May 09, 2005

University of Washington Digital Image Archives

Outfit, 1914Today's links come via two other blogs, In a Minute Ago and Meggiecat. It's the digital image collection at the University of Washington (my alma mater!)

The fashion collection is fun to peruse. You can get an overview of how clothing styles changes throughout the 19th and early 20th century. Equally interesting is how these styles were portrayed. Empire (1806-1813) gowns tended to be shown on models of classical sensibilities, while a century later the Edwardian (1901- 1915) fashion portrait is heavily influenced by art deco and the Japanese print.

The rest of the collection is fascinating as well. I was having fun using the search function to search on various types of animals. Some fascinating results:

A big thanks to Sharron Boggon and Meggiecat!

Posted by sfenton at 09:06 AM

April 01, 2005

Ida Pearle - Patterns and Paper

In art quilts, we are often working with planes of pattern and trying to form textures to our experiences and visions. Cut paper collages by Ida Pearle follow a similar path of vision:
"Each collage, cut and glued by hand is primarily composed of Coloraid, a silk-screened artist's paper. Other specialty papers, collected from many different sources, are used to add accents of pattern and texture to the collages. For example, Origami paper is used for clothing and other forms which require patterns. Other papers used, include construction paper, craft paper, wrapping paper, tissue paper, wallpaper, and decorative paper. Materials like string, ribbon, and cloth lend the pieces even greater dimension and texture. Before the cutting begins each collage requires extensive planning and sketching."

Papercutting allows more intricate shapes than the stitched edge would typically permit, hence there is a level of intricacy and detail in the collages not typically found in fiber art. The compositions and use of the picture plane are similar to what fiber artists are working with. A perusal through Pearle's gallery is time well spent. Be sure to click on the individual images. The thumbnail images at the gallery level are often smaller parts of a large composition.

Underwater Zach by Ida Pearle

Posted by sfenton at 10:04 AM

August 24, 2004

Science and Fiber Art

cells derived from an embryo are developing into two different types of brain cells, neurons (red) and glia (green)Today's New York Times has a wonderful image that appeared, at first glance, to be an intricate fiber piece. Only after clicking on the article did I realize that it was a science article with a photograph of stem cells developing into neurons and glia. The photo originates from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Posted by sfenton at 01:26 PM | TrackBack

July 09, 2004

Swoon: New York Street Art

Swoon Street art photo: Michael NataleSwoon, a New York graffiti artist talks to the New York Times about what she loves about creating street art. This is a short Flash slideshow that demonstrates how street art can be a dynamic influence on the community.

Street art is an outgrowth of the graffiti movement of the 1980s. While graffitists wer using spray paint to create huge abstract images and lettering, the contemporary street art is more delibrate, controlled, considered. The accompanying NY Times article focuses on the street art movement. The techniques run the gamut: "At one end of the spectrum are doodles, icons and designs, often drawn or printed on stickers, a medium that allows for pre-strike preparation at home and quick, furtive execution in public.Swoon street art: photo by Michael Natale

Others are using more complicated art techniques, such as the meticulous printing and paperwork preferred by Swoon, ceramics, lithography, silk screening, painting , leathersmithing and woodworking. Some have even used welding torches, notably the once-ubiquitous New York graffiti writer known as Revs, who has installed three-dimensional versions of his stylized name, or "tag," around the city. Darius (also known by his graffiti tag, Verbs) and Downey, a Brooklyn tandem now living in London, turn old street signs into sculptures or small billboards for provocative messages and reinstall them, often in the plain light of day. "We're using the city against itself," Downey, 23, said in a recent interview."

Why do they do it? For the best of all reasons in creating art: "to reawaken a sense of wonder about one's environment."

Gammablablog features an interview with Swoon and lots of photos of her work.
Images by Swoon - originally photographed by Michael Natale of Gammablablog.

Posted by sfenton at 11:59 AM

July 07, 2004

Thanks for Retablos

Thanks for the Summer BreezeI am finding myself wandering the edges of iconography again. This began with the kimono quilt and has been growing since then. Actually it probably began in my youth. I have two 19th century Mexican icons on my dining room walls that have been with me most of my life (they skipped my college years). I just stumbled onto a site on the web that talks about making contemporary icons or retablos. First, let me explain - what is a retablo:

Traditional retablos: "Mexican devotional paintings of saints on tin are commonly referred to as retablos, or retablos santos. The paintings were used in household altars in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The practice of maintaining an altar in the home, often with multiple images, became an important part of religious worship in the Americas. People would appeal to different saints for different purposes, and belief held that a saint should be seen to be venerated."

Cynthia Korzekwa has created a series of contemporary retablos, milagros and ex-votos. "Generally, retablos have an inscription stating the reason why it's being offered. From retablo themes, we learn what were the main preoccupations of those who had them painted (there were folk artists specialized in retablos). Themes such as health, social life, crime and emotional relationships. The word ex-voto is derived from the Latin 'the promise of,' or 'the miracle of .' It is the recognition of "grazie ricevute" (graces granted) and is offered as payment for a promise made. An ex-voto is an offering to those who have interceeded in our behalf."

Korzekwa's work is all about giving thanks on a daily basis for the simple joys. Don't miss her tryptichs either. These are tiny computer manipulated images taken from her sketchbooks. What gives all of these works a particular charm is the ease with which they are created and released. These are daily devotions; little homages; no big deal.

Posted by sfenton at 08:55 PM

June 20, 2004

Sunday in Chicago with George

Georges Seurat. A Sunday on La Grande JatteNPR's Susan Stamberg recently reported on a new exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago entitled Seurat and the Making of "La Grande Jatte" NPR has an recording of this radio piece, which is well worth the four minutes of listening.

Stamberg makes the revelation that pointillism and the pointillist style is not refering to dots of paint. Instead point in French means stitch. The word was coined to describe the tapestry-like effect of Seurat's paint as it played across the canvas.

The artcyclopedia explains: "Pointillism is a form of painting in which the use of tiny primary-color dots is used to generate secondary colors." Which ties in neatly with the Art Institute of Chicago's explanation of the inspiration for pointillism (birth of color theory): " These early paintings were informed by the law of contrast as articulated in the writings of M.-E. Chevreul. A noted 19th-century color theorist, Chevreul observed that just as dark and light oppositions enhance each other, any color is likewise heightened when placed beside its “complement”—located on the opposite side of the color wheel. When the complements red and green are put side by side, for instance, the red will seem redder and the green, greener.

Seurat was also aware of how the optical mixture of colors in the eye was different from their mixture on the palette. Juxtaposing related shades of a color on a canvas (yellows and greens for example) will create a more vivid and luminous effect than if the colors had been mixed on the palette."

A page of selected works viewing of the study cards that Seurat used in composing the painting.

If you would like to apply pointillist theory in fiber art, you might want to begin with some exercises written for painters, but they could be done in thread or fused fabric, for example: Tapestries of Color by Tina Tammaro or Create a pointillist painting from Keppel Union School District in California.

Posted by sfenton at 01:22 PM

May 18, 2004

10 curators, 200 artists, 400 art works

What a fascinating concept. In photos, the show works wonderfully. 14x14 "The art works are uniformly 14 inches square but varied: any media, any style, high & low art, known & unknown artist, and so on. This show is about breaking boundaries.

In truly democratic style, each art work has the same amount of wall space, but each expresses the particular criteria for art of the individual artist. This show asks, of the artist and viewer: What is the state of contemporary art? Are there shared criteria by which we assess an art work? Is there a global art style to be seen?

The 200 artists, mostly London-based but from many different nationalities and backgrounds, were carefully chosen by the ten curators. 14x14 is one of the largest young group exhibitions in London and shows the direction of the next London art scene."

Anyone in America feel like trying the same - or trying an equally open-ended fiber all show?? Any media; any style - just 14? X 14"?

Posted by sfenton at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2004

Beauty : Silence : Solitude : Serenity : Joy

 ©1989 tim street-porter,In 1980, Mexican architect Luis Barragan won the Pritzker Prize for architecture. This is an considered architecture's Nobel Prize. His acceptance speech is as moving today as it was then - and relevant to fiber or any other art. Barragan's complete acceptance speech and photos of his work are published in on the Pritzker Prize web site. Here are some excerpts of his speech:

"It is alarming that publications devoted to architecture have banished from their pages the words Beauty, Inspiration, Magic, Spellbound, Enchantment, as well as the concepts of Serenity, Silence, Intimacy and Amazement. All these have nestled in my soul, and though I am fully aware that I have not done them complete justice in my work, they have never ceased to be my guiding lights.

Religion and Myth. It is impossible to understand Art and the glory of its history without avowing religious spirituality and the mythical roots that lead us to the very reason of being of the artistic phenomenon. Without the one or the other there would be no Egyptian pyramids nor those of ancient Mexico. Would the Greek temples and Gothic cathedrals have existed? Would the amazing marvels of the Renaissance and the Baroque have come about?

And in another field, would the ritual dances of the so called primitive cultures have developed? Would we now be the heirs of the inexhaustible artistic treasure of worldwide popular sensitivity? Without the desire for God, our planet would be a sorry wasteland of ugliness. "The irrational logic harbored in the myths and in all true religious experience has been the fountainhead of the artistic process at all times and in all places " These are words of my good friend, Edmundo O'Gorman, and, with or without his permission, I have made them mine.

Beauty. The invincible difficulty that the philosophers have in defining the meaning of this word is unequivocal proof of its ineffable mystery. Beauty speaks like an oracle, and ever since man has heeded its message in an infinite number of ways: it may be in the use of tatoos, in the choice of a seashell necklace by which the bride enhances the promise of her surrender, or, again, in the apparently superfluous ornamentation of everyday tools and domestic utensils, not to speak of temples and palaces and even, in our day, in the industrialized products of modern technology. Human life deprived of beauty is not worthy of being called so.

Silence. In the gardens and homes designed by me, I have always endeavored to allow for the interior placid murmur of silence, and in my fountains, silence sings.

Solitude. Only in intimate communion with solitude may man find himself. Solitude is good company and my architecture is not for those who fear or shun it.

Serenity. Serenity is the great and true antidote against anguish and fear, and today, more than ever, it is the architect's duty to make of it a permanent guest in the home, no matter how sumptuous or how humble. Throughout my work I have always strived to achieve serenity, but one must be on guard not to destroy it by the use of an indiscriminate palette.

Joy. How can one forget joy? I believe that a work of art reaches perfection when it conveys silent joy and serenity." Luis Barragan; Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate; 1980

image: From the book "CASA MEXICANA" ©1989 Tim Street-Porter, published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York.

Posted by sfenton at 05:34 PM | Comments (1)

April 27, 2004

Visual Journal - Jose Luis Martinez

Trees, Treasure Island by  Jose Luis MartinezJose Luis Martinez' Visual Journal web site contains a dated entries for the past 18 months (more or less), each with a digital photo and some commentary. A favorite entry of mine is titled Humma, and features a woman who looks like your average American retiree, but with the Buddha shining out of her eyes. Jose Luis writes: "She has gone through several heart and eye surgeries, has a bad hip and she is hurting most of the time, that particular night in which the picture was taken, she had a crazy itch that would not leave her alone. What is amazing to me is that regardless of how worn her body is and how much she complains about it, her spirit is young and when engaged in a conversation she transforms in to a little girl filled with excitement about practically everything."

These photos capture daily life around San Francisco. Suburbs in paradise and Suburbs on a collision course; babies on buses; an extraordinary view from the interstate; city streets; a ray of light. Life is not what we expect, but we can always find more than we deserve. These photos are proof of the visual riches abounding.

Advice - go to the archives, pick any date with a line under it and browse. Use the before and after arrows to move from one photo to the next.

image: Trees, Treasure Island by Jose Luis Martinez

Posted by sfenton at 09:25 PM | Comments (1)

April 02, 2004


When you walk to the edge of all the light you have
and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown,
you must believe that one of two things will happen:

There will be something solid for you to stand upon,
or, you will be taught how to fly

poem by Patrick Overton from his book, Rebuilding the Front Porch of America, 1997

Posted by sfenton at 07:32 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2004

Edouard Benedictus

pochoir print by Edouard BenedictusLoM's Edouard Benedictus gallery features textile and wallpaper designs by a French designer and print maker. Benedictus worked in the Art Deco style, using the pochoir technique. Benedictus' fabrics are still in production, as are Benedictus carpets. His work continues to inspire others. There is a Benedictus wallpaper print in the background of this image: Chesterton in the City, by Lesley Anne Ivory. Art Quilter, Rose Rushbrooke has created an art quilt based on a Benedictus design.

More on the pochoir technique: "Pochoir Technique: The pochoir process is the hand-coloring of an individual black outline prints. The was done with the help of a thin zinc or copper cut-out stencil guide. Each color is applied separately brushed by hand on each print, one stencil for each color. The paint used was watercolor and gouache. The only difference being watercolor paints (aquarelles) are transparent and gouache paints are opaque."

The Seguy gallery has been updated, with more images.

Posted by sfenton at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2004

E.A. Seguy - Resource Gallery

E.A. Seguy's BeesI am beginning a new feature: a gallery of out-of-copyright images that are relevant or inspirational to fiber artists. Needless to say, because of the copyright issues, these will be older / antique / historic images (or possibly some from the Library of Congress collections.)

Pochoir prints by E.A. Seguy is the first gallery of these works. Have a look and check back. I hope to add more.

Also: I know the green on the first page is a bit much, but right now I have not been able to override they system default with anything that is more appealing (though I did find several worse schemes). The software is an open source product called Gallery, running on ibiblio's Linux servers. It's a very cool product and pretty easy to install and manage!

Posted by sfenton at 09:56 AM | Comments (1)

February 10, 2004

Vibrant Visions

E.A. Seguy
The Cooper-Hewitt Museum has mounted an online exhibition of their pochoir prints.
"The pochoir process, characterized by its crisp lines and brilliant colors, produces images that have a freshly printed or wet appearance...
Pochoir is a refined stencil-based technique employed to create prints or to add color to pre-existing prints. It was most popular from the late 19th century through the 1930's with its center of activity in Paris. Pochoir was primarily used to create prints devoted to fashion, patterns, and architectural design and is most often associated with Art Nouveau and Art Deco."

The Patterns section of the exhibit features images that "created to inspire primarily fabric, interior and wallpaper designers."

Posted by sfenton at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2004

Danny Gregory Illustrated Weblog Journal

 December 27, 2003 - Destuffing my Life by Danny GregoryDanny Gregory's Illustrated Weblog Journal is a regularly updated blog with pages from a wonderfully inspiring artist's journal! He jumps freely from medium to medium and pushes the box, trying a variety of styles. Best of all were the words that greeted me today about being fearless about committing to drawing in your journal: " January 01, 2004 - Do not fear mistakes
Marybethd sent me an email asking how she could go about finding her own voice. She also said she was reluctant to draw in her journal because "if I make a bad drawing, I am stuck with it...Forever!"
I wrote: Isn't it interesting that everybody has their own style of drawing and making visual things? It almost suggests that we actually see things differently. Perhaps each of us is looking through our own lense that has particular scratches and distortions that come from the years of accumulated experience. We may all be striving to capture the same reality in front of us and yet, despite skill and practice, end up with very different marks on the paper and the same sense of satisfaction that we have actually captured what was in front of us. Even if you change media and techniques or look at your work over a lifetime, it is still you."
Gregory also has a homepage with links to many of his books and interviews.
image:December 27, 2003- Destuffing my Life by Danny Gregory

Posted by sfenton at 11:53 AM

November 01, 2003


floraphilia - by Kevin LyonsTwenty-four intimate portraits from Kevin Lyons garden - scanned in exquisite detail. My favorite would be the hydrangea, #24.
Note: these are for sale and are fully copyrighted!

Time to head to the garden for some scanning fun before the frost sets in - though how the heck does he keep the flowers from getting crushed?? Black cloth backdrop??

Posted by sfenton at 03:28 PM

October 25, 2003

Image Cooperative: iStockphoto

this week's free - royalty free stock photography community
Well, it's not free, but it's really cheap - or it is free, if you support the collaboration by uploading your own high quality photos to share. The concept of sharing is great - and the images seem pretty great too.
The official explanation of the system: " works on a download credit system and some ideas we borrowed from the concept of micropayments. Rather than purchasing individual images from our collection, community members can purchase credits in packs. One credit is equal to one image download. Each credit costs .50 cents, but discounts are available on larger credit packages. Our members, the artists who upload files, earn 20% of each download. Earnings can be converted into download credits or cashed out ($100 minimum). This ensures that regular contributors will always have download credits."
image is "this week's free image"

Posted by sfenton at 03:37 PM | TrackBack

October 08, 2003

Public Domain Image Resources


Public Domain and US Government image archives -
Edited from Wikipedia - 10-7-2003.

Animals and Plants, Food and Insects - all things agricultural
Agricultural Research Service Image Gallery

USDA Photography Center - images of all sorts of agriculturally items from school lunch program to fire fighters to farm animals

Photographs from the Farm Security Administration's renowned collection of the 1930s and 1940s

A large archive of Audubon-esque bird prints - all text in German

NOAA Photo Library - large archive of underwater images

Public Domain Images of Yellowstone

Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress - digital map archive 1500-2002 (some maps under copyright)

National Highway System's road maps of each state

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection historic and contemporary maps see their usage page

Note regarding Library of Congress images: Anything prior to 1924 is in the public domain; post-1924 images that are copyright-free will be indicated on the site.

Library of Congress 725 photographs dating from 1839 to 1864(mostly portraits)

1,395 photographs by Carl Van Vechten between 1932 and 1964. portrait photographs of celebrities and an assortment of American landscapes; Library of Congress

Portraits of famous people; Library of Congress

Portraits of historical figures from the Perry-Castañeda Library, University of Texas at Austin

Space and spaceflight
Great Images in NASA library of images. GRIN is a collection of over a thousand images of significant historical interest scanned at high-resolution in several sizes.
NASA image gallery

Public domain photography taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. (copyright notice)

NASA Space Shuttle Earth Observations Photography database of over 400,000 images is a national treasure. (Looking down at teh earth from space)

General Collections
Collection of public domain photos organized by category. Great images- not all are public domain


Posted by sfenton at 11:18 AM