicted with the social norms of my surroundings. This fueled my discontent with local assertions of masculinity that I felt were not in congruent with what I experienced. In contrast to the standards of the Anglo-Saxon based Deep South, the clannish structure of the Appalachian household was much more transient on gender roles, due to the economic woes facing the Appalachian region. Although paternalistic, the head of the household, as well as many other men in the home, were accustomed to the traditional roles of their female counterparts, such as cooking, sewing, cleaning and various other crafts--as a form of self-reliance during hard times. Likewise, many Appalachian women were not bound to the traditional duties of the household and participated in the upkeep of livestock, hunting, and farming. (Stembridge Family - circa 1930's, with the surviving 12 of their 16 kids shown). My Great grandmother is in the back right of the photo.
Loy Allen Bowlin has had an influence on my work because of his use of rhinestones and his compulsion to decorate just about anything in his possession with them. Known as “the original rhinestone cowboy”, Bowlin achieved folk art cult status to the likes of Nudie Cohn and Reverend Howard Finster. His Cadillac, wardrobe items, eyeglasses, and even dentures, glistened with rhinestones. After Bowlin’s death in 1995, the Koehler Foundation acquired his house and moved it to the corporation’s museum in Wisconsin.
Bowlin's "Beautiful Holy Jewel Home of the Original Rhinestone Cowboy" in McComb, Miss.