Archive for May, 2010

To have and to hold – Teapots

Posted in TEAPOTS - A HOMAGE TO UNUSUAL TEAPOTS with tags , , , , on May 23, 2010 by echostains


a very strokeable teapot

It’s been quite a while since I featured  some teapots on my blog, so here’s a few more unusual ones I have come across.  The first unusual one is made of fur.  I have already done a post about Merritt Oppenheimer and her iconic fur cup and saucer (here).  I have absolutely no information about this teapot apart from the obvious fact that it is made of what looks like black fur which does look real (and most likely is).  I like the tactile qualities of the piece very much. 

knitting yarn teapot

Yet another teapot with no information to go on apart from the obvious reference to knitting.  I really like the design and glazes to this pot, which has been well planned and thought out.  A very unusual piece of ceramic indeed. 

I was torn between 3 very different pieces to include (one being a bird’s nest teapot), but decided to go with this other birds nest one because I really like everything about it.  The colours and the glaze are sympathetic to the subject matter and there is something so countrified and pleasing about it.  I like the speckled eggs in the nest drawing – and I probably would like whatever is on the finial – but I can’t make out what it is! 

birds nest teapot

knitting needle teapot here 

Sculptural teapot here 

birds nest here

Don’t forget to check out my BLOG SPOTLIGHT  post here!

Nature’s Copy

Posted in PAST PLACES, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 22, 2010 by echostains

Simulacra (plural) or simulacrum  is an archaic term for a ‘likeness’ or a similarity.  It can be used as ‘representation’ in an art form like a statue  or painting in post modernism.  Photorealism can be termed as a form of artistic simulacrum,  or where the artist is copying a photo so that the painting is a copy of a copy.

Ivy tree St Annes Holy Well Scotland

French philosopher and postmodernist Jean Baudrillard argued that the term is not a copy of the real but a form in its own right. He sums it up in four  ‘realities’; 1. Truth in its own right – a reflection of reality, 2. a perversion of reality, 3. pretense of reality (where the model doesn’t exist) 4. simulacrum – that which bears no relation to any reality whatsoever.

doctored or natural?

doctored or natural?

The simulacra that I am interested in is an imitation of a recognised reality in nature.  See kirstyfliesfree ‘s wonderful photograph to see how this works in nature.  Trees in particular lend their form to the human body shape. Sometimes they can make you stop in your tracks……

Escaping criticism by Caso

Trompe l’oeil an original Baroque term literally mean ‘trick the eye’, it is an optical illusion like this painting by Caso which shows a boy climbing out of his framed painting.   Trompe l’oeil is usually reserved for vista’s: beautiful views from mythical windows, but false bookcases, interesting perspectives, and murals.

old man rock

In prehistoric times recognised natural forms would be seen as Gods incarnate – and it’s easy to see why our ancestors were awe-struck.  Fantastic  natural simulacrum occurs all around the world – and this gallery has an extensive range of images.  It’s hard to remain stoney faced whilst looking at them:)  I wonder if that’s where that term came from?

“Simulacrum (plural: -cra), from the Latin simulacrum which means “likeness, similarity”, is first recorded in the English language in the late 16th century,
used to describe a representation of another thing, such as a statue or
a painting, especially of a god; by the late 19th century, it had
gathered a secondary association of inferiority: an image without the
substance or qualities of the original………”

Don’t forget to check out my BLOG SPOTLIGHT  post here! 

This  site has some wonderful examples of natural simulacrum
St Anne’s Holy well image here
Trompe l’oeil information here
Maybe photoshopped image from here

Art for Arts sake?

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, exhibitions with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2010 by echostains

 Unbelievable that 6 important pieces of art have been stolen from the  Museum of  Modern Art in Paris!  How fine is the security of these buildings?  Considering the priceless works of art they house – sadly not good enough it seems to keep greedy thieves out.   The crime is estimated to have taken place at  6.50 am Thursday.   The single masked raider struck through a reinforced glass window, though it is thought that an inside secutity lock  was also tampered with and he may have had help from an insider.

Braque landscape with olive tree

It is thought that the paintings  will be offered back at a phenomenal price later – a usual practise as these works are too well-known.  These important paintings are; by Picasso, Matisse, Leger, Braque and Modigliani.  They are estimated to be worth £430 million!

Dove with green peas Picasso

The six paintings are by Matisse, Leger, Modigliani and Picasso and are important pieces.  they are estimated to be worth  around £430 million! 

matisse detail La Pastorale' 1905

 The paintings stolen were Pigeon with Green Peas by Picasso; Pastoral by Henri Matisse; The Olive Tree near Estaque by Georges Braque; The Woman with the Fan by Amedeo Modigliani ; and Still Life with Chandeliers by Fernand Leger. 

The six paintings are by Matisse, Leger, Modigliani and Picasso and are important pieces.  they are estimated to be worth  around £430 million!  The paintings stolen were Pigeon with Green Peas an important early piece of cubism by Picasso; Pastoral, a plein air painting by Henri Matisse in his Fauvist period. 

still life with candlestick by Fernand Leger detail

 The Olive Tree near Estaque by Georges Braque who was inspired by Cezanne and developed his own Fauvist style as well as inventing  cubism with Picasso. 

 The Woman with the Fan by Expressionist Amedeo Modigliani  and Still Life with Chandeliers by Fernand Leger who became a leading member of the cubist movement in 1912.   The theft is thought to be the biggest Art Heist ever.

Modigliani Woman with fan

Braque image from here, Modigliani here, Leger here
Read about the biggest art heists in history here  more images from here


Don’t forget to check out my BLOG SPOTLIGHT  post here!

Where do I go? Down the River of course!

Posted in ART, Echostains Blog Spotlight, SCULPTURE with tags , , , , , on May 20, 2010 by echostains


Billy Childish is just one of the artists featured on my blog

Billy Childish is just one of the artists featured on my blog


Anyone who already reads my blog will find it an eclectic mix of mostly art’s based media.  I have many interests, which I haven’t even put into my blog.  – music for example.  That would take up a whole other blog.  But where do I go to in Blogland when I want to get away from it all and have a good time? If you look at my Blog roll you will see at a glance.  But why do I go to these blogs?   Why do I like them?  What do I get from them? 


Echostains Blog Spotlight

Echostains Blog Spotlight


 As hinted at a few weeks ago, I shall be spotlighting these blogs every now and again by interviewing their owners (if they are willing, there’s no obligation).  If you have been reading my blog regularly you will know that I don’t accept awards.  I’ve nothing against them – I am rewarded by people who take the time to read my blog daily and thoughtfully comment.  The Echostains Blog Spotlight is the nearest I get to giving an award.  I hope that you will enjoy these blogs as much as I do! 

The first spotlight is on Albertus from artistatexit0  I can’t remember how I stumbled upon this blog – but I’m so glad I did!  The link was through assemblage and artists who work with assembling objects.  However, Al’s work is much more than this.  I like to go there to see what he has been up to on the River – what he has found and more importantly – what he has done with them.  His scuptures are unusual and ephemeral – here today and gone tomorrow, washed away by the river.  They are born from the river – and they die by the river.   Luckily for us, he has documented their existance with a fantastic photo collection!
1.  Why is your blog thus entitled?

My blog derives its title from the literal highway exit number that I use to arrive at the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana which is across from my home in Louisville, Kentucky.  I also like its existential overtones and it sounds slightly absurd to me.


Ohio River map

Ohio River map


 2.  What is your blog about and what information do you hope to get across?

After one year, I’m still discovering what the riverblog is all about through this sense for place.  Generally, it concerns itself with creativity and the natural environment of which we are a part.  I believe that art has survival value in life (see Ellen Dissanayake) and I feel by rediscovering our own innate creativity in all its forms that we can reconnect to the planet that sustains us.  This blog is my own story and attempt to forge this reconciliation.


 3. Whats the most exciting thing you have found in the river – and why?

Personally, the most exciting “thing” I have found in the river is myself!  I know this sounds odd and perhaps egotistical, but the discovery was a renewed sense of my purpose and role as an artist in this context.  To further affirm this, I once found a sign fragment that literally had my name on it.  I entitled that artifact, “I Found Al by the Side of the River” and its still one of my prize possessions.  My son Michael was with me and snapped my photograph at the moment of discovery.  A picture of it is in my “Found Signs and Paintings Collection”.

(You knew then that you were indeed in sinc with that river:)  I shall check that pic out!)



 4. How did your fascination start with the river and its contents?

I have been lucky to have lived near bodies of fresh water.  For me, the Ohio River was already in my proverbial back yard.  My art has been informed by both natural and cultural history.  Our material culture deposited in the river represents the journey we all take through life.  I also drink this water.

 5. Why did you start your blog?

I had been looking for a format that allowed me to provide a better relational sense for what I’m experimenting with at the river.  Through the blog, I can use whatever talents I have with words and images to talk about art in the context of life.  I now view weblogs as a medium in their own right.  Putting my art on the web helped to relieve it from the isolation of the gallery.  I also have a passion for this sense of place that is the Falls of the Ohio that I wanted to share with a wider world.



polystyrenus-with-fish. image courtesy of


 6. What would you most like to find in the river and why?

What I would like most to find is no trash in the water.  Should this condition occur, I would then feel that our species is evolving and placing a priority on aesthetic issues like clean water which truly enhances life in the most meaningful way.  I also would like to find an artifact that proves Prince Madoc was here just to say that recorded history isn’t all its cracked up to be.

(lol! but a lovely sentiment Al)

 7. Whats’ your best adventure concerning the river?

There are simply too many to list.  I do recall, however, an early incident in the park that felt transcendental like the “St. Francis in Ecstasy” by Giovanni Bellini in the Frick Collection of New York.  I was hiking on the ancient fossil beds during the heat of summer and I was looking towards the skyline of a contemporary city and feeling a sublime sense for being located at this particular space and time.  When I looked at my hands I was lacking stigmata and more than likely was suffering from some slight dehydration! 

 8. If you could advertise your blog on a billboard – what would it say?

Usually, I’m not fond of billboards.  We already live in a wilderness of signs.


Louisville from the Falls,  image courtesy of http://artistatexit0.wordpress

Louisville from the Falls, image courtesy of http://artistatexit0.wordpress


 9.  Anything exciting planned for the future of your blog?

I have a lot of unpublished content that I could scan and include on the riverblog.  I have been with this project since 2003 and I like the idea of moving back and forth through time in a nonlinear way.  Only I know when these events happened as though that really mattered to most people. Most of my Styrofoam sculptures no longer exist and so these other images are my only surviving documents. I also like the idea of speaking more through an invented character and then there’s also the possibility of embedding video clips.  I   have more Collections pages to add…so there’s much that could still occur whether this qualifies as exciting I leave to you.

(I love these characters!  They are an added bonus!  The video clips would be fantastic, people could get a real sense of the river rushing and share the excitement of your discoveries!!  Hope you go with this!)






image by kind  courtesy of

image by kind courtesy of



10 Why should people visit your blog?

Why indeed?  I hope that most conscientious bloggers ask themselves this question.  I hope people will enjoy what I do because it’s fun, interesting, frequently absurd, and just doesn’t hold a mirror up to the world decrying it, but offers up a little hope for it. You tell me Lynda since you initiated this interview!

(I have Al, it’s at the top:)   Some really interesting answers there – thank you!)



Watch out for more interviews from my Blogrollers:)  Questions shall be tailored towards the blogs subject  matter)

Map from here


Discovered and uncovered – Emma Hack

Posted in ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED, ART VIDEOS with tags , , , on May 19, 2010 by echostains
find the model...

find the model...

I’ve only just discovered Australian artist, 37-year-old Emma Hack and already I am entranced by her work.  Emma describes herself as a Diverse multimedia artist, Skin illustrator, photographer and Sculptor.  She camouflages her model’s bodies by painstakingly painting them.  She then positions the model against the wallpaper then  photographs them.  See how she does this in this video.  It is worth watching through to the end to see the end results – which are amazing!

Tropical Palm with butterflies Mandela

  The designs are quite intricate and she got some of her earlier inspiration from art nouveau  designs.   The artist started out as a children’s face painter. It took her 10 hours to paint the guitar to promote the Adelaide Guitar Festival.  There are lots and lots of fabulous images on Emma Hack’s website – including the film here

Emma Hack wallpaper

 The guitar image from here (with a write-up about it.  Wallpaper image from here Flowery wallpaper with birds here

The video is by weensyweb

A Witness to a Murder

Posted in HOME, OUT AND ABOUT MANCHESTER with tags , , on May 18, 2010 by echostains

A puzzle for Sherlock Holmes

This post is not about art.   It is about a very odd experience I had the other week.  I think I was a witness to a murder.  Where I work has extensive private grounds.   At the back of the building is a huge lawn.  The time was between 9 and 10 PM and I was attending to some paperwork when I got up to have a bit of a stretch, and happened to glance out of the window.

Outside I saw the most amazing spectacle – the entire lawn was covered in Magpies!  I have never seen so many Magpies in one place at the same time.  At first I thought that they could have been mating, but when I looked more closely they seemed to be in little groups: scuffles were breaking out here and there.

Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds' film 1963

They would run together in packs quickly away from their agressors or take  flight.  It was obvious they were in small teams the way they kept togeher when they ran or flew in formation.  I watched this for some time.  They mostly walked, talked chased and one would peck at another.  After a while, I got back to what I was doing.  But when I looked again about half an hour later, the lawn was bare!  I could have kicked myself afterwards – why didn’t I get a picture on my phone?  I don’t know –  it just didn’t occur to me.  I suppose I was just too puzzled and stunned by the spectacle and by the time that it did – they had all disappeared.  Another strange thing was that there were no dead bodies behind, not a scrap of evidence!

I have combed the internet trying to throw some light on this and the nearest I can come up with is that this meeting was territorial – a kind of ‘turf’ war:).  If so, I don’t know who won.  The only thing I know is that it is one of the oddest things I have ever seen, and I do know that among other collective nouns, ‘A murder’ of  Magpies is what I witnessed!

Magpie pic from here, fablulous Sherlock Holmes image here, The Birds here

Fast Food Art

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS with tags , , on May 17, 2010 by echostains

I’m quite enjoying watching these artists painting with unusual media.  We’ve had mascara, sand and spray paint among others.  But imagine going into MacDonald’s and doing this on the table!  The painting uses 10 sachets of ketchup and a packet of fries.  The urge, motivation and talent are the artists own:)  i wonder what they do with the burger?

Behind the paint – Primavera by Botticelli

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, BEHIND THE PAINT with tags , , , , , , , on May 16, 2010 by echostains


Primavera by Botticelli

The inspiration for today’s post came from a fantastic poem by the poet Hames1977, which I urge you to read as it is truly beautiful! (here).  Sandro Botticelli was a principal painter in Florence in the latter half of the 15th century.  He was born 1444 and he lived until 1510.  His work is very lyrical and, decorative and almost feminine – which was the Florentine style.

Botticelli self portrait from the Adoration of the Magi 1476

The stamp of approval came from the famous Medici family who were his main patrons.  He accomplished lots of altarpieces, portraits, banners and allegories with literary references.  the Primavera is perhaps one of his more famous paintings.  It was painted in 1463-1503) and is said to have been commissioned by a Medici.  The term ‘Primavera’ means ‘Spring’ and it’s not only a young man’s fancy that turns to love – these gods and goddesses have the same idea and cavort with playful abandoness!

Mercury. messenger of the Gods, stands with winged boots holding back  the clouds on this scene with his caduceus entwined with snakes.

The Three Graces

Attending Venus are the Three Graces in diaphanous gowns displaying typical female Renaissance beauty with their sloping shoulders and long swanlike necks.

Flora's gown

The artist has decorated Flora’s gown with a very good imitation of embroidery and a halo of leaves surround Venus as she stands in the carpeted woods.  Cupid the God of Love flies above her, blindfolded as love is blind.  Is he aiming his arrow at the Three Graces? or is he just hovering above his mother?

The rather sinister blue figure  is the West Wind and is the ghost of Zephyrus, God of the West Wind.  He is touching his lover Chloris.

Zephyrus and Chloris

The goddess of flowers Flora strews blossoms where she treads.  With her beautiful features, her embroidered dress and her grace she symbolises the joys of marriage and is a symbol of Florence, the city. 

Venus detail

There is a strange metamorphosis taking place though.  When Zephyrus fell in love with Chloris, pursued her and took her as his bride, she was transformed into Flora. 

You will notice the flowers falling from the mouth of the nymph and onto the dress of the Goddess.  Botticelli shows the courtship – and the outcome!

Cupid, Venus Chloris and Zephyrus

The painting measures 80 x 123 1/2  in.  tempura on panel, Uffiz Florence

The ‘Primavera’ image came from here and here and here.  Botticelli self portrait from here Flora’s gown here and details here