Tuesday, February 08, 2005

What Art Is To Me

Hello again! What is "art" to me? I like this definition: Art is the expression of what is creative in the soul. Since I believe we are made in God's image, and He is creative, we can be creative, too. So don't be afraid--make art!

Art Quote of the Week

"He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist."
--St. Francis of Assisi

Many view handcrafts as "non-art." Forgotten is the link between arts and crafts and the development of the "real" arts of painting, sculpture, classical music, etc. But I say it is all art, because it has "heart." This quote from St. Francis reminds me that art has humble beginnings. It is an expression of self, whether it be a happy thought or a more somber moment. You don't need expensive materials or a degree in art to "make art." Inject your heart--and no matter what you create, it is art.

What is "Bellas Artes"?

"Bellas artes" means "beautiful arts" or "fine arts" in Spanish.

Book Reviews

Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, by Leonard Koren. 1994, ISBN 1-880656-12-4.
Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic system. It is that "something" that when we view some Japanese art, homes, gardens, etc. makes us say, "That is Japanese." I was curious about this, so I read Koren's book, the first book to try to describe in writing something that even the Japanese haven't been able to "qualify." In any case, the book begins with this description: "Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional." Rooted in Zen and nature, wabi-sabi is what we see when we view a bonsai tree or a plain calligraphy scroll or a simple twig in an earthenware container. The concepts, especially about beauty and minimalism, are food for artistic thought. Recommended.

The Wabi-sabi House, by Robyn Griggs Lawrence. 2004, ISBN 1-4000-5046-4.
Do not read this book without reading a primer about wabi-sabi first. The general title is very misleading. This book is not really about wabi-sabi; it is about Lawrence's application of her interpretation of wabi-sabi in her home. The text is fraught with contradictions: for example, she espouses shopping in flea markets for "things wabi-sabi," in opposition to the wabi-sabi teaching against materialism and the accumulation of possessions. Although touted as a decorating book, it doesn't fulfull that purpose because the pictures are tiny and sepia-toned. I would say this book is more about the author than about wabi-sabi. Not recommended.

Knitting in America, by Melanie D. Falick. 1996, ISBN 1-885183-27-5.

This is truly an inspiring knitting book! The author interviews and photographs several dozen knitters and their projects from all over the USA. The text describes their very artistic knitting processes, what inspires them, why they knit, etc. Each knitter has also donated a project to make (patterns printed in detail in the back of the book). I am a long way from being able to do any of these projects, but the pictures make me dream! The photography in this book is superb, colorful and large (coffee table size book) and you will be touched by the stories of these artists and their medium. Definitely recommended.

Mini Project: Artist Trading Card (ATC)

Artist Trading Cards (or ATCs) are baseball-card sized (2.5 by 3.5 inches) pieces of art that can be traded with others. The card usually displays a piece of art created by you. It can be a drawing, comic, collage, print, photo, etc. The back of the card displays your name, contact information, date of creation, and edition information (1 of x cards, where "x" is the total number of cards showing the image). I usually create runs of 12 identical cards that display one or more of my eraser carvings. Then I send them off to fellow ATCers and receive their cards in return. I store them in baseball card collector's binders.

Make your own ATC! Cut some lightweight cardstock to trading card size. Decorate the cards with your own art. On the back, write your name, contact info, date and edition information. Invite your friends to make cards, too. Then trade 'em and enjoy!

Duplicating images: It's easy to duplicate and size oversized or colored art using a scanner. Scan your image and size it appropriately in your software. Print out multiple copies of it, cut them out, and glue them on a coordinating color of cardstock. Use bright white paper for your printouts and print in high-quality mode. If you don't have a scanner, you can go to a copy shop and they will scan according to your specs.

Other uses for ATCs. You can glue your ATC to the front of a folded notecard. You can use them as gift tags. ATCs also make good book marks. Or, glue an ATC to the front of a plain gift bag as a decoration. These small pieces of art are very versatile.

For more info about ATCs: Visit http://groups.msn.com/ATCEXCHANGE/_whatsnew.msnw

1 comment:

Yasu Miyata said...


You might be interested in my gallery of beautiful handmade arts and crafts created by Japanese artists. Could you check it out and write your comment on my blog?

Thank you.

Yasu Miyata

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