Thursday, June 25, 2009

Artist Trading Cards

We've got Artist Trading Cards. Joumana Medlej, who wrote a primer on ATCs, says:

"As their name indicates, ATC are collectibles, a brilliant idea born of the older sports-themed trading cards. The one rule that makes an ATC derives from their origins: the dimensions of the ATC must be 2.5" x 3.5", or 64 x 89 mm."

You can use any media with ATCS, including beads, clay, and glass!

An important aspect of ATCs --
They are meant to be traded, not sold. Below the images, you can find links with info about making and trading them.

Jason and the Golden Fleece
by Overlordu

Steam Nessie
by Liz Ness

By Ian Bertram

By Denise Smeaton

Whimsical Crow
by Dana Lynn Driscoll

~ Go Make Something's ATC FAQs
~ Artist Trading Card swaps for students
~ You can find people to trade with at ATCs for All or Illustrated ATCs.
~ Here's an article with tips about hosting your own ATC exchange.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Twitter Poetry?

Now here's something you might not have heard of:

Tweet-sized poetry

Come, Let Us Give Ourselves to Dreams

A verse from A Summer Day
by Lucy Maud Montgomery


Noon, hiving sweets of sun and flower,
Has fallen on dreams in wayside bower,
Where bees hold honeyed fellowship
With the ripe blossom of her lip;
All silent are her poppied vales
And all her long Arcadian dales,
Where idleness is gathered up
A magic draught in summer's cup.
Come, let us give ourselves to dreams
By lisping margins of her streams.

Touching The Evening's Quiet Breathing

Jin Eun-Young uses words so beautifully in Long Finger Poem

Here's a little bit of it:

...Look at the tree. Like its longest branch
I touch the evening's quiet breathing.


You know why I include these little snippets sometimes? Because I don't have permission to post the whole thing. When I post the whole thing, it's because the poem is in the public domain (because it is old) or I've gotten permission from the poet.

An Exchange Between the Fingers and the Toes

An excerpt of An Exchange between the Fingers and the Toes
by John Fuller

Cramped, you are hardly anything but fidgets.
We, active, differentiate the digits:
Whilst you are merely little toe and big
(Or, in the nursery, some futile pig)
Through vital use as pincers there has come
Distinction of the finger and the thumb;
Lacking a knuckle you have sadly missed
Our meaningful translation to a fist;

You can read the rest here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Wonderland of Paper Mache

Paper mache art by Rachael DiRenna this week. If you'd like to try your hand at paper (or papier) mache, you can find info about getting started here.

by Rachael DiRenna

Sea Maid
by Rachael DiRenna

by Rachael DiRenna

by Rachael DiRenna

by Rachael DiRenna

Friday, June 12, 2009


Translating Pushkin

Famed Russian writer Aleksandr Pushkin (1799-1837) wrote a poem that I'm going to spotlight this week. It demonstrates the challenges of translating poetry. I'll include the first three verses of several versions. What's your favorite?


I still recall the wondrous moment
When you appeared before my eyes,
Just like a fleeting apparition,
Just like pure beauty’s distillation.

When I languished in the throes of hopeless grief
Amid the troubles of life’s vanity,
Your sweet voice lingered on in me,
Your dear face came to me in dreams.

Years passed. The raging, gusty storms
Dispersed my former reveries,
And I forgot your tender voice,
Your features so divine.


I can't forget this blessed vision,
In front of me you stood my love,
Like instant moment of decision,
Like spirit beauteous from above.

Through languor, through despair and sorrow,
Through clamor and through restless space,
I heard your voice from night till morrow
And dreamt and dreamt of darling face.

The years of storm compel surrender,
Dispel and scattered dream of mine,
And I have lost your voice so tender
And face so heavenly divine.
Translated by Balanchin.


I remember a wonderful moment
As before my eyes you appeared,
Like a vision, fleeting, momentary,
Like a spirit of the purest beauty.

In the torture of hopeless melancholy,
In the bustle of the world's noisy hours,
That voice rang out so tenderly,
I dreamed of that lovely face of yours.

The years flew quickly. The storm's blast
Scattered the dreams of former times,
And I forgot your tender voice,
And the features of your heavenly face.


A magic moment I remember:
I raised my eyes and you were there,
A fleeting vision, the quintessence
Of all that's beautiful and rare

I pray to mute despair and anguish,
To vain the pursuits world esteems,
Long did I near your soothing accents,
Long did I your features haunt my dreams.

Time passed. A rebel storm-blast scattered
The reveries that once were mine
And I forgot your soothing accents,
Your features gracefully divine.


I recollect that wondrous meeting,
That instant I encountered you,
When like an apparition fleeting,
Like beauty's spirit past you flew.

Long since, when hopeless grief distressed me,
When noise and turmoil vexed, it seemed
Your voice still tenderly caressed me,
Your dear face sought me as I dreamed.

Years passed; their stormy gusts confounded
And swept away old dreams apace.
I had forgotten how you sounded,
Forgot the heaven of your face.
Translated by Walter Arndt


Yes! I remember well our meeting
When first thou dawnedst on my sight,
Like some fair phantom past me fleeting,
Some nymph of purity and light.

By weary agonies surrounded,
`Mid toil, `mid mean and noisy care,
Long in mine ear thy soft voice sounded,
Long dream'd I of thy features fair.

Years flew; Fate's blast blew ever stronger,
Scattering mine early dreams to air,
And thy soft voice I heard no longer -
No longer saw thy features fair.
Translated by Thomas B. Shaw

You can find more Pushkin poems here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Foolery Shines Everywhere

Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun,
it shines everywhere.
~ William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Jesters have greatly inspired artists, as you can see from this week's selection of fools.

Old World Jester & Painted Old World Jester
By Kathie Briggs

By Michele Jones

Friends In Council
by John Dawson Watson

Dancing Jester
By Sandi Carpenter

I totally love this painting. The expression on his face is wonderful! But I don't know who it is by. Tell me if you know.
Update: Thanks to Johny, I found out that the artist is Jan Matejko and it is called Stanczyk.

The Fool
By Heinrich Vogtherr, 1513-1568

More jesters:

~ Victor Issa's sculpture The Jester
~ The Chess Jester by Joanne Taylor
~ The Green Jester by Maxfield Parrish
~ Indonesian Jester Puppets at the Museum of Folly
~ Warrior Kings and Divine Jesters: Indonesian Rod Puppets, a lesson plan by the Smithsonian
~ How to draw a sinister jester.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Where is Poetry Concealed?

By Taha Muhammad Ali,
translated from the Arabic by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi and Gabriel Levin

Poetry hides
behind the night of words
behind the clouds of hearing,
across the dark of sight,
and beyond the dusk of music
that's hidden and revealed.
But where is it concealed?
And how could I
possibly know
when I am barely able,
by the light of day,
to find my pencil?

You can hear this poem in Arabic at PBS's Arts Desk

PBS also offers a song-poem maker (You provide the lyrics, they provide the music).Be careful, though -- I typed my song directly into it and mine got erased pretty easily. Make sure you have another copy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

For Every Day of the Year

If human beings had genuine courage, they'd wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween.
~ Doug Coupland

The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a terrific site. Check out the collection highlights. Here are a couple from that collection:
Court Dress, ca. 1750

Dress, Evening, 1969–1970
Yves Saint Laurent, Paris
Made of silk and bird-of-paradise feathers

Venice Carnival, Italy, 1994
From "Venice: More Than a Dream," February 1995, National Geographic magazine
Photograph by Sam Abell

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: Boots for Reading William Blake
By Catherine Heard

By Roger Baranowski

Art Gallery Costumes
By Windell H. Oskay

The Evil Mad Scientist site shows you how a group can dress as a modern art exhibit. They offer some good alternative ideas, such as "Have everyone dress up with a blank canvas and carry colored ink squirt guns. You can all go as Jackson Pollock's studio."

~ Venetian Carnival costumes blow me away. Here are some more photos of them.
~ Want to see some amazing (expensive) costumes that are available for rental?
~ Trying to figure out what someone would have worn during a certain time period? Check out the Costume Gallery Research Library.