The Annual Meeting!

April 2 was the date of the first CBAS annual meeting in the new Essex space. You can see how shiny it is from Anjali‘s picture:

What do CBAS people do when they get together? They eat tasty food! Oh, and make books. Here are the materials:

Aaaannnndddd, here’s a finished product!

Sweet!

Couldn’t make it? (I couldn’t.) See you next year! If you can’t wait that long, stop by a study group or other event.

Guessing Game

Q: What is 234 pages long, with 11 foldout pages containing diagrams of the heavens, written in what appears (even to the most ingenious code-crackers in history) to be gibberish, adorned with pictures of impossible flora and “decidedly unerotic drawings of groups of plump naked women?”

A: The Voynich Manuscript!

Alas, that is all the answer we can provide. But, for more information and a history of the ms, see “Secret Knowledge – or a Hoax?” by Eamon Duffy, New York Review of Books (April 20, 2017).

Safety First

Whether you’ve stabbed yourself in the thumb with an awl, tripped over a matte cutter that you left on the floor (guilty), or suffered a nasty paper cut (OW!), you know that art studios can be hazardous hellholes. However, many of these hazards can and should be avoided.

At a recent CBAS meeting (where, fortunately, the only potential hazard was an unstable coat rack), Judith reminded everyone to keep a first aid kit handy. 

Those who work around chemicals — photographers, painters, ceramicists, etc. — should use particular caution. 

The National Institute of Health and Department of Health and Human Services has compiled a handy list of resources called Keeping Artists Safe.

Be careful out there!

 

Book Review: The Art of Chinese Calligraphy, by Jean Long

I picked this book up from a shelftop display in the children’s section of the library. While older children (and maybe a few elementary school aged ones) might enjoy this book, it seems to be more for adults who are serious about learning Chinese calligraphy techniques.

I’m not a calligrapher myself, so I’m probably not the best source to report back about this book. But, it is captivating, even for a non-calligrapher. The book is slim, but is comprehensive, covering everything from the origins of  symbols to the intricacies of brush strokes and character composition. There is much Chinese history thrown in as well. Deceptively simple — maybe that’s how it found its way to the children’s shelf.

There are some great photos and illustrations of the materials. Most of what I know about Chinese inks and brushes comes from pictureless fiction, so these visual aids were helpful. While in black and white only, the photographs also show calligraphy on art — ceramics, paintings, tablets, porcelain, fans, metal, silk.

What’s the lesson here? That artists, like everyone else, need to study the past — not only the images, but also the methods, tools, materials, and origins. As a calligraphy bookmark “intended to encourage reading” (p. 38) puts it, “Studying old history helps in the learning of new ideas.”

 

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A Valentine (or Something) to Nature

Who wrote the book of love?

Not me. I’m apparently the only person who seemed to have written a Dear John letter to nature. The fact that a snake can fall from a tree — good lord, let’s stay within the safe, fun parameters of the zoo and museum. Nevertheless, the overall theme of looooovvvvve was followed by everyone else, and the results are spectacular!

If you missed the opening of this show at the Cincinnati Nature Center, do please visit before it closes on March 26. The exhibit is a testimony to CBAS’s artistic diversity — papermaking, printmaking, sculptural books, framed artwork, poetry, pop-up, and a set of tiny hanging books (sorry, could not get a decent photo of this amazing kinetic work by Cecie!).

The materials are even more diverse than their forms: orchid leaves, wire, a silicone book that resembles our gray Februarys, pine needles, paste paper, wood, snakeskin.

In short, you will LOVE these Valentines!