Art and Design Books of the Week

The Art & Design Library recommends some reading from their series of Books of the Week:

Australia’s Impressionists
Australia’s Impressionists focuses on the paintings of Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Charles Condor and John Russell.

This beautiful book challenges our preconceptions of what is meant by Impressionism, enriches our understanding of Australian art and reveals the international nature of art historical movements and exchanges in the nineteenth century. The story is framed by unmistakably Australian subjects and location, a preoccupation with light and colour, and the context of Australian identity and sense of nationhood.

The Global Contemporary
The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Art Worlds documents the globalisation of the visual arts and the rose of the contemporary over the last twenty years. Lavishly illustrated, with colour throughout, it tracks developments ranging from exhibition histories and the rise of new art spaces to art’s branding in such emerging markets as Hong Kong and the Gulf States. Essays treat such subjects as curating after the global turn; art and the migration of pictures; the end of the canon; and new strategies of representation.

Jacob A. Riis: Photographer & Citizen
Riss’s images of the slums of New York have influenced every subsequent generation of photographers, while his insightful exploration of the problems of urban life continues to be education for societies around the world. I know of no contemporary work of this general character which gives such an impression of competence, integrity and intensity.

All items are available to loan. Reserve online or pop into Art & Design, Central Library to see what else is available.

Explorers at the Library: Edinburgh Art Festival families programme

This year the Edinburgh Art Festival’s Explorers families programme comes to Central Library for free weekly creative art making sessions suitable for ages 8-13. These sessions are inspired by the EAF artist commissions programme and the ‘Making of the Future’ theme. Join us weekly or drop in for a one-off session to creatively re-imagine your city.

“Tower” by Toby Patterson, Dunfermline 2014

Each session will look at a different artist and include 2D and 3D arts activities such as building a miniature bothy inspired by artist Bobby Niven, designing a modernist city after artist Toby Paterson and creating inflatable giant flower sculptures inspired by artist duo Walker and Bromwich.

All sessions will be held in the George Washington Room within the Central Library

Thu 6 July 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Walker and Bromwich
Create your own inflatable sculptures and model dragons inspired by Walker and Bromwich’s Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership.

Thu 13 July 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Bobby Niven
Design and build your own miniature bothys and dens inspired by Bobby Niven’s Palmhouse.

Thu 20 July 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Shannan Te Ao
Make musical instruments and write your own musical score inspired by Shannan Te Ao’s use of Maori songs and proverbs.

Thu 3 August 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Toby Paterson
Make your own 3D collage of a fantasy building, drawing on Paterson’s modernist architectural influences.

Thu 10 August 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: The Making of the Future
Design and build a miniature installation in the library, of a future Edinburgh city centre inspired by the “grandfather of town planning”, Patrick Geddes.

In celebration of the children’s work the outcomes of each workshop will be exhibited in the Children’s Library for the last week of the festival, 21-27 August.

These sessions are free and all materials are included. Booking is recommended, but not essential. To book call  0131 242 8040 or visit www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk

Danish design at the Central Library

May’s exhibition in the Art and Design Library is a something a little bit different.  This month we are showcasing the work of Danish artist Mette Fruergaard-Jensen who creates boxes in metal, wood and resin.

Mette originally trained as a potter, running her own pottery workshop for 25 years. A move to Scotland in 2000 however saw her embrace a new medium and she began to make boxes –

‘In my studio in Coburg House in Leith, Edinburgh I make lidded boxes in wood, metal and resin. My boxes are sculptural. They are all functional, although they are not made for any specific use. I love the silent language of form and materials. Here for this exhibition in the Art and Design Library I am also showing images of how I work and what materials I use. I am especially happy to show my work in the Art and Design Library, as I have spent a great time there looking in books.’

Come along and see Mette’s beautiful work from the 3rd-30th May.

 

The art of chromolithography!

The Central Library often takes interns or student placements who use our special collections as a focus for their studies. One such student is Becky Sparagowski who completed a project with us as part of her Masters coursework at the Centre for the History of the Book, Edinburgh University.

Becky’s area of interest was “The chromolithographed decorative design books of the Art & Design Library” and in this blog post she explains exactly what chromolithography is!

Becky selecting her research material

Have you ever thought about colour printing? It’s something that’s fairly commonplace now, but when it was first introduced it was revolutionary.

One of the first people to get colour printing – or chromolithography – right was Owen Jones, who is most famous for his design book The Grammar of Ornament (1856). This book set a high bar for chromolithography, and all the books that were published after it tried to meet that standard. While Jones did much work in ornamental design (he was an architect by profession), he is best remembered for his work in chromolithography and the dedication with which he improved the colour printing process.

After Jones’s work, though, colour printing took off, and artists all across

Chromolithograph “Cacatoës et magnolia, bordure. Souris blanches” from L’animal dans la decoration (The animal in decoration) by Maurice Pillard Verneuil & E. Lévy, 1897.

Europe used the medium to produce artistic prints, posters, and, of course, art and design books. The late 19th and early 20th centuries produced a huge number of books with chromolithographic prints, many of which are very intricate and complicated. The work done in these books is even more impressive when you know that in chromolithography, the colours are printed one at a time, making the detailed work in these books incredibly difficult to do!

Chromolithograph “Moresque no.1” from Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones, 1856

I recently sat down with the Art and Design Library’s wonderful collection of books with chromolithographic printing while working on a research project my MSc course in Book History and Material Culture at the University of Edinburgh. This collection of books – including The Grammar of Ornament – embodies everything that is noteworthy about chromolithography, from the detailed craftsmanship that goes into creating chromolithographic prints to the realisation of Victorian cultural values in the works themselves. They truly are an important – and beautiful – part of the history of the book.

The books can be consulted by contacting the Art & Design Library and you can explore some of Owen Jones’ beautiful prints in our online exhibition, Travel to Perfection: Owen Jones and The Alhambra on Capital Collections.

March’s Art Exhibition

For an artistic treat why not come along to this month’s exhibition in our Art and Design Library from the 4-30 March and see art works by Rosie Nimmo.

Rosie graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 1997 and immediately went to study Art Therapy at Queen Margaret University.  At this time Rosie was a very active member of the artists community in Edinburgh, contributing and showing works in all the major group exhibitions in the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA)  as well as other smaller local shows. She has had a break from the art world whilst pursuing her musical career, but is delighted that this show will give her the opportunity to show her work to a wider audience again.

waveRosie is a bit of a visual magpie, hopping from one subject to another and using a variety of media to demonstrate her response to the ideas.  Currently what interests her most is the light at the sea. She works is a variety of different media on paper including printmaking.

10% of all sales from this exhibition will go to Mercy Corps, an organisation that works with displaced people from all over the world, and which Rosie supported with a charity single last year.

 

 

Celebrating St Valentine’s Day with Love in Art

couples-in-artFebruary has always been a month for romance, although the origins of St Valentine’s Day itself have become murky. Way back in the day, on February 15th, pagans celebrated Lupercalia; a fertility festival dedicated to their God or Agriculture, Faunus. But the 5th century arrived all too quickly for the pagans and Lupercalia was outlawed by the Christian Church. It was replaced with St Valentine’s Day (Valentine being one of three possible Saints of the same name), and moved to February 14th.

bridal-fashionsRomance only really came to Valentine’s Day during the 14th and 15th centuries, when some clever Englishmen and Frenchmen thought February 14th was the first day of the birds’ mating season. Thus, from then on, St Valentine’s Day became a day of not only birdy romance, but a celebration of human love.

Art, literature and music have often found their muses in romance, and the work of artists, writers, poets and musicians often celebrates the love symbolised by Valentine’s Day. Find artistic inspiration in our selection of books celebrating love in art.

February’s Art Exhibition

michael-topley-poster-image-2Why not pop along to the Art & Design Library and see their February exhibition. This month’s exhibition is entitled Edinburgh Scenes & Others and is by Michael Topley. You can see his work from 3 – 27 February.

Michael lives  in Morningside having moved up from North Somerset five years ago and started painting seriously having been previously involved in photography. His job as an engineer and family commitments prevented him from giving too much time for art, but he has always had a strong interest.  Along with his wife he is a member of an Edinburgh Art Group which meets once a week.

About his work Michael says “As I hope I have expressed in my paintings, I like to reflect modern life, particularly with urban street scenes, but don’t limit myself to these and will tackle most subjects with varied results. I feel that watercolours can be as expressive as any other medium and try hard to show this in my work”.