Interior of a Mechanic’s Workshop

Anthelme Trimolet (Anthelme Claude Honoré Trimolet, born 8 May 1798, Lyon – died 17 December 1866, Lyon) from the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon.

I have stared at this painting for quite some time.  There is a lot to unpack from this one if you have any interest in hand tools.  This image is of a very organized workshop of a master craftsman plying his trade in the early 19th century.  I feel he is consulting with a client about a commission they are undertaking and discussing the finer details.  Click the image for a larger version and enjoy.

Wandering Minstral

A Wandering Minstral

A Wandering Minstrel

Here is a painting by the Scottish artist John Burr (1831-1893) of an itinerant fiddler playing for a family in a Scottish lane probably trying to make enough money to eat or maybe even receive some food for his entertainment.  I can’t help but think the father looking out has a skeptical look; possibly wondering what this will cost in the end.

Music and storytelling were a very different commodity in an age of widespread illiteracy and 24 hour media.  It’s hard to even imagine a time when all music was handmade and intimate and not an item to be mass marketed.

The Chart of Hand Tools

I rarely (I mean almost never) go out of my way to endorse a product of any kind but while considering the upcoming holidays I came across this link I saved a while back.  I think it would be perfect for the workshop and is a work of art in its own right.

I can imagine it over my new workspace or even hanging on the wall in the den to be pondered while dreaming of building something worthwhile.  It’s called the Chart of Hand Tools from the Pop Chart Lab, “printed using 100 lb archival recycled stock certified by The Forest Stewardship Council, this poster is pressed on an offset lithographic press in Flatlands, Brooklyn.”  Sounds good so far and I love how they are actually grouped in logical sets by basic function.  That satisfies the analyst in me.

HandTools

Click the image for a larger version or the link to get yours today (or to send me one!).

Here’s some information from Pop Chart Lab’s website:

With over 300 meticulously illustrated tools this chart celebrates the tinkerers and the doers: those who build, repair, and create. Breaking down all manner of hand tools by their basic function, this sprawling print covers the most basic, such as the humble yet mighty hammer, to the most highly specialized, such as the 24 types of files depicted here. A hand-crafted compendium of ingenious and essential devices, this chart is a complete cut-list of the tools that empower makers and artisans. —And the chart is printed with brass and aluminum metallic inks to give it a shop-ready sheen.

Size 24″ x 36″

Each print is signed and numbered by the artists, and comes packaged in a Pop Chart Lab Test Tube. 

At $37 U.S. it seems like a great addition to any Maker’s house.  I hope my own Santa Claus or Krampus drops one off at the shop this winter.  I better start being good for the Yule-tide season.

The Golden Rule of a Minimalist Homestead

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

Wise words from William Morris.

William Morris

William Morris

This is the mantra that drives the entire vardo project.  I try to keep this in mind for every thing I add and every part I build.  Otherwise, isn’t it just junk?

The Wheel House

A ‘tender, post-apocalyptic love story’…

I want to revisit this minimalist performance art piece with you for the weekend.  Extremely clever, “acrobatic virtuosity,” street performance.

from the Acrojou website:

“A tender post-apocalyptic love story…” 
– Kate Kavanagh, review, The Circus Diaries

A gently comic dystopia, set in a different time where everything has a new value and survival relies on sharp eyes, quick hands, and, above all, friendship. Stunning design, theatrical acrobatics, and breathtaking moments of risk, all housed within an exquisite, hand-built structure. The Wheel House is a narrative show which unfolds inside and around a circular set as it rolls, with the audience walking alongside.

Acrojou’s flagship show, The Wheel House, has been toured and developed by the company for the past 7 years.

In this time it has been seen live by more than 100,000 people, been booked for events in 13 countries, and it’s online video has had more than 90,000 hits. It is steadily gaining the company recognition in the national and international media and has so far been featured in The Times, The Evening Standard and Freestyle Magazine (all UK), and newspapers and magazines in Asia, Holland, Switzerland, Russia, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. The show has been written about in over 300 blogs and online magazines, including Trendhunter, Design Taxi, Moscow Times, and ABC News, in at least 15 different languages. It has been MSN ‘Picture of the Day’ as well on the Flickr homepage. The image has been used for cover art for an edition of ‘Mr Pip’ by Lloyd Jones. It is still touring and is already penciled to visit Australia, New Zealand and Portugal all for the first time in 2015. It is currently the most widely toured of all Without Walls shows.

Commissioned as a walkabout by Without Walls (2008) and funded for development into a full show (2011) by Applause. With Direction from Flick Ferdinando.

Promotional film by Cristobal Catalan

The Graces of Archery

 

Satire on archery from 1794.  More at the British Museum.

Luigi Prina: A Fantasy Artist of Straight Out of My Dream World

I was thinking last night about a remarkable artist I first read about in The Blinking City, Luigi Prina.  I posted about him before but his work never ceases to amaze me.  Mr. Prina has been an architect for over 50 years but his model building is a real combination of inspired art and fantasy.  He’s been building flying models from paper and balsa wood since he was very young shows his amazing and artistic genius.

Luigi-Prina-Flying-Ships-Milan24

Many look like images from Leonardo DaVinci’s workshop and are beautiful to look at, much less to see fly.

Luigi-Prina-Flying-Ships-Milan13

Have a look at the article (I’ve reprinted some of the images below) and watch the short video of this remarkable Maker of dreams.  The Blinking City has a load of other great articles very worth reading.

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan
Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

vLuigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

Luigi Prina Flying Ships Milan

And click this link to see even more: Luigi Prina

William Sydney Mount, another pointless art excursion

My strange tendency, as an art-admirer, is to sometimes over-analyze a painting, not only as the Art itself, but also as a documentation of time and place.  In historical paintings, it’s fun to look for the details and pick up some lost history along the way.  There may be interesting clues in what the artist chose to depict … or not.

rightleft

By William Sidney Mount.

Anybody else notice the left-handed set-up?  Makes me wonder if the artist or model didn’t know the violin well.  Although I expect it would be rare, I think it’s just possible a self-taught individual might learn this way.  It’s a great picture and study but looks like a mirror image if you are intimate with the violin.  Maybe the clue is in the title Left and Right.

This got me thinking about another of his excellent works, The Banjo Player. I had to look again but I seemed to recall it as a lefty too.  And sure enough, a lefty.

The Banjo Player

The Banjo Player

The Sweeney style banjo strikes me as legitimately left-handed as the drone string is reversed.  As a folk instrument it’s easier for me to imagine some variety in design and setup.  But really, there’s not much point in this discussion other than some odd notes about two paintings I’ve thought about for some time now.  If his art appeals to you,  a lot more can be found by clicking the self portrait of Mount below.

William Sidney Mount (1847-1850).

William Sidney Mount (1847-1850).

Comrades

ComradeComrades, the 42nd Highlanders (copy of a lost earlier painting by the artist) 1894, by Robert Gibb.

This image is extremely moving and poignant.  The scene is of the 42nd Regiment of Foot (later called the Black Watch),  during the Crimean War winter campaign of 1854-1855.  The dying man on the ground is whispering his dying words to the man propping him up while the third stands over them.  The image is said to have been inspired by reading a book on Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow and adapted to a more familiar British theme.  This remarkable snapshot of 19th century history hangs in the Black Watch Museum, Balhousie Castle in Perth, Scotland .

Seek Solutide

Eugene_delacroix“Nourish yourself with grand and austere ideas of beauty that feed the soul… Seek solitude.”

“I must work alone. I think that going into society from time to time, or just going out and seeing people, does not do much harm to one’s work and spiritual progress, in spite of what many so-called artists say to the contrary. Associating with people of that kind is far more dangerous; their conversation is always commonplace. I must go back to being alone. Moreover, I must try to live austerely, as Plato did. How can one keep one’s enthusiasm concentrated on a subject when one is always at the mercy of other people and in constant need of their society? … The things we experience for ourselves when we are alone are much stronger and much fresher. However pleasant it may be to communicate one’s emotions to a friend there are too many fine shades of feeling to be explained, and although each probably perceives them, he does so in his own way and thus the impression is weakened for both.”

Eugène Delacroix – 1798–1863.

Pop over to Maria Popova‘s blog “Brain Pickings” and read more about Delacroix and his thoughts on solitude.  While you are there, check out the many other fine and philosophical musings of her’s.

Traveler’s Life

Getting back to our theme of traveler’s, caravans, and other wanderers of the world… a few images from Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret a French Naturalist Painter of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

"Dans la forêt-Musée des beaux-arts de Nancy."

“Dans la forêt-Musée des beaux-arts de Nancy.”

I believe I would enjoy siting around this campfire.

chevaux-a-l-abreuvoir---pascal-dagnan-bouveret

“Chevaux à l’abreuvoir.”

Once a common scene, now virtually lost in an era of loud, fume-belching machinery.

"Gypsy Scene."

“Gypsy Scene.”

A peaceful morning cooking breakfast in the morning dew.  The caravan is obscured by the smoke of the campfire.

Ainu Art and Archaeology

Ah, Ainu. What an interesting people.

The Heritage Trust

 
 
Carved knife by Japanese artist Kaizawa Toru
 
The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures will be holding a Friends Event on Monday, 23 February 2015 from 6:00-7:30pm. The Event will be held at the Sainsbury Institute in Norwich, England and is entitled Ainu Art and Archaeology. Two talks will be given; one by Professor Kato Hirofumi (Professor of Archaeology, Hokkaido University Centre for Ainu and Indigenous Studies) entitled Tracing the Emergence of Ainu Ethnicities using Archaeological Data. The other talk is by the artist Kaizawa Toru and is entitled Conflict and Amalgamation between “Tradition” and “Ainu”.
 
The Sainsbury Institute invites you to join them –
 
…for an evening in the company of two distinguished guests who will introduce us to two fascinating aspects of the distinctive culture of Japan’s northern island, Hokkaido. The historical trajectory of Hokkaido is very different to the other main…

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Medieval Caliper

I believe this is my new favorite blog.  A remarkable archaeological illustrator with some very interesting artifacts.  I never even considered the antiquity of sliding calipers.  I hope she puts more illustrations up sometime!

archaeological illustrations

Late medieval wooden artefact: caliper, found in latrine in Gdansk, Poland. Hand drawing by Helena Michel, pencil on paper technique.

Ilustracja archeologiczna późnośredniowiecznej drewnianej suwmiarki, znalezionej w latrynie podczas wykopalisk na terenie Centrum Dominikańskiego w Gdańsku. Rysunek odręczy na papierze, autor: Helena Michel

archeological illustration

archeological illustration by Helena Michel

archaeological medieval artefact

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Archery in Art; David Teniers the Younger

TENIERS_the_Younger,_David_-_Peasants_at_Archery_(1645)

Peasants at Archery, David Teniers the Younger, 1645.  Wikimedia source.

Painted when the common man still met at the butts for an afternoon of shooting and relaxation.  Then hopefully, off to the pub for a pint.  I love to scan old images for the details.  Some nice redware jugs, probably for beer, a great little bench, and clothing details for the historical-minded.  Most interesting to me are the bows themselves, as the ones depicted here are reflexed recurved flat bows.  Also notable is the conspicuous absence of anything like a quiver.  I expect everyone just showed up with a handful of arrows tucked into the belt.

Here are a few older posts on archery from previous years.

Luigi Prina: The Ships That Sail Through the Clouds

A story of a remarkable artist from The Blinking City.

Luigi-Prina-Flying-Ships-Milan5

Mr. Prina has been an architect for over 50 years but his model building is a work of art and fantasy.  Building flying models from paper and balsa wood since he was very young shows his amazing and artistic genius.

Luigi-Prina-Flying-Ships-Milan24

Many look like images from Leonardo DaVinci’s workshop and are beautiful to look at, much less to see fly.

Luigi-Prina-Flying-Ships-Milan13

Have a look at the article and watch the short video of this remarkable Maker of dreams.

Tavern Interior by John S.C. Schaak 1762

Sifting The Past

Tavern Interior_John-S-C-Schaak_1762John S.C. Schaak  active 1760-1770

Video walkthrough:

Detail: tavern, chair, table, basket, food, sideboard, meat, pie, plate, knife, fork, fire, hearth, fireplace crane, cucumber, lemon sausage, meat hook, beef, bird, bird cage, bottle, glass, bread, mortar and pestle, chocolate pot, spit turner, soldier, cooking pot, tongs, serving boy, raised cooking surface, fry pan, jug, game birds, rabbit

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Outside the Box

I like architecture that thinks beyond the ordinary while still trying maintain functionality.  Here are some interesting stairs designed by TAF – Gabriella Gustafson & Mattias Ståhlbom courtesy of http://hovercraftdoggy.com/.

Looking down.

My only question is how you could get this past most of the building inspectors I have dealt with.

UPDATE: Luc sent a comment and link to “miller’s stairs” (see comments) for tight spaces:  http://www.mier.be/realisaties/trap_1.html.  I think that early american houses had more ladders in tight spaces, at least in the appalachians and the ozarks.

Van Gogh

Early in the planning stage while designing my ‘van, I encountered this painting by Vincent van Gogh.  Painted in the late 19th Century, it is, to me, a great image of what is now a bygone era in Europe.  Who knows, if the economy collapses, and the disparity between the rich and poor increases, maybe this will become a common sight again.