Sunday, February 28, 2010

Airliner Crash

Airliner CrashIn this photograph the B-720 is seen during the moments of initial impact. The left wing is digging into the lakebed while the aircraft continues sliding towards wing openers. Dec 1984, NASA Photo / NASA photo ECN-31803
Airliner CrashFollowing its controlled impact on posts imbedded in the lakebed, the B-720 is sliding sideways and almost enveloped in the large fireball with only the aircraft's nose and right wing-tip exposed. Dec 1984. NASA Photo / NASA photo EC84-31809
Controlled Impact Demonstration (CID) 02.06.02: In a typical aircraft crash, fuel spilled from ruptured fuel tanks forms a fine mist that can be ignited by a number of sources at the crash site. In 1984 the NASA Dryden Flight Research Facility (after 1994 a full-fledged Center again) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) teamed-up in a unique flight experiment called the Controlled Impact Demonstration (CID), to test crash a Boeing 720 aircraft using standard fuel with an additive designed to surpress fire. The additive, FM-9, a high-molecular-weight long-chain polymer, when blended with Jet-A fuel had demonstrated the capability to inhibit ignition and flame propagation of the released fuel in simulated crash tests.

This anti-misting kerosene (AMK) cannot be introduced directly into a gas turbine engine due to several possible problems such as clogging of filters. The AMK must be restored to almost Jet-A before being introduced into the engine for burning. This restoration is called “degradation” and was accomplished on the B-720 using a device called a “degrader.” Each of the four Pratt & Whitney JT3C-7 engines had a “degrader” built and installed by General Electric (GE) to break down and return the AMK to near Jet-A quality.

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The mighty Titanic ruled the seas for almost four whole days before it struck an iceberg and sank without a trace in the black waters of the northern Atlantic.

A souvenir postcard from the Titanic, found in the coat pocket of Edith Brown, a small girl lowered into a lifeboat just before the great ship sank.

The lesson of the Titanic was obvious: humans had lost perspective about their place in the universe. Their insignificant little inventions had made them vain. Ancient Greek tragedies repeatedly warned about the folly of such hubris.

The icebergs must have had a good laugh over our "unsinkable" little boat.

Yet, less than a century later, icebergs are getting their asses kicked by global warming from our inventions. Fifty percent of the glaciers have vanished from the earth. Looks like we humans have scored a TKO in the second round. Who's laughing now?

I was thinking about this recently when I beta tested a movie studio's prototype for the next generation of digital drawing tool. The advancements, and the potential, were really quite spectacular.

I am one of those who believes that art has some core attributes that are timeless and immutable, and probably grounded in the designs inherent in nature. Sure, electrical engineering has provided us with dazzling alternatives to a pen or brush for making marks on a surface, but in my view such tools so far merely skitter along the surface of art, with no transformative effect on those immutable underlying values of art. Digital art competes in a race where the rules have been established by traditional art. It attempts to satisfy the same standards of design and composition developed by traditional art. As a technique for making marks, digital media are being judged by the same eternal criteria as the marks left by Rembrandt, Michelangelo, or the first cave painters 35,000 years ago.

But as those smug icebergs learned, eternal truths don't last nearly as long as they once did.

Consider how quickly and pervasively digital media have conquered the world; in most places they are more accessible than a brush and paint.

More pervasive than museums or galleries.

Becoming more pervasive than books.

Consider, too, how talents that once commanded respect in the arts because they were difficult and rare (such as the ability to achieve a good likeness, or the ability to master the color wheel) are no longer difficult or rare. Chaucer once lamented the burdens of an artist:
The lyf so short, the craft so long to learne,
Th' assay so hard, so sharp the conquerage
Today, when any high school student can photoshop a likeness or rotate through color alternatives with the click of a mouse, can these artistic talents possibly command the same respect? At the same time certain talents are being devalued, different talents have taken on new significance. Digital media have provided drawing with new criteria for excellence such as motion, lighting variations, integrated media (interweaving drawing with sound, narratives, etc.) and a variety of other time-factoring qualities.

The yearning to make static drawings move is not new. Some artists achieved it with blurring or speed lines or other illusions of movement. Some did it using sequential images. As a young boy before the era of animation, the great illustrator Al Parker hit upon the idea of drawing pictures on the paper rolls that operated the keys on his family's old player piano. When his family sat in their parlor listening to the piano, the boy was able to watch his pictures roll by:

Cuddlin' and cooin' with Mary Lou in cherry blossom time

Contrast Parker's early primitive yearnings with the ways Steve Brodner is able to use digital medium to make his pictures move. Here, he paints icebergs but weaves a narrative into an accelerated painting process and ends with animation:

is another enterprising combination of conventional drawing and the potential of digital media:

Efforts such as the above are faltering first steps, but the devaluation of traditional talents, the rise of new capabilities, and the broad, grass roots accessibility of digital media may be combining to transform those once-immutable artistic standards. Just as the Titanic got the last laugh, digital media may be the catalyst for an epochal change in art-- as significant as the transition from magical thinking (when animism and totemism ruled art) to viewing art as a physical object. As significant as the transition from representational images to symbolic images. As significant as the invention of writing.

Is that the slow dripping of melting icebergs I hear?

Sunday with Cindy

Good morning, Beady Readers! Wondering what's going on in the bead and jewelry world? Take a peek at our links and see..... Jewelry Making
Tammy got the 411 on some very cool new metal stamps. Though these can also be used with clay as well.

Art Bead Scene
The Art Bead Scene begins a new monthly feature - the ABS Carnival Blog! Let the Carnival begin!

Beading Arts
Do you want to try lampworking? Cyndi's been busy at the torch again.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy takes a bead shopping trip to the Great White North and almost passes out!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie unleashes her grumpy feelings with a little rant and a bead sale!

Jean Campbell
A mystery package is the catalyst for this creative challenge. Up for it? You could win a free book!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew shares his feelings about the awesome new Spring issue of "Stringing" magazine.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Studio Saturday with Jennifer Heynen

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 Diane at Crafty Passions . Congratulations you've one Cindy's Faux Bois Noir Pendant . Send Cindy an e-mail and she will get it right out to you.

Happy Saturday to You! I am soooo ready for spring to be here I can't stand it. Last weekend we did have a pretty warm weekend in Georgia and I was inspired to make some springy beads.
The ideas started coming to me out of the blue. I kept having images of snails in my head when I woke up in the mornings. I couldn't stop thinking about them. I let the idea simmer in my head for a few weeks, I was considering all of the options for making a snail. Would I make it out of clay, would I sew it, paint it, or combine all of these things?

Last weekend my son and I were out on the back porch making animals and beads. I thought I would give my snail bead idea a whirl. I liked it so much Birkley and I started coming up with more and more animals we could make from the woods. He hasn't had a chance to glaze his or I would show you. We had a lot of fun.

Since pulling the beads out of the kiln, I have been designing with them. I came up with this simple owl pendant with a stick I found in our woods. I have some other ideas brewing but they haven't made it to jewelry yet.

This leads me to my questions of the week... Do you dream in beads? When you wake up in the morning are you full of new ideas? If you do have you followed those ideas to complete the actual piece?

Let me know and I will send you a pair of Toad Stool charms.

Have a great weekend,

Friday, February 26, 2010

Winter Olympics 1980 Gold Medal U.S. Hockey Team

Winter Olympics 1980 Gold Medal U.S. Hockey Team020208-N-3995K-001 Salt Lake City, UT (Feb. 8, 2002) -- Members of the 1980 Gold Medal U.S. Olympic hockey team stand below the Olympic flame at Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The team had the honor of lighting the cauldron to invoke the official start of the competition. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class Preston Keres. (RELEASED)

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The purpose of this Web site is to provide information about the United States Navy to the general public. All information on this site is considered public information and may be distributed or copied unless otherwise specified. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credits is requested.

Generally speaking, works created by U.S. Government employees are not eligible for copyright protection in the United States. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office.

Findings Worth Finding: Katie-dids

Check these out! Katie Hacker has some new components for beading. I just love the look of these and can think of so many uses. I think I need to get my hands on some and fill them with resin. They are being sold by Beadalon under her name Katie-dids.

Katie's designs have shown up on our blog before, so we are so excited to also get to show off her new product. And if that wasn't enough excitement for her, she just announced she is going to be the new host of Beads, Baubles, and Jewels. Congratulations Katie!

This post was written by Jennifer Heynen of Jangles

Leif Peng: An Illustrator You Should Know?

Well, I dunno. The jury's still out on that.
But Thomas James, the genius behind Escape from Illustration Island, one of the best illustration resources on the Net, seems to think so. Thomas interviewed me recently for his excellent, ongoing EFII podcast series. If you haven't had enough of my blather here on Today's Inspiration (or if you're just curious to hear what I sound like) then go on over to Escape from Illustration Island and click the play button.

Harry Beckhoff: An Illustrator You Should Know

I was going to show some work by David Grove today, but when Howard Chaykin leaves a comment and asks for Harry Beckhoff, what choice do I have? I've been following this guy since I first read Cody Starbuck at age 14 in an old 'ground-level' comic called Star*Reach. But back to Beckhoff. Howard is absolutely correct that he is an illustrator you should know.

Above, a Beckhoff illustration from a 1936 Collier's magazine, courtesy of Heritage Auctions. Just seven years earlier Beckhoff had his first magazine illustration published in The Country Gentleman. His style was so entirely appropriate for the times, wasn't it?

Not surprisingly, he soon began receiving commissions from all the major magazines, but was especially closely associated with Collier's.

In the early 1940's Harry Beckhoff illustrated what must have been an extremely lucrative series of ads for Birds Eye frozen foods that regularly appeared in the front pages of Life magazine. Beckhoff had a unique approach to executing his work: he would do small but very accurate thumbnails ( that even included clearly defined facial expressions ) which he would blow up to about five times their original size...

... and then ink in their outlines. He then added tone and colour with flat washes.

This may have been a time saving measure on Beckhoff's part, working from blown-up thumbnails instead of having to execute a complete full-sized pencil drawing, but I suspect it was more about capturing the energy and gestural qualities in that original thumbnail sketch...

... something that many artists feel is lost when a first rough is refined over and over.

I've loved Harry Beckhoff's work since the moment I first saw it, but what has always fascinated me is how his style never seemed to change or advance or evolve with the times. It looked like it came from (and belonged in) the 1930s and even as other illustrators adapted their styles to changing trends, Harry Beckhoff's style remained firmly entrenched in the '30s. Here's another piece from Heritage Auctions, from Collier's, 1950.

Then, much to my surprise, I discovered this 1956 story in Cosmopolitan magazine, illustrated by Harry Beckhoff. This was really exciting. Here was Harry Beckhoff art looking really contemporary for the times!

I've written before in praise of Cosmo AD, Robert C. Atherton. Was he the one who encouraged Beckhoff to push the envelope?

Or was Beckhoff finding it harder to land enough work because his style was, perhaps, simply not modern enough for most clients' wishes?

Whatever the case may be, this series from 1956 stands, for now, as the only one I've seen where Harry Beckhoff art didn't look like the typical Harry Beckhoff art.

And who knows? Maybe its just best to stick with what you're good at. By 1960 Harry Beckhoff was back doing his thing, this time for Reader's Digest Condensed Books. Although the reproduction quality on the cheap paper used by RDCB doesn't do Beckhoff's delicate line work and attractive colour schemes justice...

... this series from the then 60 year old illustrator is as lovely as anything he had ever done before.

Still, consider the work we've looked at so far... consider that the Cooper studio had come and gone... consider that Bernie Fuchs and Bob Peak where reinventing the look of mainstream illustration... and then look at what Beckhoff was still doing.

Of course the quality of the work is admirable...

Beckhoff's abilities unquestionable...

... but the word that comes to my mind is "quaint."

The latest piece by Harry Beckhoff I've ever found: from the 1963 book, Reader's Digest Treasury for Young Readers. By coincidence, Beckhoff was assigned to illustrate a story originally published in 1936 - the year he illustrated the Collier's piece at the top of this post. I don't doubt that the editors felt he would be perfect for this article because his style, like the story itself, was so dated.

Sometimes, if you stick to your guns long enough, you outgrow being considered "dated" and become a "specialist" - that rare commodity that is highly prized for having the expertise to do a certain thing better than almost anybody else. Let's hope that was the case for Harry Beckhoff, a wonderful illustrator you should definitely know.

* My Harry Beckhoff Flickr set.

Beautiful Bookbinding

PHJM Schrijen 'The Binder by H Haas' (Sheep + goat skin parchment) 1983

'The Binder' [H Haas]
Sheep and goat skin parchment
Bound by P Schrijen, 1983

Karl Ebert 'Das unheimliche Buch' (morocco leather) 1914

'Das Unheimliche Buch'
Morocco leather
Bound by Karl Ebert, 1914

Henri Creuzevault (beige calf and black morocco leather) 'Contes by Charles Perrault' 1950

'Contes de Perrault'
Beige calf and black morocco leather
Bound by Henri Creuzevault, 1950

Michel Marius 'Book of Ruth' (morocco leather) 1880

'Book of Ruth'
Morocco leather
Bound by Michel Marius, 1880

KT Miura 'The Song of Solomon' (morocco leather and silverfoil) 1987

'The Song of Solomon'
Silverfoil and morocco leather
Bound by KT Miura, 1987

Goat skin and red maple wood (anon.) 'Cowper's Poetical Works' 1874

'Cowper's Poetical Works'
Goat skin and red maple wood
Binder unknown, 1874

Jean Gunner 'Tulips and Tulipomania' (morocco leather) 1982 - USA

'Tulips and Tulipomania'
Morocco leather
Bound by Jean Gunner, 1982 (USA)

Silver on black leather (anon.) 'New Testament' 1710

'New Testament'
Silver metal on black leather
Binder unknown, 1710

Sharkskin + silver metalware (anon.) 'Bible' 1775

'The Bible'
Sharkskin and silver metal-ware
Binder unknown, 1775

Black morocco leather + plated enamel locks (anon.) 'Book of Hours of Catherine de Medici' 1565

'Book of Hours of Catherine de Medici'
Black morocco leather and plated enamel locks
Binder unknown, 1565

Calf leather + brass (Augustine + Heinrich mss) 1440-1460

'Augustine and Heinrich manuscript'
Calf leather and brass
Binder unknown, 1440-1460

Embroidered silk (anon.) 'Notebook' 1775 France

'Notebook' [of some sort]
Embroidered silk
Binder unknown, 1775 (France)

Christian Engelmann (painted parchment) 1715 Germany

'Religious Devotional' [of some sort]
Painted parchment
Bound by Christian Engelmann, 1715 Germany

The Memory of The Netherlands site has digitised a representative sampling of one thousand book bindings from the holdings of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Royal National Library of The Netherlands). The collection includes luxurious hand-made binding examples from over 800 years up to the 21st century. Except where stated, all book bindings above were produced in Holland.
Previously vaguely related: bookart. [via Het Archiefforum]

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sponsor Spotlight: Blue Seraphim

1. What are your current inspirations?
My current inspirations for creating glass beads are exploring with different shapes and color schemes through textiles....fabrics and papers with lavish palettes, patterns and textures

2. Describe your beadmaking studio and process.
My bead studio in my basement holds hundreds of glass rods in every color imaginable (although I am forever seeking out new color) plus a kiln, torch and tanks of oxygen and propane. The glass rod is melted in the flame and wound around a steel rod (to form the bead), different colors of glass can be applied in many ways to create designs and shapes. Once the glass has cooled slightly, it is then placed in a kiln to anneal for several hours.

3. Favorite color combination?
Right now, I am experimenting with spring colors and like the light greens, orange and pinks together.

Visit BlueSeraphim on etsy to see her latest offerings.

Enter the monthly challenge today for a chance to win beads from BlueSeraphim!