Winter is coming, and I am hoping my Pokémon can last more than five minutes in a gym when the outside temperature is well below freezing.
I found a fantastic how-to book on making art dolls in cloth in the library, Introduction to Making Cloth Dolls by Jan Horrox. These two dolls in this blog post are art dolls I made using this book. The photographs in the Horrox book are gorgeous and the patterns are for larger 14 – 16 inch tall dolls. If you can sew, you can make art dolls with these patterns. The author uses wonderful, rich colors and textures in her pieces that will give you ideas for your work.
The Met NYC has a collections of art history books you can read online or download for free here. Exhibit catalogs are also in the collection. This would be particularly sweet if you have a tablet like an iPad. I downloaded a PDF of Vincent van Gogh: The Drawings. Now I can have more art history books without trying to figure out how to fit them on my jammed book shelves.
You can read a copy of an eBook titled Art Through the Letterbox by Mail Art Martha (mailartmartha.org.uk) on this site here. The eBook is a short work (98 pages total) collecting mail art received from all over the world. A majority of the works are mixed media and collage art, with some paintings, digital pieces and printmaking works. This online eBook is an interesting way to document, preserve and share a mail art collection. Make a cup of tea and settle in for a while!
Americus is a graphic novel by M.K. Reed and Jonathan David Hill. The plot is analogous to the censorship debates surrounding the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling and book censorship in the U.S.A. in general, citing prior conflicts over Judy Blume and other authors whose works faced censorship. The authors devised an imaginary young adult high fantasy series that religious members of the local community take offense to and try to remove from circulation at the public library. The main character and supporters of the book find themselves in the minority in a heated ongoing conflict where the main character has the opportunity to defend the books he loves. The authors show many facets of the conflict and treat it with more complexity than just a clash of opinions. The characters in the community are given the depth to show their different viewpoints and why they have them. The art is consistently good throughout the book and the sympathies lie with the main character who is in the process of growing up.
Printmaking in America: Collaborative Prints and Presses 1960 – 1990 (editor Elaine M. Stainton, 1995) is an exhibition catalog with a highly detailed history of printmaking from as far back as the 18th Century and the revival of artistic printmaking through specific efforts and studios from 1960 onward. Many studios and presses throughout the USA are named and have their specific histories chronicled. The fine art market for prints during this time, the role of foundations and universities in creating studios, and how various studios lead to the creation of others across the nation are all interesting aspects of this history. The prints included are a collection from many well recognized contemporary artists. Some favorites of mine were from Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger, Robert Longo, Chuck Close, Helen Frankenthaler and David Hockney. If you geek out on printmaking, definitely read this book cover to cover.
A Year in Japan by Kate T. Williamson is a painted memoir of her stay. Line art and watercolors with short excerpts of things she experienced, learned or noticed make up the book. It starts out wonderfully:
As soon as I walked out of the train station on my first day in Kyoto, I knew that I would love Japan. I passed the ground floor of a department store on my way to the street. To my right, next to purses and scarves, was a wall of color and pattern – windowpane plaid, polka dots, orange and turquoise, red and magenta, lime and navy. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a display of washcloths, the most beautiful washcloths I had ever seen. Unlike their American counterparts, usually relegated to some fourth-floor linen department, these squares of terry are not used for washing but are kept in purses for drying one’s hands in public restrooms.
The washcloths were my first exposure to the attention to detail that characterizes much of Japan – both visually and socially. I soon came to realize just how much thought lies behind appearances and actions there, and that these details of beauty and nuances or word and deed are both expected and appreciated.