Friday, September 17, 2010

Some thought about crafts while surfing the internet

These faces were made of empty toilet paper rolls...
by Junior Fritz Jacquet

1) When I was little, one of my favorite books was The Great Book of Crafts for Girls. In the end of it was some "taste education" - about what is ugly, of bad taste, almost offensive, and what is beautiful, simple, of good taste and high quality. Naturally, everything that was taught in the book was good, and what was not taught in the book was bad, but I remember especially a comparison between a wooden doll, very simple, from the book, and a rag-doll, very ugly, "personal" and "funny", I suppose it can be called, with twisted caricature face. I didn't understand at the age of 10 why the funny doll was "bad", and vehemently decided the book was wrong, and I was not going to listen to their opinion.
A lot of things that are advised to modern crafters in these dime a dozen magazines, are what would have been judged as bad taste according to this book. We have the googly eyed things with swollen faces, big potato nose (usually red, too), exaggerated and simplified forms... everything looks the same, giraffes and dogs, old men and babies... everyone has the same, ugly face. I cannot think ANY of these things would ever be on the "must be saved" list, or family heirloom list... and that is such a pity, because people do use at least some time, effort and money to produce these horrible things. I really don't think they would be spending much more to make good, real things, that one would actually save and present to one's grandchildren as "this is the toy my great-grandmother made, back in 100 years ago".
And I realize that today, 30 years later, I both understand and agree with what the book said.

2) I spotted a wonderful stumpwork book in bookstore and rushed to eye it through... and was terribly disappointed. They had not embroidered the flat pictures. They had painted them, and just added a couple of stitches to "mask" that it was a painting. They hadn't sewn the petals with lace stitches, they had embroidered the edges of painted petals, cut them out of fabric and sewn on the base - painted.
I look at a magnificent tablecloth with a border of sunflowers, and... it's painted too. The edge is not stitched either, it's glued. Sure, it's beautiful, NOW, when it's new and all that, but... embroidering isn't that much harder to do than painting, and it's so much sturdier. Paint WILL wear thin, crack and loose colors with time, especially in an item made to be used and washed. The glue edge will disappear with time, and in just some 10 years, the tablecloth is ready to be thrown away, beyond repair.
Now, it might be so that one needs a tablecloth for a party quickly, and one is good at painting, so one takes a bedsheet and paints flowers on it, and puts it on the table. Voilá, a use-and-loose piece of art, one time only... but... I so wish someone had seen just a little bit more trouble and embroidered the cloth.

3) Why does Santa wear boots made for... er... what? Someone with a REALLY bad case of hammer toes? Nothing in the universe has toes like that. And no real person wears boots like that, unless he's forced to. I suppose the round forms are somewhat benevolent, funny, delightful, like Santa is supposed to be, but I think they are just ugly.
Frankly, I don't get this shoe thing anyway... I get why the baby's first shoes get bronzed, but I don't get these shoe/boot shaped flowerpots, vases, candy bowls, porcelain figurine... The worst of them all are the miniature shoes made of resin! I mean... barbie shoes are ok, handmade miniature shoes made of real materials, for dolls or just because one can, that could actually be worn, if one was 20 inches high, proportionate adult, that's kind of cool. But the resin shoes, "collect the whole series", is just stupid. They are not even copies of some famous or important shoes. They are just shoes.
I like shoes. I am a bit of a shoe fetishist, to be honest, but I don't like fake shoes, not even as artwork. The real shoes are small artworks in themselves, and the worth just grows by the fact, that these little pieces of art are functional. I suppose I embrace also William Morris :-D

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

What I find very interesting is miniature art. This whole dtail blog is full of interesting stuff, but just look at this tiger!
Or the Little Prince book, fully readable and all. Now, THAT's amazing.

Or what this guy does with rice.

Or what has been done to peach pits for ages

I LOVE miniatures.
Like this one.
Or dolls houses! I just adore dollhouses! Like Queen Mary's Dollshouse...

Has anyone made a replica of that? Of course, it's impossible to get true copies of the paintings, books and things created by the best in their field at that time, but still...

Added 2nd of October: Some Pencil Work WOW!

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