Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lady Carpenter

"Miss Connie Wade (Lady Carpenter) at work at the exhibition. The women greatly admired her handicrafts." Vintage Photopress photograph from the National Women's Institutions Handicrafts Exhibitions at the New Horticultural Hall, dated 10-11-1932. In honor of Women's History Month. Cheers My Dears, Marjorie

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Number One Son

When he was age two we took him to his first Chinese restaurant named "The Golden Dragon". After the meal, he enthusiastically proclaimed "Yum. This was so good, it must be dragon!" Ever since he has been intrigued by all things Asian. Always a curious and independent boy, his undergraduate engineering research project was designing and making a wave machine.

Soon after graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, he was off to the Far East, and has not looked back since. First there was a master's degree from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; this was followed by a stint on a Chinese research vessel in the South China Sea, and then a summer as a computer support engineer at a remote scientific base in Antarctica.

He currently resides in Shanghai, and works across Asia in the weather and water monitoring fields.

You may have guessed where I'm going with this. A few days ago, the telephone rang here at 4:30 in the morning. It was Mark. He spoke to my husband saying "Do Not let Mom turn on the television until I speak with you first!" He was, and is, in Tokyo, Japan. He had just gotten off a train, and was standing in a parking lot when the earth began to tremble. He went down on his knees until it ceased, and then walked 4 hours back to his hotel. He keeps emailing me that he is okay, but he fears most for some of his Japanese colleagues.

I pray for my brave boy, and all the brave sons, daughters, moms and dads of that beautiful country.

Please bring them all home safely,

Friday, March 4, 2011

Norwegian Arts and Crafts Book Papers

One day many years ago, while visiting Norway, I wandered into a small bookshop in the old part of Oslo. There on a long table were stacks of patterned papers. I soon learned that these were from the workshop of the famous Norwegian bookbinder and book artist H.M. Refsum.

Refsum worked in Kristiania (later called Oslo) from the mid 19th to the early 20th century. A master bookbinder in leather, but he really seemed to excel at decorating paper, which he used as endpapers, and also to cover books.

He employed a number of familiar paper printing techniques, such as


Woodblock or Linoleum Printing,

and Stencilling.

But he also experimented with texture,


Finger Painting,

and other techniques to manipulate the paints and ink on the surface of the paper.
His color palette and aesthetic seem to have been greatly influenced by the natural history of his native country, for example Reindeer Moss, the fjords, mountains, and the

Marine Environment - coral, sea urchins and jelly fish.

In the field of Book Arts, H.M. Refsum might be to Norway, what William Morris was to Great Britain.

A hundred years later his decorative papers still look fresh and modern.

Loving Refsum's turn-of-the-century take on sixties' tie-dye,