Archive for the WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN Category

Legacies; Goodbye Helen Frankenhaler

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, DESIGN, HISTORY, POETRY, SCULPTURE, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2012 by echostains

On 27th December 2011, the death of New York Abstract Expressionist Helen Frankenhaler was announced (b 1928 Manhattan USA).  The artist was 83 years old when she died at her home in Darien Conn. Frankenhaler, influenced by Pollock poured thinned oil paint which was diluted with turpentine directly onto canvas to achieve lyrical use of colour (her ‘soak stain’ technique). This technique, which was adopted by Pollock, Morris Louis (1912–1962), and Kenneth Noland (1924–2010 )helped lead and paved the way for a newer generation of abstract painting which became known as Color Field painting. Like Pollock, Frankenhaler also worked on the floor  pouring diluted paint onto the canvas and allowing it to soak through to produce the illusionistic stains.

Mountain and Sky

Her work was included in the 1964 exhibition Post Painterly Abstraction, which was curated by the critic Clement Greenberg who promoted Abstract Expressionism.  Frankenhaler’s work has been exhibited over 6 decades (1950s onwards) and has had several retrospectives.  She is also one of the artists I originally referenced when I first conceived the Echostains project in 2002.  This year sees the 10th anniversary of my project which has just grown and grown!  More news of this later in the year.

Poetree

From Frankenhaler’s legacy to a rather curious and  anonymous ‘gift’ which caught my imagination. Last year in an Edinburgh library, a series of sculptures began to appear.  The first sculpture, placed on a table in the Scottish Poetry Library was most appropriately carved from paper, mounted on a book and bore a tag with the library’s Twitter account number on @byleaveswelive  This is what it said;-

It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.… … We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.… This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)

Next to the Poetree sat a paper egg with a scattering of words which when put together made up the sentence “A Trace of Wings’ by Edwin Morgan (see here) Despite local news coverage, no information has been found about the maker of the work.

more mystery

Then in June 2011, another paper sculpture was received, the donor this time chose The National Scottish Library as it’s recipient.  The sculpture is in the form of a gramophone and a coffin and is sculpted from a copy of Ian Rankin’s ‘Exit Music’  The tag reads;-

For @natlibscot – A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. (& against their exit)

In these days of Kindle  (smacks of Orwell’s 1984 to me) nothing beats the tactile thrill of holding, caressing, smelling, –  the physical page turning, the owning of and even the dog earing of  the physical object of a BOOK.   A physical object that holds so much of our dreams, imagination and is our portal to another world. It’s wonderful that these paper sculptures should pay homage to this – long may they keep popping up!

There are more of these sculptures

Helen Frankenhaler’s obituary here and here

Frankenhaler portrait  and more information about this artist  here

Sky and Sea by Helen Frankenhaler from here

Paper sculpture Poetree image  from here  and gramaphone sculpture from here with thanks!

Information and more images are available from this site with thanks!

Barbera Hepworth’s birthday (January 10th)  read my post about her here

PLUS

Its back! The original and eclectic Bookstains!

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Happy Christmas and New Year!

Posted in Architecture, ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, BEHIND THE PAINT, CHRISTMAS, DESIGN, exhibitions, PHOTOGRAPHY, POLLS, SCULPTURE, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , , on December 24, 2011 by echostains

In my usual tradition, here is the round up of featured posts for 2011.  It’s been a pretty tubulent year personally for me and I haven’t blogged as much as I usually do – but my New Year resolution is to do so, so get ready for more eclectic mixes of art, design and quirkyness!  I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a bright New Year!

Weird and Wacky ‘Make it Snappy!’

Posted in DESIGN, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , on May 19, 2011 by echostains

We read so much about Spyware and CCTV cameras being installed as deterrents against crime.  Then there are numerous stories of stalking and identity theft, as well as court cases involving newspapers violating privacy laws.  Most people really value their privacy, but there is also a bit of voyeurism in us all that makes us just want to take a peek at what others are saying and doing (you’d be surprised at how many people you know on Facebook actually read your updates!). 

When I’m out and about and taking photo’s I am always aware that other people may inadvertently be in them.  Some are quite conscious of this and I must admit it’s quite fun to see them pretend they haven’t noticed as they rearrange themselves and turn so that their ‘best side’ will be snapped 😀  Others visibly squirm if they accidentally walk into the path of a video maker  (I definitely fall into this category  and want to run a mile).  But you never know where or when you may be ‘papped’ or by what!  These everyday items look so innocuous, but if you look closely you will spot their real purpose.  Yes – they are all camera’s!

OK, you probably wouldn’t get away with walking round pointing a tin of Spam at people, but what a fun item.  Pin hole cameras are relatively easy and cheap to make and lots of students make these at Uni.  Though the ones I’ve seen are usually made from a wooden box, there is a lot of scope to be creative  with pin hole cameras (like the Spam tin)  The owner/ inventor of this particular camera has taken some very cool photos with it that can be seen  here.  

There are also instructions about how to make one – all from http://chriskeeney.com/spamera

 But for the ultimate spy camera, try this tiny one for size!  There’s no examples of what sort of picture quality you would get with this unfortunately.  Well, it is a spy camera!

If you want inspiration for making pinhole cameras, then see this site here

Spy camera image and info here

Weird and Wacky – Clock this!

Posted in DESIGN, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , on January 14, 2011 by echostains

 

Time Killer

It’s ages since I wrote a weird and wacky post.  As far as I know I’ve never written a post featuring clocks.  I just couldn’t ignore these unusual ones!  For people with time to kill how about this ‘Killing Time’ piece.  I’m not too sure about the fake blood – and I wouldn’t fancy being underneath it if it fell off the wall, but you must admit – it’s a highly original clock and a real attention seeker – real cutting edge 🙂

time teaser

Never  mathematically inclined, I would find this formula hard to crack or work out.  I do however really like this very contemporary time piece and would certainly have it in my house (even though I wouldn’t be able to pronounce which equation the time equaled!

Astrological clock Prague

I’ve actually seen this particular clock.  It’s  a famous landmark in Prague – a wonderful city.  The clock dates from about 1410.  According to legend, the man who made the clock then went blind – so could never make another one.  The skeleton adds an  interesting and grisly touch as he strikes the time upon the hour.

More  Weird and Wacky posts coming soon 🙂

PLUS The Poetry Challenge (The Hepworth Challenge is still underway over at Bookstains – please join in the fun!)

just click the image

Images from here here and here  and here and there’s awonderful clock blog here

The Canvas Pavement

Posted in ART, POEM CHALLENGES, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , on October 23, 2010 by echostains

'Chaff' Covent Garden

Everyone has seen pavement artists at work from time to time in their city .  Usuall, they will painstakingly chalk a famous and instantly recognisable painting onto the pavement for passers by to admire and donate money to.  But in recent times there has been a spate of breathtaking ‘3D’ optical chalk drawings that are refeshingly new and innovative  – drawings that trick the eye and make you gasp.

the magic of 3D

The art of 3D street art is an exacting one.   It is a kind of trompe l’oeil, (which means to deceive the eye) and it is optical illusion that appears in 3D form.  

Easy Jet also by Manfred Stader

Manfred Stader began pavement painting during his artistic studies at the Städel Art school in Frankfurt at the beginning of the 1980s .   In 1985 he became a Master Modonnaro (master street painter).  This title was awarded to him in the largest international Street painting and Pavement Painting Contest.competition in Grazie di Curtatone in Italy.

Using pastel chalks, Stader recently created this 9ft x 13ft painting in London’s Covent garden – with great effect!  The ‘frog’ is made from a kind of dry grain.  The painting is called appropriately(after the grain)  – ‘Chaff’.  I think it’s  fantastic –  a real crowd stopper…also a good advert for Costa coffee! There is a sequential video of the painting on Manfred Stader’s website here

the frog floats on top

Manfred Stader’s website and Chaff painting  here  Easy jet painting here

image info here

PS…………………….

Theres another GREAT poem AND a new Haiku over on Bookstains!  The Van Gogh poetry challenge is till open (just click Vincent to read the poems and participate)

Weird and Wacky Umbrellas

Posted in DESIGN, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , on August 15, 2010 by echostains

The Nubrella - don't leave home without it

A while ago I did a post on umbrellas and parasols which appeared as props in famous paintings (here).  According to Wiki, umbrella comes from the Latin word umbra, meaning a shade or shadow, which in its own turn originally derived from Greek.  Umbrellas and parasols are to be found all over the world and throughout history including ancient Egypt.

We’ve all seen the colourful designs and handles that umbrella manufacturers have come up with, but these creative and somewhat wacky contraptions recently caught my eye.  A very unusual type of umbrella – the Nubrella, turns the traditional design on its head leaving the hands free.  It can’t blow inside out and it won’t poke others in the eye!

Snoozer pet umbrella

Please spare a thought for your poor drenched pooch.  This pet umbrella clips on to the collar and has a lead attached – thereby assuring that your animal doesn’t end up looking like a drowned rat.   It would be interesting to hear the opinion of these pets……

when a lovely flame dies - smoke gets in your eyes

 

Lastly an umbrella for smokers, complete with ashtray!  I’m just speechless:O

Pet umbrella from here

Nubrella info from here

Smokers umbrella and other most unusual ones here

Take these chains from these shoes and set me free

Posted in DESIGN, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , on July 17, 2010 by echostains

 

Did you know that there are actually shoe competitions?  I didn’t.   The Shoemania Design winner of 2009 was Tove Jansson and Per Emanuelsson for their Chain shoe design.  They make a man’s version of this shoe with the chains wrapped around loafers.

chain shoes for men

The Swedish design students came up with the opposing concepts of floating and of being chained down.  I quite enjoy looking at them, but I don’t think I would enjoy wearing them.  I wonder how heavy these shoes are to wear though?

Chain shoes pictures from here and here and here