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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween on Vintage Magazine Covers

1913 Life Cover
Artist: O'Malley

Beguiling.  There were so many magazines being published in the first 40 years of the 20th century, it was a golden age for talented illustrators, men and women.  Holiday covers must have been a challenge.  How many ideas were rejected by the publishers?  Here are some that made it.

1908 Life
Artist: Victor C. Anderson
The early years of of cover illustration were romantic years.  This is a clever cover because it forms the face of the jack o'lantern.

1934 American Boy

You can't go wrong with a black cat. By the way, did you know that animal shelters won't allow black cats to be adopted during October in an attempt to protect their innocent lives.

1919 Today's Housewife

1924 The Household Magazine
I'm unable to read the names of these artists.

1936 The Grade Teacher

I remember bobbing for apples at a Halloween party in the 1950s. Apples were smaller than. Maybe it's easier now that commercial apples are so much larger to get your teeth into one.

1933 Collier's
Artist: Hans Kir n

Some humor in the depths of the Great Depression.
1934 Liberty
Artist: Vernon Grant

1911 Life
This cover was not created for Halloween, but I found it a bit creepy.  Since a lot of Americans will have snow on Halloween, perhaps these are the creatures that will come out tomorrow night.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Maps & Art or Where the Road Takes You

Sherman Oaks 405 & 101
Artist:  Lisa Fulton

 I've been pondering maps lately and why they fascinate.  Lines, of course.  Your eye can't see a line without following it, from one point to another, anyway.

Take, for instance,
The Mahmud al_Kashgari map (1072) of a "Turkocentric" world, oriented with the midsummer sunrise on top, showing the Caspian Sea to the north, and Iraq, Azerbajan, Yemen and Egypt to the west, China and Japan to the east, Hindustan, Kashmir, Gog and Magog to the south.  Blue lines are rivers and red lines are mountain ranges. And it is encircled by the ocean. You can see it at the Pera Museum in Istanbul. Artful, isn't it.

Humanity Rewarded
Artist: Jennifer Jefferson

My friend Jennifer often uses bits of maps in the backgrounds of her collages composed on recycled old book covers.

Snowshoe Rabbit
Artist: Jennifer Jefferson

I see it as tongue-in-cheek humor, for her subjects have instinctive maps imprinted on their brains. Only you, the viewer, would require one if you were intent on following them.

Woodpecker & Daisies
Artist: Jennifer Jefferson

 You can see more of Jen's collages for sale on her Etsy shop here and read her blog, A Country Weekend, here.

New York City Subway
Artist: Ingrid Dabringer

Ingrid Dabringer, who lives in Sault Ste. Marie, makes maps a focal point in her art. Her blog with other works is here.

Park City, Utah by James Niehues

James Niehues, a map artist, creates ski trail maps, which is also a practical pursuit.  His website is here.

Paphos section of Cyprus
Artist: Abi Daker

Abi Daker alternates between the U.K. and Cyprus and is an artist of illustrated maps and cityscapes.  Her website is here

As I pointed out in the beginning, map art isn't new.

L.A. 91 & 110 Garden
Artist: Lisa Fulton

But one artist, my new acquaintance, Lisa Fulton, wouldn't have found her particular metier if President Eisenhower hadn't decided to expand the American highway system in the 1950s.  Lisa discovered the engineered beauty of the cloverleaf. . .

Chicago: The Circle Interchange I-290 and I-90/I-94
Artist: Lisa Fulton

. . . the circle exchange . . .

On the New Jersey Turnpike: I-95 Junction with I-18
Artist: Lisa Fulton
. . . the turnpike. . .

I-95 & I-695 Baltimore
Artist: Lisa Fulton
. . . and the braided exchange. Sinuous, at times as visually puzzling as a cat's cradle, her art fascinates.

Be sure to view her interpretations of highway systems in foreign capitals.  Lisa's website is here .
And that's what I've been thinking about lately.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Chinese Ginger Jar

I have been reading a fascinating blog called Linosaurus, in which a retired Dutch physician, Gerrie, waxes eloquent about woodcut and other media artists and their prints from the first half of the 20th century. He's been blogging for two and a half years and I've read them all.  I'm learning a great deal from him. He has a love of flower prints especially and in two blogs he wrote of artists and old Chinese ginger jars.  Here

Artist: Bertha Plekker-Muller

The prints were all so lovely, and the small ginger jars so alluring, I wanted one.  So I got on eBay (a wonderful source for whatever one wants is eBay) and bid on the little ginger jar at the top of this blog.  This little jar was crafted by hand, most likely in the middle to late 19th century, and sent to California to the Chinese community with either ginger or some other food or herb in it.  Though intended for the common consumer, each side was first given a different embossed design, then glazed and fired. Really, it's a small work of art. Which is why ginger jars were so favored by artists of the Arts & Crafts Movement -- in Europe in particular.

When I told Gerrie that I planned to find a ginger jar for my own, he suggested that I put some rose hips in it.  And so I have.  Not satisfied with just a photo to show off, I played with my Adobe Photo program in an attempt to be painterly.  And this is the result.

The sponge effect

The watercolor effect

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Night and the Cat

Geordie is a mature cat now, about seven and a half years old. It has been interesting, observing him gain hunting prowess through the years. Success in hunting did not come naturally to him. He had to work at it. Now he is at the pinnacle of his instinctive powers.  And he eats all that he kills.  Lately, Geordie has insisted on going out at twilight and not coming back until morning. I always thought this was "the dangerous time" because of coyotes; but when three of our cats were killed by a coyote in May, it was always in the late morning while they were hunting in the pasture. So, I let Geordie have his way. Maybe it is safer to hunt at night and sleep all day.

This overwhelming desire of his reminded me of a poem by Elizabeth Coatsworth, published in 1950 in a rather rare little book titled Night and the Cat.  I collect children's cat books and, fortunately, picked this up at a library sale for fifty cents. The poem is

                                                   On a Night of Snow

Cat, if you go outdoors, you must walk in the snow.
You will come back with little white shoes on your feet,
little white shoes of snow that have heels of sleet.
Stay by the fire, my Cat.  Lie still, do not go.
See how the flames are leaping and hissing low.
I will bring you a saucer of milk like a marguerite,
so white and so smooth, so spherical and so sweet --
stay with me, Cat.  Outdoors the wild winds blow.

Outdoors the wild winds blow, Mistress, and dark is the night,
strange voices cry in the trees, intoning strange lore,
and more than cats move, lit by our eyes' green light,
on silent feet where the meadow grasses hang hoar --
Mistress, there are portents abroad of magic and might,
and things that are yet to be done.  Open the door!

Artist: Lionel Lindsay

Friday, October 19, 2012

1920 - Women Get the Vote

My grandparents married in 1910.  American women were given universal suffrage by the passage of the 19th Amendment shortly before the national election in 1920.  My grandfather wouldn't allow my grandmother to vote . . . until . . . in 1936, he was afraid Franklin D. Roosevelt wouldn't be reelected.  He made sure Grandma voted that year.  It was a heady experience for her and she never allowed him to keep her from voting again.  She took her right to vote seriously.

So did a lot of women who had fought for that right, decade after decade. . . state by state.

Women's suffrage laws before passage of the Nineteenth Amendment
  Full suffrage
  Presidential suffrage
  Primary suffrage
  Municipal suffrage
  School, bond, or tax suffrage
  Municipal suffrage in some cities
  Primary suffrage in some cities
  No suffrage

Why did the western states give women equal suffrage before the rest of the country?  Wyoming women began voting while it was still a territory in 1869.  And the territorial legislature put women's suffrage into its new state constitution (after much lobbying by women).  When the U.S. Congress, strongly opposed to women's suffrage, threatened to withhold statehood from Wyoming, Cheyenne officials sent back a a staunchly worded telegram stating that Wyoming would remain out of the Union 100 years rather than join without women's suffrage.  On July 10, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed the bill approving Wyoming as the nation's "Equality State."

 In 1893, voters of Colorado made that state the second of the woman suffrage states and the first state where the men voted to give women the right to vote. In 1896 Idaho approved a constitutional amendment in a statewide vote giving women the right to vote.

Apparently, a majority of western men, who shared pioneering hardships with women, viewed them as equals.

California women's suffrage campaign poster

Iowa women's suffrage campaign poster.

Today we might wonder, "What was the big fuss about? Why would men east of the Mississippi and in the South keep women from voting?"

Because men in power do not share that power easily.  Any change is a threat to the status quo which gives men comfort.

Men used ridicule. . . 

arrest and imprisonment . . . and painful forced feeding when their female prisoners went on hunger strikes . . . which some men found humorous.

On January 12, 1915, a suffrage bill was brought before the House of Representatives, but was defeated by a vote of 204 to 174. President Wilson opposed women's suffrage. And then World War I came along, bringing social change with it.  Another bill was brought before the House on January 10, 1918. On the evening before, President Wilson, who had been pressured to change his mind, made a strong and widely published appeal to the House to pass the bill. It was passed by two-thirds of the House, with only one vote to spare. The vote was then carried into the Senate. Again President Wilson made an appeal, but on September 30, 1918, the amendment fell two votes short of passage. On February 10, 1919, it was again voted upon, and then it was lost by only one vote.
There was considerable anxiety among politicians of both parties to have the amendment passed and made effective before the general elections of 1920, so the President called a special session of Congress, and a bill, introducing the amendment, was brought before the House again. On May 21, 1919, it was passed, 42 votes more than necessary being obtained. On June 4, 1919, it was brought before the Senate, and after a long discussion it was passed, with 56 ayes and 25 nays. Within a few days, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan ratified the amendment, their legislatures being then in session. Other states followed suit at a regular pace, until the amendment had been ratified by 35 of the necessary 36 state legislatures. After Washington State on March 22, 1920, ratification languished for months. Finally, on August 18, 1920, Tennessee narrowly ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, making it the law throughout the United States. The deciding vote in the Tennessee legislature was cast by a state legislator, who had voted against it earlier, but on this day had 

received a note from his mother, imploring him to "be a good boy" and vote for ratification.  

He did.

American women fighting for equal suffrage endured hostility, humiliation, assault and battery to gain your right to vote, ladies.  Please exercise your full citizenship by voting on November 6th.

Monday, October 15, 2012

And Jay Gets a Kitchen of His Own

During the past three and a half years Jay and I lived in my childhood home that Mom and Dad built in the 1950s.  When I said, "This is Mom's kitchen and I can't do anything here," Jay took me literally and did all of the cooking and dish washing by hand.  He likes to cook, but he yearned for a dishwasher.

He put a lot of thought into the design of his kitchen.  A lighter granite on the counters called Kashmir Gold,
and a black granite called Gold Spectrus on the island with striations of blues and colors that have no names.

He wanted a cooktop and a wall oven, which intrigued me because we've always had "just" a stove. Note the apple pie fresh from the oven.

Jay makes great sugar-free apple pies using apples from our trees.

Lots of cabinet space, including a pantry cabinet with double doors . . . .

. . . and inside sections that swivel out to reveal even more shelf space behind.  He even had an electric socket wired bottom right in case he decides to install a small wine cooler.  Right now I have the dust buster plugged in there.

Lots of cabinet space under his cooktop, including  a pull-out spice cabinet..  Actually, that was my suggestion.

Room for two stools and the large water dispenser for Pepper, the Brittany. Electric sockets under the granite around the island, so we can sit on our stools, drink tea, and work on our laptops . . . or plug in other  implements such as the dehydrator for apples and plums. The three hanging lanterns are actually more golden  when they're on than appears in the photo.

Shelving for our Van Briggle pottery and Batchelder tile collections.

And even a high spot for Jay's gargoyle that he brought back from Paris when he was fourteen.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

When Ladies Painted China

People who bring to The Antiques Roadshow hand-painted china that their great-grandmothers decorated in the latter part of the 19th or early years of the 20th century are told that the only value is for decoration, and that at one time nearly every middle class and upper class household had a lady who painted china.

It's a lovely part of America's social history.  There was a journal that assisted the ladies with design, encouraged ceramics clubs, and even printed photos of successful outcomes.  Keramic Studio.

My small collection of signed hand-painted china from the Arts and Crafts period of American design has just been unboxed from five years in a storage unit. I'm delighted to have these pieces back on the shelves So here is a photo essay.

One of a set of four bouillon soup bowls - about the size of a teacup., simple and elegant.

I think I've found the pattern for this signed plate (one of six Jay found for me somewhere in Wyoming) in a Keramic Studio for 1908.

My neighbor Mary in Laramie found this signed cereal bowl and pitcher in Kentucky -- my reward for watering her flowers while she was visiting her daughter.

Most of the china blanks came from France and Germany before World War I.  Then Nippon (Japan) during the war. 

The poppy was a favorite design.

Stylized poppy . . .

Or not . . . another gift from Mary for watering her garden. 

My other dear friend in Laramie, Sue, gave me this hand-painted plate in the Art Nouveau style.

The dragonfly was another popular subject. I think this is a serving dish for bon bons.

 A large charger intended to be hung on a wall. The peacock feather was also popular -

With many stylizations to choose from.

This pattern was submitted to Keramic Studio and won first prize in design.

And this pattern is similar.

A rather large bread tray with gold chrysanthemums. Gold outlining and design was popular during this period.

A candy dish.

A pin tray more of the 1920s Art Deco period.

As is this squash blossom design, signed and dated 1923.  A touch of the southwest. And the decorator has a Hispanic last name.

A set of 6 of this sherbet dishe came from Austria and almost seem more Vienna Secession than American Arts and Crafts.

A trivet for hot teapots.

A candlestick.

A simple design of a cup and saucer from a set I'm sure the decorator really intended to use.

And waterlilies were popular, too.