I was researching a post on painted “fancy chairs” from the Federal era and after when I got distracted by a great book and its subject matter: Betsy Krieg Salm’s Women’s Painted Furniture, 1790-1830 (University Press of New England, 2010) caught my eye in the library for numerous reasons (it’s a beautiful book, I love painted furniture, the era coincides with Salem’s golden age, so I knew I’d find some good stuff in it), but once I opened it I could not put it down. The result of three decades of research by the author (who is an ornamental artist herself), the book is art history, social history, education history, cultural history, world history all at the same time.
The subtitle, American Schoolgirl Art, is particularly appropriate as this book is about training, expectations, and influences as well as the motifs which decorate the furniture. I had never really…
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Sunday was one of those serendipitous days when I had the wonderful opportunity to see a master at work. Robert Gary Parkes gave an exclusive glass blowing demonstration to members of my camera club. He was articulate in explaining a little of the history of glass blowing, talked about various kinds of glass, and showed us how he combined glass to create stunning colours.
We were all happily snapping away trying to catch his every move. I experimented with a variety of aperture and shutter settings and used a tripod to help capture some of the action. If you’ve ever seen glass blowing you will know how fast the artisan has to work to keep the molten glass from hardening too quickly.
Here’s an image I took while Robert was swinging the rod with hot glass back and forth in an almost dance-like rhythm.
With twirling and whirling and crimping…
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Heart-shaped maps are one thing, but maps of the human heart are quite another, and I’ve got both on this Valentine’s Day. The charting of emotional territory, as opposed to physical space, has resulted in the production of several interesting maps from the seventeenth century to the near-present. Below are the companion Map of the Open Country of a Woman’s Heart and Map of the Fortified Country of a Man’s Heart, ostensibly and anonymously drawn “by a lady” and published by the Kellogg Brothers of Hartford, Connecticut in the 1830s. These heart maps, along with lots of other examples of the Kellogg’s impressive lithography, can be viewed at the online gallery of the Connecticut Historical Society and Museum.
I’ve brightened and cropped both maps so that you can better see the different regions that make up these human hearts. It’s very interesting that the woman’s heart is an “open”…
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One morning in the spring of 2010, I woke, pushed the sleep mask up into my wild flume of hair, and said the following out loud:
I don’t think I can listen to any more opinions.
As the dogs were the only people in the room at the time, I didn’t get, nor did I expect, a reply.
My statement was a closed circle beginning and ending with myself.
Something in me had snapped into pieces that would never to be reconciled into simplicity again.
And to be quite frank, this line I drew around myself was long overdue.
You see, my primary currency for many years had been opinions. I dealt them out like dollar bills whether I believed deeply in what I had to say or not— this transient fact of myself is embarrassing enough.
Were I to count up the number…
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