Rosemaling art
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Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Practice

cold fish
Guitarists often practise daily out of sheer joy

Developing Muscle Memory for Photography

Who would have thought muscle memory had anything to do with photography? Scott Bourne explains that, just like musical ability, practising with one’s camera is vital in aiming for that perfect shot, or lots more perfect shots! Scott explains:

During the pandemic, I am practising my modal scales on the guitar every day and I am handling my camera every day. I see the benefits right in front of me. Both my musical ability and my photographic ability have improved. If you do not use them, you will lose them.

So give this a try. Grab your camera and your camera manual. Open any random page in the manual and then whatever it describes, do that with the camera. Not only will your muscle memory improve, your knowledge of your specific camera will improve and then all that stuff will simply go away and drift into the background while you use all your brain’s conscious processing power to SEE and compose the next great image.

https://picturemethods.com/

What do you practise?

For me, I practise my art techniques – that is: painting and drawing and blogging, of course.

I can never produce anything of substance, if I do it once every three months or so. If I do it daily, or as often as I can, – I notice a HUGE improvement in my skills. I paint in a particular form of traditional Norwegian and Dutch art, called Rosemaling and Hindeloopen style. I have been practising this for many years, on and off.

I transfer the painted articles to custom print on demand fabrics and merchandise as a hobby.

Lately, I have also experimented with a Japanese/Chinese technique painting bamboo forms with a soft brush.

Norwegian rosemaling art
Norwegian Tine or Lunch box in Rosemaling

Don’t let your skills languish. Keep them sharp with practice, either in or out of home.

rosemaling tutorial
Painting Telemark scrolls with a flat brush

Weekly Photo Theme – Practice

This week for Friendly Friday, I challenge you to show me your interpretation of the theme “Practice,” in photographs.

Dutch Traditional Art Called Hindeloopen

Photographs in mobile, SLR, or point and shoot are all acceptable formats.

What are you practising with your camera’s eye?

Composition, Exposure, Shutter Speed, Subjects?

Perhaps it was something you practised in your past?

Music, Sports, Art or Public Speaking? Post something from your photographic archives, perhaps?

Experimenting with Japanese Bamboo painting

Instructions for Joining the Friendly Friday Challenge

Friendly Friday Instructions in detail

Do include a pingback and leave a comment here with a link, so all readers can find your post! I look forward to seeing what posts you come up with for this week’s prompt.

Sandy will post the next weekly prompt. Stop by and see what she comes up with next Friday.

Hallingdal Rosemaling
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Traditional Art – DIY Hallingdal Rosemaling

Norwegian Rosemaling is the style of traditional painting very popular in parts of America, where it is a favoured style of interior decorating, especially amongst those folk with Scandinavian heritage.

Each region, or ‘fylke’, in Norway, developed its own individual interpretation of traditional Rosemaling style and design, which initially appeared around the 18th century.

Hallingdal style on a cupboard in Geilo

History of Rosemaling

As early as the 17th century, itinerant painters brought new ideas and artistic trends from the cities of Europe into the mountains and Valleys of rural Norway, painting Renaissance and Baroque motifs on the walls of the wooden Norwegian Stave churches.

The relative geographic isolation in the Hallingdal, Telemark and Vest Agder provinces led to further development and evolution of this peasant folk art form into a highly distinctive and unique art.

Reaching its zenith in Norway during the 18th century, Rosemaling was then revived by the Norwegian peoples during a fiercely Nationalistic decorating movement in the 19th and 20th centuries, following the country’s political separation from Sweden.

A similar resurgence in Norwegian traditional painting began amongst Norwegian immigrants, living in the American Midwest, in the mid to late 20th century, and this trend continues to flourish there today.

Read more here

Hallingdal style of Rosemaling

The Halling Valley, itself, is situated in an area of southern central Norway, covering towns such as Gol, Ål and Hol and this is where one finds many examples of Hallingdal Rosemaling, appreciated and loved, even today.

Elements of Halling style can be found in the Embroidery on the Norwegian women’s national costume, (called the Bunad), in Norwegian wood carving, on hanging cupboards, and on wooden objects around the Norwegian home.

Features of this Style:

  • Hallingdal Rosemaling colours: rich, varied, exuberant and strong
  • Background colours: red/orange-red, in later years, blue and green
  • Black appeared as a background colour following influences from Telemark
  • Flowers colours: – Blue, White, or Gold on Red grounds; Red and gold on blue/ green backgrounds
  • Early Hallingdal Rosemaling had more floral elements; scrolls were minor. Over time, scrolls became a frame around which the flowers were placed, in order to achieve a sense of balance, either side of the design’s vertical axis. Scrolls still maintained a simplistic form, with little or no shading, and were heavier than the lyrical scrolls seen in the Telemark area
  • Motifs: symmetrical in round/rectangular design shapes, often depicted in mirror image split along the vertical axis
  • Round floral patterns could also be segmented into 4, 6 or 8 divisions, typically with blossoms of four or more petals
  • Leaves: large, often surrounding a central flower,  or mirror image split vertically
  • Design elements are sometimes filled in with fine, cross – hatched lines.
  • Flower shapes of Hallingdal are classified into 3 groups: circles, triangles or half circles.

Claudine Schatz

Circle Flowers

  • A circular centre is painted first and then concentric bands of colour added
  • Petals are added around the central circle in an even number, four or more, with petal length limited by the sectional diameter of the circle, and defined with liner work.
  • Ball flowers are circular flowers painted as a series of round balls surrounding a centre circle.

Triangular Flowers

  • Simple flowers with three petals, similar to a tulip; usually painted in strokes from the outside tip down to a base at the centre.
  • Blooms with more than three petals can have an oval centre, similar to a daisy.  Are  also combined into more elaborate and complex floral designs.
  • Triangular flower petal strokes can double as leaf forms.

Half circle Flowers

  • Usually are seen as larger elements within the Hallingdal design.
  • Comprise a semi-circular band of colour around a base.
  • Adorned with over strokes and details that illuminate the flower in a new way.
  • Half circles can also become petals of a flower form.

Leaves

Two types are seen in Hallingdal Designs

  • Stroke – work leaves, similar to the triangle flower petals
  • Shaded leaves, which are large and heavy and used in conjunction with large round central flowers. They do have some liner work stems.

Scrolls

  • Scrolls may represent leaves, but take the form of C and S shapes.
  • They are not shaded or blended in Hallingdal designs.
  • Used as a frame around flowers or as a cartouche border in a band that circles a round floral motif.
  • Painted in one colour; the light source is indicated by over strokes of white/ lighter colour on the top side of the scroll.
  • Scrolls are quite tight. They are not airy and lyrical, as in pieces seen in Telemark regions

Hallingdal Rosemaling even had some features borrowed from Oriental art forms. It was although typical in many ways, also malleable to outside influences. These characteristics overlap and interlace with other Rosemaling styles, and as such, should not be used as limits or boundaries, in one’s own Rosemaling journey, but merely to establish guidelines when one is starting to study this beautiful art form.

Free Hallingdal Rosemaling Designs

Why not get a feel for Hallingdal Rosemaling by painting or colouring in this design:

Free project

Something to Ponder About

[Parts of the description of features of Hallingdal style was taken from Rosemaling in the Round by Pat Virch, 1976] 
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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”

Forestwood
Community

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.

image

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

Forestwoodfolk
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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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Community

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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pottery
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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

 

Community

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

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.

Community

Why Make it Yourself? Travel theme – Handmade

When it comes to darning socks, almost no-one does it anymore. Cheap items and time poor couples with high disposable income,  have relegated simple repairs to low priced essentials, to the pages of history books.

Shouldn’t we be overjoyed that we are freed from the yoke of menial tasks?

If so, why do I feel relaxed when making something with my bare hands; why am I so drawn to up-cycle items where possible, or feel desperate to create an individual item that was designed and made by me even though it is not so appreciated in today’s world? I am hopeful that design trends may come full circle and a retro movement will one day re- introduce hand made objects in preference to ready made, shop- purchased, mass- produced items? Or am I just  ‘dreaming?’

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Factory made items lack the durability and quality of hand made and not only do they not last, but are sterile and you can see them duplicated in almost every home. Is this really what we want? No need to travel except to see the difference in natural landscape as no cultural individuality will exist?

Children are not taught practical hands-on skills either at school or by their overstressed, time-poor parents, so we are fast becoming a consumer in all senses, and are no longer creating. Where will this end? Do we realise fantastic one offs such as this wood carving will no longer be obtainable?IMG_20140614_204023

For these reasons, and more, I am drawn to any hand-made items on my travels. For these are items usually developed from crafts, that have evolved, in a small locale and been handed down  over many generations.  They scream workmanship, love, beautiful, naturally-synchronous ‘form’ and function. They inspire me to create  – more and more!

Ailsa’s Hand made travel theme was a no-brainer – I had to participate. How about you?

Something for our hands and brains to ponder about?

hindeloopen1

embroidery project

blog pictures 002

Community, History & Traditions, Painting, Traditional Art

Traditional Art – Polish folk art

The beauty of the traditional arts is that they are by ordinary folk, untrained and unskilled. The techniques used, are taught, from family to family, father to son, mother to daughter. Their charm and naivete belies the history, long tradition and meaning in the work.

The vibrant colours and cheery designs are a way for the peasants to brighten up their daily lives.

This month I showcase Polish Folk Art

Folk arts comprise sculpture, embroidery, painting,and pottery as well. It differs from region to region, and is sometimes very old.  A little known area for decorative flower painting is Polish folk art in the southern or Lesser, Poland.

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Zagroda Felicji Curyłowej

The Zalipie style was popularised mainly by Felicja Curyłowa (1904-1974). She was a versatile folk artist. She was asked to paint e.g. interior of the famous Kraków restaurant “Wierzynek” or the dining room on the cruise ship “Batory”. The artist’s homestead became an attraction even during her life. After her death, it was bought by Cepelia (Center of Folk and Artistic Industry) and handed to the care of the District Museum in Tarnów.

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And Old cowshed in the Felicja Curyło’s cottage, Zalipie, has been turned into an exhibition-workshop hall where paintings by local artists are presented.

Zalipie as a painted village was discovered in 1905 by Wladyslaw Hickel. He was fascinated with the local tradition of painting houses in colourful floral patterns. This custom started at the end of 19th century when old-fashioned furnaces were replaced with more modern enclosed fires and chimneys. Before that, the soot-blackened walls were only brighten with circular patches of lime mixed with wood ash but since the new furnaces with chimneys appeared, ornaments started to be more sophisticated. Women started to decorate not only interiors of their cottages but also outer walls, farm buildings, fences and even dog kennels and tree trunks.

The most talented and famous painter was Felicja Curylowa whose farmstead was turned into the museum in 1978, four years after her death. But Felicja Curylowa was well known not only in Zalipie. She also painted interiors of famous restaurant Wierzynek in Krakow. She was frequent winner of local house-painting competition that have been organized annually in Zalipie since 1965. The name of this contest is Malowana Chata (Painted Cottage) and it takes place on the first weekend after the Corpus Christi Feast. This is also the best time to visit Zalipie. Zalipie village is not an open-air museum, most of the buildings are actual functioning households. Also school, post office and church were painted in colourful flower compositions. Zalipie is a unique place to visit and there aren’t many other tourists (yet).

[Source:http://www.intopoland.com/what-to-see/local-products/zalipie-painted-village.html%5D

Traditional Art is definitely Something to Ponder About

 

History & Traditions, Traditional Art

Traditional Art forms – The Omnipresent Tulip

traditional art
Rangoli Border in South India dnikias.wordpress.com

Rogaland Rosemaling
Rogaland Rosemaling

No matter where you travel, in the world, within each region you will find examples of  innovative forms of folk art. These are not completed by the skilled artisan, but rather by the common person, often with little training and few tools, simply decorating their homes and surrounds. Historically, an itinerant artist might travel from town to town this way, painting as he went, eeking out a meagre existence through the doors of time.

stordal church Norway
The Rose or Stordal church Norway. c 1789

Rosemaling is often seen in Churches in Norway

Border in South India

Rangoli is a traditional women’s art form common in Hindu households throughout southern India. Designs are drawn directly in white chalk,on the ground, at the house entranceway, by the women of the household, as part of a ritualistic religious practice.

My primary interest is in Norwegian and old Hansa traditional art forms, such as Rosemaling, the Danish Almuemaling, and the Dutch Hindeloopen, styles of painting that ordinary folk used to decorate their homes during the dark cold days of winter when they could not go outside to work.

I find the differnt forms of these old art styles dynamic. They feel alive and have a historic connection to a way of life long past, but still valued.

Rosemaling
Norwegian Rosemaling Rosemaling

In many forms of folk art, religion symbolism is rife, and the tulip is a common feature. Once  the Tulip meant the Holy trinity, something inherent in many different religions and I guess this is the reason we see it represented in art in the East as well as the West.

The following link displays border designs in South India – Take a look. How often do you see the Tulip form?

some borders

Something Inspirational to Ponder About