DIY Craft
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DIY Mini Note Book Covers

I just love this fun idea of using up beautiful paper. It is practical and functional and you can appreciate the lovely paper far more often than before.

The next best thing to pretty fabric is pretty paper! Although I don’t scrapbook, I love to walk through that department at my favorite craft/sewing stores and couldn’t resist buying some when I saw it marked down.  Of course, then I had to come up with a project for it, so here it is!

Sometimes the paper is so pretty, I am reluctant to use it, but I had no such trouble with this project. Some are planned to be small gifts, others I will use myself and then I can appreciate the paper each time I use them.

The therapeutic and relaxing nature of craft is something we should ponder about whilst stuck in traffic jams, heading to work each week!  🙂 Continue reading “DIY Mini Note Book Covers”

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Blind Drawing: Good Practice

Blind or Contour drawing is a favourite with drawing teachers to develop hand-eye communication. It is essentially outline drawing, and blind contour drawing means drawing the outline of the subject without looking at the paper.

A Blind drawing hand using  the right side of brain

The end result doesn’t matter. What is important is carefully observing the subject in order to follow contours and space, with your hand and eye. This trains your brain to tap into its right hemisphere, which aids us in drawing shapes, lines and angles, positive and negative space, instead of objects that we can “name.” Naming objects is the domain of the left brain, logical, realistic but also one that shackles our drawing ability to that of a ten year old.

Above you can see my first blind drawing. My vegetable patch in the back yard. One can just make out the garden edging and the tomato plants, and stakes. I used a soft B pencil which made a nice effect when I drew on the rough Gesso finish of a hard cardboard backed frame. I painted a little colour in a pen and wash technique and then soaked it in tea overnight.  I added a little outlining in pen.  I was surprised by how much my right brain could do without the dominant left hemisphere taking over.

Continue reading “Blind Drawing: Good Practice”

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Rosemaling and Art Coloring in Designs

Rosemaling is an art form that evolved in Norway post Renaissance. It is a stylized form  that is highly parochial due to the relative isolation of the valleys in Norway. Consequently, each valley developed their own particular style adapting what the influences brought to them via itinerant artists roaming the countryside.

Rosemaling

Some of us don’t feel very artistic, but I believe we can learn to tap into that side of us. We can start by coloring in Rosemaling designs. This develops muscle memory and our brains learn the forms, shapes and lines used in this style of art. That makes it easier when we come to reproduce our own.

These designs are for your personal use in coloring in, or to paint, in practising Rosemaling design

 

A simple Rosemaling flower with Telemark Scroll like leave

Rogaland Rosemaling

Hallingdal Rosemaling

 

You can also find more images to colour on the net, like this one:

Image result for rosemaling coloring in page

This drawing is taken from the following source:-

http://www.supercoloring.com/pages/norwegian-rosemaling

Click to learn more about  developing LINE and SHAPE as an element in sketching.

 

Something therapeutic to Ponder About

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Rosemaling fabric shop
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How to Design your own Artwork – Week #2 Design Challenge

Rosemaling

Every artistic piece contains some, or all, elements of design. These elements are then combined with a number of design ‘principles,’ in order to bring together an eye-pleasing, cohesive visual unit. Knowing these elements  and how to use them, can make all the difference between being able to produce an eye pleasing piece of art, or a disjointed, unattractive one.

Elements and Principles of Design*

Every visual piece is comprised of certain design elements or parts which may include Line, Direction, Shape, Size, Texture, Value and Colour – in that order. Design Principles, (which I will talk about later), are applied to the elements in order to bring them together into a cohesive unit. How the principles are applied, determines the overall effectiveness of a design.

This week we will examine LINE as an element in art.

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Week 2:   Line

As an element of visual art, line can be straight, swirly, wavy, jagged, dotted, dashed, broken, thick, thin, zig zag, diagonal, vertical, horizontal, curved, bold, parallel or perpendicular. It might outline a shape, form a pathway, (as in a curvy line), or a stroke. The line has width, or thickness, direction and length.

  • Lines can also convey movement and mood. Thick, straight lines convey order, stoicism and rigidity and this can sometimes be monotonous. Flowing wavy lines create softness, interest and melody.
  • In surface decoration, all lines should flow from a parent stem. No matter how distant, a line should be able to be traced all the way back to its branch and root.

Using Line in Rosemaling and Stylized Designs

A beautiful flowing design feels more natural and appealing to the eye, as the lines grow out from the other in gradual undulations. “If you have free movement in the lines and scrolls, you must have freedom in the flower and leaf forms to continue that feeling.” Nils Ellingsgaard said in his book,”Norwegian Folk art,”to “..beware of leaves painted at such an angle that they look as if they are falling off, or flowers that are way out on the end of a long stem.”

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The lines depicting the leaves on the flower on the left, are set too far apart and seem separate. The leaves on the design on the right, are implied as being part of the flower, and the base is hidden underneath the flower, thus, they have become an integral part of the design element.

Lines might be used as a border framing our design; lines might be cross hatching and even tangential lines can indicate a change in value, such as that which may simulate depth of an object, or a three dimensional quality.

 

Week 1 Sketch - Shape

 

Whilst our design ‘lines’ should aim for a cohesive design, it is okay to deliberately use broken lines in certain instances. In this case, our minds will fill in the gaps. Using deliberate, broken lines and varying their thickness and length, adds interest and moreover, is an excellent opportunity to add small details or embellishments, if you so wish.

Embellishments or liner work is another way to use ‘line’ to add vitality to a drawing or a Rosemaling design.  Nils Ellingsgaard said, “The skill of the Rosemaler is in direct proportion to the amount of variety he/she can get in his strokes.”

Nils Ellingsgaard liner work

 

Something Arty to Ponder About

Previous weeks:

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How to Design your own Artwork – Week #1 Design Challenge

I love art but I don’t feel I am artistic; I love to draw, but don’t feel I am adept; I love to design but don’t have any technical training. What to do about it?   Thanks to the World wide web, we can learn a lot more about design techniques and apply them to our art.

Rosemaling

Every artistic piece contains some, or all, elements of design. These elements are then combined with a number of design ‘principles,’ in order to bring together an eye-pleasing, cohesive visual unit. Knowing these elements  and how to use them, can make all the difference between being able to produce an eye pleasing piece of art, or a disjointed, unattractive one.

 

Elements and Principles of Design*

Every visual piece is comprised of certain design elements or parts which may include Line, Direction, Shape, Size, Texture, Value and Colour – in that order. Design Principles, (which I will talk about later), are applied to the elements in order to bring them together into a cohesive unit. How the principles are applied, determines the overall effectiveness of a design.

Week 1 – SHAPE

Firstly, let’s look at the element: ‘shape’ and its role in design.

“A shape is defined as a two or more dimensional area that stands out from the space next to, or around it, due to a defined or implied boundary, or because of differences of value, color, or texture. All objects are composed of shapes and all other ‘Elements of Design’ are shapes in some way.”[Kovalik and King]

  • Mechanical Shapes or Geometric Shapes might be the shapes drawn i,n a design, using a ruler, compass or drawing template or tool. Mechanical shapes, whether simple or complex, produce a feeling of control or order.
geometric border
Geometric border using a ruler to space the mechanical shapes
  • Organic Shapes are freehand drawn shapes that are complex and normally found in nature. Organic shapes produce a natural freer feel.
dnikias.wordpress.com
Rangoli design using a combination of mechanical and free form shapes

Rangoli is a traditional and transient form of art drawn in chalk by Hindu women, in southern India, on the front steps and entrances of buildings as part of a daily devotional practice.  The decorations use ‘shape’ in a variety of styles and motifs which vary according to different tribal groups and festivals. There is more information about Rangoli here.

Rosemaling Styles

The Acanthus leaves is an organic shape used prolifically in Norwegian Rosemaling: particularly Gudbrandsdal style. Os Rosemaling frequently uses mechanical shapes such as circles and diamonds.

Rosemaling
Acanthus leaves in Gudbrandsdalen Style of Rosemaling
Norwegian Rosemaling
Os Rosemaling

Design Challenge

I am currently running a Design Sketching Challenge in a Facebook group I admin, and I’d love to extend this invitation to you, to join a blogging version of this challenge here, on our blogs. The challenge is a great way to encourage those who would like to sketch, but don’t yet have the confidence or motivation, to try.

Seeing others strive for, and share, their artistic journey can increase inspiration and awareness of one’s design skills. You never know what you are capable of, unless you try! You can opt in and out as you wish. See more about joining in below.

Here are my sketches based on the first prompt: Shape

Using organic shapes of leaves and flowers I found,  in my garden, I created this sketch:

Week 1 Rosemaling design challenge.jpg

It needs further adjustment and improvement, so I try another.

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Still not satisfied, my final sketch for this first prompt, comprises circles, semi-circular arches, some natural elements in the leaf like scrolls and the heart-shaped flowers. I used a simple border to frame and hold together the design in one cohesive unit.

Week 1 Sketch - Shape

Would you like to join me in the Design Challenge?

What you Need to Do:

  1. Draw a 15-20 minute sketch or sketches using your own idea, or the prompt ‘shape.’
  2. Write a post about titled Design Challenge Week 1, upload your sketch and include a link back here to Something to Ponder About
  3. Next week I will post links to those blogs that participated.
  4. Leave a comment here on this post, so others can find their way to your blog.
  5. Follow me to view each week’s prompt posted on a Sunday.

Something Creative to Ponder About

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* N.B. I am not a tertiary qualified Art teacher and don’t purport to be one. I have based this information on my own research and experience. I am happy to take on board further input and or any corrections, deemed necessary, by way of comments on this post.
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Sorbian Inspiration – Traditional Tuesday

In 1734, South-eastern Prussia a guild was founded for the blue and Schönfärber crafts, wherein linen, and in later years cotton fabrics, were printed using a particular indigo blue dye and a resist process.Kornaehren.jpg

History and Development

Although Blaudruck or Blueprint fabric design is highly parochial and a traditional folk art, rather than existing on a commercial level,  the ideas and inspiration for this form of textile design, had its roots in the wider art forms of the eighteenth century. Peasants from Cottbus and Lusatia were influenced by elaborate tapestries, expensive furnishings and blue and white porcelain styles  they saw in around them during the 18th century. Blueprint then developed into a cottage industry of hand-woven linen fabrics, made by the rural population, and then dyed predominantly in indigo blue but occasionally in red or yellow.

For many handcrafts, as well as Blaudruck, industrialization spelled the end of most blue printing workshops and only a handful remained to carry on this craft.

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The Process

The color is transferred directly to the fabric surface and appears first as brown. After drying, the material is placed in a developing bath, in which the brown ink changes to a bright blue by a chemical reaction. The fabric is finally boiled, pressed and then ready for use. Printing must be done very carefully, as errors can not be corrected. This craft process is a further development of the original reserve print and is used when a blue pattern is to be created on a white background.

It is a dyeing process, not a printing process as the color is transferred directly to the fabric surface and initially appears brown. After drying, the material is then placed on racks in a developing bath, and a chemical reaction turns the brown ink to a bright blue. Lastly, the fabric is  boiled and pressed before it is ready for use. The fabric is hung on an iron frame in layers and dipped into a deep ‘Färbebottich,’ or vat.

An alternative process can create a similar blue colored fabric using a form of etching using a corrosive substance (etching), which also leads to a white pattern on a blue background.

blaudruck.jpg

Motifs

The ornamental motifs and patterns that are used, in Blueprint textiles, are some of the oldest known patterns used in textile design. Florals, perpetual borders and Christianity motifs were popular themes and clearly an integral part of folk’s lives.

“Blueprint” have been used to decorate such items as tablecloths, pillowcases, curtains, and wall hangings.Even in clothing fashion, it was used as as an element of  ethnic minority from the Lusatian region. Aprons, in particular are printed with different patterns on the front and back

Read more here.

Rosemaling traditional art
Something to Ponder About

Blueprint textile design is something I will be pondering more about.

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Traditional Tuesday – Gzhel Porcelain

gzhel
Plate in Gzhel style Source: http://tinyurl.com/h27u6pk

Around 1800, the Russian artisan brothers Kulikov, from the region of Gzhel, near Moscow in Russia, perfected a secret porcelain technique that was only previously used in China. It must have been difficult to keep that secret as it wasn’t too long before others from the area also began producing porcelain, and by 1917, one factory in Gzhel, produced 2/3 of all the porcelain in Russia and was the largest porcelain factory in Europe.

Source: Ebay mQybo9IAygpoAZFe6-HQ0Ag

In Russia, the tradition of Gzhel porcelain continues today with a strikingly beautiful and traditional form of tableware and decorative porcelain, that is appreciated throughout the world.

Russian handicrafts: Gzhel porcelain factory near Moscow – In Russian!

The Gzhel Paint Technique

“Painting is made by special cobalt paints which is put on the raw un-glazed porcelain pieces. Then the painted products are burnt in the high-temperature ovens. As a result of burning the cobalt painting, almost black before burning, becomes bright and vivid blue. Then the products are coated with glaze and are burnt at second time. This technique allows to protect painting  very well.”

Source: http://russian-crafts.com/crafts-history/gzhel-style-porcelain.html

The depth and variety in colour value in Gzhel painting is achieved only with the brush technique and the pressure of the bristles on the surface.

Tours of the Gzhel factory can be arranged for visitors. Paint your own masterpiece of Gzheli. As I won’t be in Moscow anytime soon, I decided to try out a little Gzhel on simple white cardstock. These motifs are quite easy to achieve for the beginner painter or folk artist. Pinterest has loads of inspirational photos.

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If you’re able to master some basic folk art techniques,  you might design a small sample of Gzhel art to enjoy for yourself.

What do you think? Is this traditional art form really something to ponder about?

Rosemaling traditional art
Something to Ponder About

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Traditional Art – Boleslawiec Stoneware

The Polish Pottery Festival in Boleslawiec, Poland celebrates a tradition of ceramic pottery dating back to the 14th century. Largely unknown in some parts of the world, it has become a sought after souvenir by tourists visiting the German-Czech border region. In this month’s Traditional Art Post, I explore Bolesławiec (pronounced Bowl-e-swa-vee-etz) stoneware.

linktopoland_boleslawiec-swieto-ceramiki
Polish Pottery Festival in Bolesławiec

 

Using a fine, white kaolin clay found in the river basins of the surrounding area, Boleslawiec pottery is molded or turned, and then fired in ovens, at temperatures in excess of 1350°C with a clear, lead-free glaze, thus making it non-toxic and highly impervious to abrasives. Incredibly, it doesn’t chip or crack easily and can not only be used in the oven or microwave, but is also dishwasher safe!!  The perfect stoneware!!!

boleslaw

Traditional Boleslawiec patterns were punched using hand-stencils,  originally using vegetables such as the humble potato. [Remember doing this kind of stamping in kindergarten art?]

This was the preferred decorative design standard for hundreds of years until the master potter, Johann Gottlieb Altman, introduced designs of circles, dots, scales and clover leaves in the early 1830’s.  The colorful and durable work of arts on white backgrounds appealed to the European nobility and as a result, Boleslawiec’ popularity grew.

Today, the contemporary ‘Unikat’ series has taken Boleslawiec ceramic design to a whole new level. With ever more complicated motifs, patterns and colours, and complemented by hand-painting techniques, this means a finished piece of Boleslawiec pottery will now easily command a high price in the marketplace.

Tradycyjna-polska-ceramika-z-Boleslawca

The fine grain white clay, Kaolin, is of such high quality, it is used to make fine porcelain dishes as well. Once processed to the right consistency it begins its metamorphosis from earth to heirloom quality stoneware. Either molded or formed on a potter’s wheel, the piece is air-dried, trimmed and cleaned, then pre-burnt in preparation for the application of the final design. Originally stamped or “punched” using vegetables, the artists’ tools have evolved to longer lasting media like sea sponges or rubber stamps. This time-consuming process may require from one to ten different sized or shaped stencils to fill the ceramic’s surface design.  Moreover, the number of punches may reach into the thousands on a particular piece. The paints used are completely non-toxic, free of lead and cadmium. Source: http://neveradulldayinpoland.com/boleslawiec-poland-aka-polish-pottery-heaven/

Boleslawiecpottery

Stamped pottery decorations with the famous “eye of the peacock’s tail” motif have been produced since the beginning of the 19th century and are recognized among the finest examples of European pottery. Village craftsmen and peasants of lower Silesia, inspired by the peacock’s feather motif, have added incredible strength and beauty to these objects, which have long been admired for their quality and decorative appeal. Each piece is hand painted and initialed/signed by skilled artisans. 

 

boleslawiec talerze wzory

In 1897, the Professional School of Ceramics was established in Bolesławiec.  The many technological advances and innovative methods taught helped town of Bolesławiec to earn the reputation, “town of good clay” in the region.

However, World War II took its toll on the Bolesławiec ceramics industry. The ceramic workshops were destroyed. In 1946, efforts began to revive the ceramics industry in Bolesławiec. Over time, new cooperatives were formed and the skilled and talented potters in the region began rebuilding the pottery industry in Bolesławiec to what it is today. Source: (http://www.polishstoneware.com/about_polish_pottery/sec_polish_pottery_history/)

 

Traditional art is always something so inspiring to ponder about.

Rosemaling traditional art
Something to Ponder About

 

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Easter Eggs – Traditional Art in Eastern Europe

Eggs are given as gifts around Easter time in many countries, but they are not always made of chocolate. In Eastern Europe, egg decorating is taken to a heightened art form, using real hen’s eggs.

Kraslice eggs from httpforeignholidays.net

Some of the methods include the batik dye method whereby the entire egg is wrapped in several knots made of wires, and then brushed with wax. As with the typical tie dye method, the surface is scratched to reveal the underlying colors, which forms the pattern. Materials used include bee’s wax, straw and watercolors. Some eggs are also made from purely natural materials, including clay, wood, twigs, straw and even linen.

In the Czech Republic, Easter typically means the heralding of spring because any religious connotations were buried under the table with communism. Even though Easter is by no means a huge or significant religious holiday in the Republic, the traditions of hand painting the eggs are strong and vibrant. By far the most recognizable patterns are the geometric ones, especially in various shades of the same color, but you’ll also see leaves and flowers and other patterns like snowflakes. Red and other bright colors are thought to symbolize joy and happiness, so many Easter eggs are decked in these, especially with the advent of spring.

Many regions in the Czech Republic have acquired certain specialties when it comes to decorating the Easter egg: in Valassko (Wallachia), eggs are decked in certain colors to depict roosters (red, orange and black). In South Moravia, Easter eggs make use of the scratching (tie dye) technique. Because these eggs were actually given as gifts, it was unthinkable to give someone pure white eggs without any thought or effort behind them.

 

In Prague, a shop called Manufaktura, was created to preserve and present Czech and Moravian craft which is in danger of disappearing nowadays. The shop has managed to bring together more than 250 small craftsmen, former masters of folk production, to ensure that this tradition stays

Source: http://butterflydiary.com/in-the-czech-republic-easter eggshand-painted-easter-eggs-as-art-form/

Here is how one girl recounts this tradition of swapping a whipping for a highly prized and decorated egg:

Me and my sister used to love making kraslice either from boiled or blown eggs using different techniques – bee’s wax, hay, watercolours, onion peels and picture stickers. And Mom the gingerbread lamb. There was no lie-in on Easter Monday, as boys would come carolling to our door from early morning. They would recite an Easter carol, asking for an egg, while symbolically whipping us, the girls, on the legs with a pomlázka (literally ‘making younger’) – willow braided whip. The pagan tradition being that willow twigs are supposed to bring health and youth to anyone who is whipped with them. Boys would either make their own pomlázkas or buy them in shops.

A saying goes that if you are not whipped by a pomlázka, you will dry up and wilt away within a year. We would then reward the boys with painted eggs and tie a ribbon around their pomlázkas (the older ones would also get a shot of liquor). If the boy chose a red painted egg, it meant he fancied you. There is a time limit of midday for boys to be allowed to knock on your door, if they come later than 12 o’clock, girls can douse them with water.

The magic of Great Nights somehow evaporated in my early teens when Easter traditions suddenly became embarrassing and the logic of labouring over an egg to give to someone who whips you incomprehensible. I know that my Mom has made her kraslice this year again and there is a pomlázka in the house for Dad to make her and my sisters ‘younger’. As I myself get older and drier each year, perhaps I wouldn’t mind being whipped a little again 😀

Source: https://bohemianconnection.wordpress.com/tag/czech-republic/

Eggs are also found in traditional designs from Opoczno, Opatow, Opole, and other regions of Poland.

Hand painted egg from Opole
Hand painted egg from Opole
traditional designs on eggs - Opoczno
traditional designs on eggs – Opoczno

 

Something to Ponder About this Eastertime

bird
Community

Travel theme: Fabric

Traveling to different places in the world gives me an excuse to investigate folk traditions in fabric design. Something I find incredibly inspirational when it comes to designing my own artwork. Fabric and furnishings can also reflect the cultural and historical nuances and traditions of a region.

Norwegian embroidery and weaving

IMG_3620 (Small)

Where would you find a beautiful fabric motif like this, but Innsbruck?!

fabric innsbruck

Hardanger embroidery on a cafe curtainhardanger embroidery

Norway is a country, where you will find many original and distinctive fabrics in many different forms.

Click on each individual photo to see a larger version

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Norwegian National dress

If you have some fabric that you have discovered in your travels, post a link to your blog or join in with Ailsa’s photographic travel theme challenge.

 

Something to Ponder About

 

cupboard dengamleby
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A Visual Feast for the Eyes- Ornate – WPC

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ornate.”

A visual feast for the eyes?

Some may say it is overworked, a sensory overload, yet in historic or religious terms, one can see that the designers wanted to transform material objects, into something ornate in such a way  as to exemplify glory, or divinity, with a fantasy of shapes, colours, and golden embellishments, for the congregation and secular visitors for many generations, to enjoy.

Ettel Monastery

above Innbruck

 

Stordal Church in Norway

stordalchurchsml

Austrian Church Nave

Ettel.

It is not only in medieval European churches one find ornate works of art; furniture and homely objects may also be embellished in an ornate way.

Oriental Cupboard in Denmarkcupboard dengamleby

Dutch Hindeloopen artwork104_0438 104_0465Something visual to ponder about

Painting

WP Photograpy Challenge Monochrome Art Project

Wedgwood and Sons, produce Wedgwood, fine china, porcelain, and luxury accessories. The company was founded on 1 May 1759, by Josiah Wedgwood.

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It is not my favourite thing but I do admire the artistry in its production. I used wedgwood and the Moravian designs frrom the Czech Republic for inspiration for this jewellery box.

A simple monochrome palette can look effective on a blue background.

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Linking to WordPress Daily Post Photography challenge
Monochromatic<a href="http://Monochromatic“>http://Monochromatic

Acrylic on pine
Pattern Available (free shipping)
Are you a fan of monochrome designs? If so, why?

Something  to Ponder About

Australia, Environment, Painting, Traditional Art

Spotlight on Traffic Lights – Traditional Art – July

This month the ‘ Traditional Art’ feature depicts a contemporary phenomenon that has quickly turned to an established tradition in modern, suburban Australia:

Decorated Traffic Signal Control Boxes

A boring, metal-grey ‘signal box’ that controls the traffic lights is just that – boring and sterile. Add a little imagination and a group of unemployed art students and a phenomenon  of community art is born.

traffic (2)

Traffic light(3)

What is more, tenders for this community art project are called annually, by the municipal council authority. This has evolved to become a fantastic way for struggling artists to earn extra income, or, alternatively, for the councils to engage enthusiastic volunteers in the community.

Trafficpic

The variety of designs and local artistic ‘input’ is admirable.  A brightly coloured signal box, of course, is better visually and aesthetically, than the cold, grey metal box. One could even develop a collection of  photos documenting each box  to form a themed picture story of one’s travels!

traffic light control boxes

It might be a little distracting to drivers, when waiting for the traffic lights to change at an intersection, however, it chases away the boredom and keeps one from the temptation of checking the mobile phone!

Some  traffic box murals even tell a story pertinent to the street/area.

traffic (3)

Rosemaling traditional art

Traditional Art Forms – the diversity of themes of the new traditions is –

Something to Ponder About.