Tuesday, March 29, 2011

a new deal for the arts

It's no secret I have a serious lust for the early 1900s...from art and architecture to music and everyday American life. My current obsession focuses on the 1930s and the millions of Americans who struggled to survive The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in particular.

One source of pertinent history that's influenced me is the National Archive's "A New Deal for the Arts" online exhibit (a gift for those of us who weren't able to travel to D.C. for the 1997-98 exhibit at the National Archives Building).

Art took many forms such as plays, music, photography, playbills, posters, and paintings, and covered a variety of subjects, including "Rediscovering America", "Celebrating 'the people'", "Work Pays America", "Activist Art", and "Useful Art".

USA Work Program WPA by an unknown artist, Photolithograph (circa 1936)

Magnus Fossum, a WPA artist, copying the 1770 coverlet "Boston Town Pattern" for the
Index of American Design. (circa 1940)

Robert Sonkin and Charles Todd recording a fiddler at a Farm Security Camp in California
By Robert Hemmig, (circa 1940-41)

Words from their Website:
"The New Deal arts project provided work for jobless artists, but they also had a larger mission: to promote American art and culture and to give more Americans access to what President Franklin Roosevelt described as "an abundant life.

The projects saved thousands of artists from poverty and enabled Americans all across the country to see an original painting for the first time, attend their first professional live theater, or take their first music or drawing class.

Painting depicting the activities of the National Youth Administration
By Alden Krider, Kansas National Youth Administration, Oil on canvas (circa 1936)

Perhaps I am drawn to this collection because art is central to who I am (you've heard me say before that "art is my compass--without it I am lost"). Well, I can only imagine these artists' sense of relief and fulfillment once they were given the opportunities to exercise their craft.

I invite you to browse the collection and share your impressions here.

tiny rabbits - no. 3 + no. 4

Can you tell tiny rabbit no. 3 is a bit shy? My oldest daughter brought him to life and he's desperate to find her comforting arms.

No. 4 on the other hand is proud to show you her giant carrot. My youngest daughter molded her and insisted the tiny rabbit have a carrot. Looks like this beauty in blue has enough food for a month!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

summit tbr - no.2

Let me tell you about a treasure I found last week. It was Friday and we were on our way to karate practice. I noticed a pile of discarded wood by the side of the road...free for the taking courtesy of a local bedroom furniture shop.

Of course this stopped me in my tracks..literally! The girls were a bit startled when I put on the breaks and screamed with glee (sorry girls) at the thought of finding salvageable wood to handcraft more artisan canvases.

After safely dropping the girls off for their karate session, I backtracked to the location and scored this amazing piece of fir. Its warm tones and a weathered exterior complete with scrapes and notches instantly drew me in. I knew it would yield three to four new canvases.

It wasn't until yesterday when I was using it as a prop in my photographs that I discovered the most fantastic marking...proof of a previous life:

No. 2


It's simply gorgeous! There's no doubt that I will incorporate the stamp into one of my future designs. I must know more about the stamp and plan to research Summit Timber, PLIB and the other markings soon. I may just call the furniture shop, too.

Monday, March 21, 2011

tiny rabbits - no. 1 + no. 2

It's been a few weeks since I announced our tiny rabbits family project inspired by the incomparable Cathy Cullis and her tiny heads project.

Since that time, my daughters and I have managed to sculpt and paint a handful of hares (some mischievous) who are now ready for their public debut. We've also inspired my mom and sister to join in on all the fun.

tiny rabbit no. 1. A classic white bunny. She's not sure what the fuss is all about...and frankly ...she'd much rather be munching on carrots back in the hutch.

tiny rabbit no. 2. She's quite confident and very much at ease in front of the camera (she took over the photo shoot I tell ya). I am happy with her coloring.