Sunday, May 31, 2009

Icones Zootomicae

Insecta - cockroach cross section

Coelenterata - jellyfish illustrations

Coelenterata b

Coelenterata a

Insecta a

Mollusca a - cephalopod

Mollusca f - cephalopod illustration

Mollusca g

Mollusca c

Mollusca e

Mollusca h


Vermes a

echinodermata a


echinodermata b

Echinodermata e

Echinodermata d

Some wonderful lithography work in these cropped (and slightly doctored) details from plates in the 1857 Julius Victor Carus book on invertebrate animals: 'Icones Zootomicae, die Wirbellosen Thiere', available as always in enormous page images from the excellent Universities of Strasbourg Digital Library collection.
"Julius Victor Carus (1823-1903) was a zoologist, editor, and historian of science. Educated in German universities and at Oxford, he served on the faculties of the latter, as well as the universities at Edinburgh and Leipzig. Carus is probably best remembered as editor of the Zoologischer Anzeiger, a position he held from its inception in 1878 until his death. He was also recognized for the translation into German of many of the classical works of Charles Darwin." [also & online works]

Bulldog Buildings Bumper Sticker

Bulldog Buildings Bumper stickerBulldog Buildings Bumper sticker, buildings on Westend Avenue New York City Reflect on the car window with this sticker.
Image License: I, (sookietex) the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible, I grant any entity the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

If This image is subject to copyright in your jurisdiction, i (sookietex) the copyright holder have irrevocably released all rights to it, allowing it to be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited in any way by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, with or without attribution of the author, as if in the public domain.

Sunday with Cindy: Cindy and Heather in Beadwork

One of my customers sent a note after she'd purchased a set of the Ivory Bling Links. She'd seen them in the June/July 2009 issue of Beadwork magazine and "had to have them!" I appreciate comments from my customers and like to know where they've seen my beads. I didn't have a copy of Beadwork at home so I hurried over to the bookstore to see if I could find a copy. Before I bought it, I flipped through the pages and was very happy to find them in Katie's Corner.

I said in my review of Bead and Wire Jewelry Exposed that Katie Hacker is magic with earrings. In Katie's corner, she's made another beautiful set of earrings and this time uses my Ivory Bling links along with fellow editor, Heather Powers gorgeous beads. Lucky us! Make sure you check that out while you're drinking your morning coffee over at the bookstore this morning.

Jean is reading and reviewing books this week. It looks like BeadStyle Magazine has another winner on their hands!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Easy Beading volume number 5 is out this month and is as great as always--check it out on Jean's blog!

Carmi's has a new focal project on her blog this week.....
Carmi's Art/Life
Carmi's newest pendant is inspired by the forest floor.

....while Tammy's watching a jewelrymaking how-to video. Jewelry Making
Silver Threads Web Videos - Watch Jeanne Rhodes-Moen make some gorgeous filigree jewelry.

Cyndi Lavin and the Art Bead Scene have tips for your jewelry business this week.

Jewelry & Beading
More spring cleaning tips to get your jewelry business in tip-top shape this season!

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene's The Bead Biz offers up a "less is more" philosophy to selling your work.

Now that we've finished the Bead Blogging news and our coffee, leave a comment and let me know what you liked about this week's news. Did you make Carmi's project? Did you buy a copy of Beadwork? Did the Beady News inspire you to make something of your own?

(written by News and Coffee junkie, Cindy Gimbrone.)

Saturday, May 30, 2009


This morning I woke up early
and treated Manolo & the boys with this:
and organic No-Knead Bread
The recipes are so easy it's amazing.
My boy's faces
were the best reward!

Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Studio Saturday - From Inspiration to Creation

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

Last weeks winner is Christie of BeadLuvah Congratulations! You have won a few buttons from Creative Impressions in Clay. Send us an e-mail with your address in the suggestion box and we will get it right out to you.

I've been one busy beadmaker getting beads together for Bead & Button. Pam at Bello Modo will be selling Humblebeads at booth #957, so be sure to stop by and say hello.

Like many of you, jewelry making is my stress-reliever and something I do when my brain needs a break from creating the same bead for the 500th time! I thought it would be fun to share my process from inspiration to creation on one of my latest pieces of jewelry.

It started with the sketch above, which was a color study using my urchins with raspberry keishe pearls. You can read the original post and see the other variations here.

I had large chunky raspberry pearls and decided to string up the design just as I had sketched. Looked great, until I tried it on. It was very Flinestone-y and little too over the top for me. You just never know until the creation is in your hand and around your neck how it will play out in real life. So, out came the wire cutters and the beads fell back on to the table. Time for round two.

One of the problems with the first design was that the urchin just stuck out like a sore thumb. The little bits of amazonite and crystals weren't large enough to balance out the over-powering raspberry pearls. So I pulled out some lentils in glass that mimicked the shape of the urchin, grabbed some wood, a few turquoise daggers to play off the shape of pearls and put together the asymmetrical design like a puzzle, letting the shapes and colors speak to each. I decided to finish the design with chain and a button clasp. The chain and clasp also mirror the shape of the lentil. This is a much more wearable piece to me and still holds the same spirit of the tropical inspiration. If I had small keishe pearls on hand the design would have worked as sketched, sometimes you have to adapt according to what you have on hand!

And speaking of hands, with the left over beads I whipped up a matching bracelet. I mixed in a few of my disk beads.

My question for you this week is what part of jewelry making do you find the most relaxing? Maybe it's pulling out the beads, hammering away at metal or the meditative quality of sewing bead after bead. I will send out an urchin bead to one lucky winner.

Oh, and now that I mentioned winners, don't forgot to go vote for your favorite creations in the Bead Star contest, voting ends May 30th.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Landjuweel and the Chambers of Rhetoric

Uyt ionsten versaemt
[United by friendship


Landjuweel a

Landjuweel b

Landjuweel c

Landjuweel d

Landjuweel e

Landjuweel f

Landjuweel g

Landjuweel h

Landjuweel i

Landjuweel j

Landjuweel k

Landjuweel l

Landjuweel m

[All the images above were spliced together from multiple screen captures
- click through to much enlarged versions]

As is so often the case on the erratic path taken by this blog, the background to a series of arresting or compelling images - that chooses to randomly dive in front of my passing browser - offers its own fascinating dimension for exploration and provides both context and added depth to the visual subject matter.

On this occasion however, the connection between the imagery and the story is not so much tenuous - although it might be that too - as relatively obscure. The pictures do follow directly from an unusual or at least esoteric episode of regional cultural history, but exactly why the one begat the other is a little beyond my powers of distillation, let's say. Enlightening comments are invited. Inventive fiction will otherwise suffice.

The story begins in the Low Countries during the 15th century with the gradual establishment of drama guilds, a concept that was almost certainly imported from France. These chambers of rhetoric or rederijkerskamer, as they came to be called, developed into companies of amateur actors and authors who wrote and performed vernacular plays and lyrical poetry for the enjoyment of their local townsfolk. From our vantage point you might think of them as a cross between literary societies, political lobby forums and theatre sports.

Early compositions were dominated by religious dramatic and pious verse in keeping with the church fraternity origins of the chambers. Rederijkers (rhetoricians) eventually came to incorporate satire and social and political commentary into their productions. This of course drew the ire of the authorities who essentially tried to manipulate and infiltrate this Renaissance equivalent of the mass media.
"The influence of the rhetoricians on social and spiritual life, specifically their part in the Reformation, must not be underestimated. Especially in the sixteenth century, the period of their greatest success, they were a factor which both church and state had to take into account.

Over the years their power and possessions had increased steadily; they enjoyed the protection of the authorities everywhere, and during festivals and processions they added a splendour which no other guild could offer to the same degree. The magnificence of their performances, the humour and seriousness of their plays, their candid criticism of church and society earned them respect from the magistrates who saw them play in the town hall just as much as from the bourgeoisie who saw them play in the market square."
The individual chambers had their own name, slogan and insignia or coat of arms and their plays and performances were affected to varying degrees by local cultural concerns. This apparent provincial quality was tempered by a relative uniformity of structure among all the chambers, with similar hierarchies, rules and prohibitions enforced. The very nature of the chambers also meant that the rederijkers were drawn from a narrow strata of society: this was the literate middle to upper classes, whether in Ghent or Amsterdam or Antwerp (by the middle of the 16th century, virtually every town and city in the Low Countries had at least one chamber of rhetoric). This shared commonality of structure, function and membership probably explains, to an extent, how the chambers were able to exert such a remarkable influence across all the territories in which they were located.
"Formal competition within individual chambers grew into formal competitions between chambers. These competitive festivals, called landjuweels (literally "jewel" or "prize of the land"), pitted cities' chambers against one another in a series of contests strictly governed by rules of form. [..]

A landjuweel could last for several days or sometimes for several weeks. Performances were open to the public, and by all contemporary accounts, attended enthusiastically. Contestants competed for prizes in a number of categories including: the best play, the best farcical entertainment, the most beautiful blazon, the best acting, the best poem, the best reader of a poem, the best orator, the best song, the best singing, the fool who entertained the best "without villainy"."
And what does all this have to do with the trophies, blazons, rebus and allegorical engravings displayed above you might well ask? Good question. The simple answer is that following the Antwerp landjuweel of 1561, transcripts of the plays performed were assembled into book form and a supplement of illustrations (some by Frans Floris), poems and musical lyrics was also produced. A hint accounting for the nature of illustrative material seen in the manuscript may derive from one of the play topics at Antwerp; something along the lines of: which is the greatest motivation of artists? or what best leads mankind to the arts? (referencing the seven liberal arts)

This synopsis is fairly inadequate on a number of levels, partly due the lack of accessible material in English (also because it's time for me to abandon it). The rederijkerskamer were a hugely significant phenomenon across a couple of centuries (some variation or another of the landjuweel survives to this day as a festival, most notably in Belgium) and they greatly influenced not only the thinking of the citizens but also helped shaped the development of the modern Dutch language. Because the dramatists were amateurs, their written output became the subject of sharp criticism and mockery since their heyday in the 16th century. Doubtless a modern industry of academic enquiry dutifully puzzles over this and many other aspects of the rederijkerskamer movement.

Galileo Galilei

Galileo GalileiPortrait of Galileo Galilei by Italian Baroque era printmaker and painter Ottavio Leoni (1578-1630), 1624, active mainly in Rome where he first trained with his father, Lodovico Leoni.

Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution.
Galileo has been called the "father of modern observational astronomy", the "father of modern physics", the "father of science", and "the Father of Modern Science." Stephen Hawking says, "Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science."

This Image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1924 are now in the public domain.

This file is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris), in this case Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642), and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31 of that year.

Remembering Jack Kamen

By guest author Tom Palmer:

Friday, May 29th, 2009, would have been Jack Kamen's 89th birthday. Sadly, he is gone, passing last August 5th, 2008, this is my recollection of Jack and the enormous impact he had on me and my career.

I met Jack Kamen by answering an ad in the Sunday New York Times placed by a small advertising art studio on 40th and Madison Avenue in NYC looking for a freelance board artist.

It was a serendipitous moment, arriving at the studio for an interview and being introduced to Jack, I got lost in conversation with him about comic books and almost blew the position interview. Jack was at the studio as a freelance artist doing illustrations for his clients and the studio he had space in.

Jack left EC Comics and the field a decade earlier and had built a very solid career in advertising art.

I can only describe myself as young, idealistic, enthusiastic, and clueless about this new world I had entered into. I was going to art school at night and my only experience in the field was a short stint in a big advertising studio next to Grand Central Station where I was the classic apprentice and "gopher". I would "go for" lunch and "go for" job pick ups, but never had enough time in to be given a board to work at. I did pick up enough to understand how to do a "mechanical", a mainstay in ad production at the time, and I left the studio shortly after with enough knowledge to go out and secure a studio job. It was at this moment when I walked into the studio on 40th Street and met Jack Kamen.

Jack and I hit it off immediately, I was a wide-eyed fan who could not believe that I met a celebrity, a real life comic book artist, and for Jack, I was a gushing fan in a field where advertising illustrators were a commodity and his recognition was more from an art director's appreciation for good work on time, usually without credit in print, but Jack was a very successful illustrator by any other description.

Jack Kamen and I were kindred spirits in many ways, we were both enthused fans of illustration and illustrators past and present, only he had a much bigger cache of knowledge on artists I had never heard of, and in a personal way, our early lives were similar in that we both lost our fathers when we were young. That was ultimately our true bond, he saw himself in me and I found a surrogate father.

My time in that advertising studio on Madison Avenue was spent with my drawing board just six feet from Jack's, we spent our days talking, mostly me listening, and when I had a chance to break, I got up and looked over his shoulder as he worked. He did his share of small line drawings for his advertising clients, but he also worked on very large color pieces that I considered paintings but really were Jack's multi-media works of art that rivaled the best in the field. All the time I was being exposed to skills and knowledge that would surpass those skills I was acquiring in art school, not to diminish the latter, but I've found that artistic ability can go undefined without survival skills.

Jack started me on my illustration career while in that studio, passing along some of his small clients that he had outgrown. He was my mentor and guiding light at a time when I needed it the most, a good friend and always my surrogate dad until his passing in August, 2008.

In the last year of Jack Kamen's life I had the good fortune to interview him by phone at his home in Florida about that time we spent in the studio. Prompted by Leif, who thought it a worthy subject for his illustration blog, little did I know that our unfinished discussion would be our last with many more questions to be asked and now that opportunity forever gone.

That initial interview with Jack Kamen is presented here where he discusses his unique approach to painting those magnificent large scale illustrations for Mack Truck and other well known clients.

Jack Kamen mentioned years later that his painting method was an unorthodox hodgepodge of mixed media and the use of an electric eraser to create his paintings.

Jack: "Did you know I used Prismacolor pencils along with an acrylic paint wash to create my paintings? I would use a smooth illustration board and apply my basic color in a very watery wash of acrylic, and after it dried I would start rendering with Prismacolor pencil. Then I would take an electric eraser, with a particular eraser, that when you erased anything, before you got down to removing color, you could mix the color pencil very, very smooth, almost like an oil painting."

"For instance, I would mix a puddle of acrylic paint flesh color and put that down as a watercolor wash. As soon as it dried, I would add all the details in colored pencil. In areas that needed correction I would paint opaque white acrylic and then go back and do color pencil again. The electric eraser blended all the pencil into a smooth look."

"If you look at a painting of Santa Claus, the beard is opaque white acrylic, put down as a watercolor wash, then the shading and gray tones were added in color pencil, the electric eraser gave the fuzzy look to all that."

When prompted, Jack said he heard of another artist doing something similar but had forgotten his name. He tried it with modifications and it suited his approach to painting. He said he hated painting in oil in art school, found acrylic more enjoyable, the addition of Prismacolor pencil with it's wax base, and his application of that electric eraser after, his personal painting method. Looking at the illustration samples, who would have known!

Many thanks to Tom Palmer for sharing his recollections of Jack Kamen with us. I have always had the greatest admiration for Mr. Kamen's work, and its a privilege to have hosted Tom's personal story of his friend and mentor here on Today's Inspiration.

* My Jack Kamen Flickr set.