Friday, May 28, 2010

Earth Patterns....

There are so many repeating patterns in nature....

Have you ever really looked at the whorls and lines in a fingerprint?

really looked?

the arts have looked closely at nature for centuries and mimicked the earth patterns around them.

look at this aerial shot of a much like the whorls and lines of a fingerprint!

the linear quality of molas....

so similar to the camouflage of a zebra!

The bees have it figured out.....

How perfect their honeycomb engineering has been for centuries..

It has been copied in so many ways in our world.

Through tile, fencing, mosaics, wallpaper and graphic designs...

Look no further than our own bodies for repeating patterns in nature. This is a photo of brain nerve cells...remind you of anything?

what about the twisting, interwoven tributaries of a river?

They all are similar to the veining in marble.

This is a cross section of nerve tissue...

It reminds me so much of the fantasy marbles done by Jean Luc Sable of France.

so, look no further than your backyard for inspiration next time you want to be creative...

Cultures have been doing this for centuries!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gubbio's treasures.....

You never know when inspiration will strike you...while waiting for a plane in Rome, I found this ruler made of common woods in Italy.

Livio de Marchi
Close to the Peggy Guggenheim museum in Venice is the shop of Livio de Marchi. He uses wood to depict common items in life.

Livio de Marchi
I have always had a fascination with wood...the unique graining and colors.....

Ducal Palazzo-Gubbio

That silly ruler started me thinking about the history of intarsia, or inlaid decorative wood.

Intarsia can be dated back to ancient Egypt, but is best know from 15th c Italy..

Maple, pear and walnut were the main woods used in the finest pieces...with some cypress and pine for accents.

Only the elite afforded the labor intensive pieces.

The 15th century ushered in the Italian Renaissance, and arabesque ornamentation...

This type of decoration was perfectly suited for intarsia.

One of the best examples of intarsia is from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio, Italy.

If you live in the U.S., you don't have to update your passport to see some of the greatest intarsia work from Italy.

Robert Kirkbride photo-Metropolitan Museum
The Metropolitan Museum owns the studiolo from the Ducal Palace

Thousands of pieces of pear, walnut, maple and other woods create this incredible work..

Due to the cost of creating inlay, it was mostly used in furniture.

This is a lovely example of pear with ebony....

Musee des Arts Decoratifs

Italy is not the only country know for inlay. This piece is in the Decorative Arts Museum in Paris.

Musee des Arts Decoratifs

They also own this collection of small panels of intarsia .

Fra Giovanni da Verona created this incredible work in the Santa Maria Church in Organo, Verona.

Lucretia Moroni

So, this silly ruler led me to study with Lucretia Moroni of Bergamo, Italy. Lucretia, founder of  Fatto-a-mano, has created incredible faux inlay for the Russian Consulate in New York and mentored under Renzo Mongiardino. 

With the costs of traditional inlay, faux can be a better alternative.

This is my finished panel from her class.

...and  another piece I did, a wine box, which now holds my brushes.

I have  taken several classes with Lucretia learning more traditional Italian painting techniques.

Now, full circle, here is the panel I did in class, mounted on a small cabinet in my home...all from the inspiration of a small ruler.....don't let the small influences around you slip by unnoticed...!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Scrolls, swags and such.....

Alan Carroll recently featured a wonderful article on the works of Jean Berain on his  incredible blog- Surface Fragments....Alan is an Irish born artist now living in New York. He began his work in America with Pierre Finkelstein of Grand Illusion for four years going on to create his own decorative paint company twelve years ago. His blog is a virtual archive of rare books and other sources pertaining to the art of ornamentation.

Pierre Babel study for cartouche-Metropolitan Museum

Ahhh, ornamentation....I am a sucker for intricate, engraved ornamentation and have a weakness for all things rococo....all those scrolls, swags and such....

Pierre Chedel- Metropolitan Museum

The fantastic morphing of nature and human form embellished with heavily engraved ornamentation..
Rocaille-Metropolitan Museum

These designs have popped up unexpected in my life and are mentally filed for inspiration! I have always gone ga-ga over the sets of Three Coins in the Fountain..especially the red paneled drawing room in Dino de Cessi's home. Those walls are incredible!!!!

Fortuny fabrics, such as the Lambelle pattern shown above, make my heart skip a beat!

Genevieve Woodford

I recently stumbled upon artist Genevieve Woodford on etsy and purchased this lino print! She, like many natural artists, began her career about a year and a half ago out of necessity....she wanted art for her walls  that she did not afford to buy.

So, she went to the local art store and bought her first lino block and began to carve a simple Christmas card design. She was addicted and continued to refine her techniques being drawn towards 17thc intricate engravings.  Much of her work is rococo influenced and fits my mood nicely!

She has no formal training, does not own a printing press or a studio but, she does have passion! Her natural talent has allowed her to find a way to create these wonderful pieces.  Her work is on etsy and other public websites and she finds time to also manage her blog-The Scoop.

With Gen's recent decision to sell on Etsy, she has received immediate recognition for her work.

Look at this Venetian pudding print comes in pink!


There are other lino artistis on etsy selling great art. This etsy store-  Papatotoro offers textiles with asian influence created by a London based artist.

Papatotoro offers tea towels.....


and tote bags.

Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

So, go to the museums and drool over the engravings....

Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

but, remember, you can get your "rococo fix" by contemporary artists all around you!
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
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