When I want to relax I grab one of two things, a cookbook or an interior design book I’ve checked out of the library. If I had not been a graphic designer or a librarian or an Imagineer, my fourth career choice would have been an interior designer. I indulge this as much as I can in our own home, but I love learning about the “rules” and the “30 worst interior design nightmares” in books and online. Home interiors inform the work I do creating websites that the owner can move into … I’m grateful for the creative souls who plan, dream, photograph, and write about these thoughtful spaces. Enjoy this article about accessible design by Vanessa Lawrence in Elle Décor. (photo from article, photo by Haris Kenjar)
My world spins on an axis of storytelling. In every part of my life, it is the stories that bring people together. It is the stories that keep the love, laughter, and hard work flowing. It is the stories people have told that I remember, calling each one of them up to relish as needed. It is the stories that I hold close to me because they provide connection, understanding, and mysteries to ponder. I am grateful to the storytellers, each and every one of you.
I am grateful for the ingenuity of cake artists, who bring joy into many hearts. This one particularly struck my fancy but you’ll find many more to make you smile.
Sometimes, when someone gives me a gift, it robs me of words. Recently, I was given this Shaker box which the gift-giver made by hand, bending the wood, assembling it with tiny dowels (no nails), and creating a beautiful patina with finishing treatments. It’s absolutely beautiful. It feels so good to hold. And it’s made from reclaimed cherry wood. A stunning gift. I am grateful to this person, whom I consider not only a colleague but a friend, for bestowing this beauty on our household. It will always be cherished.
I live in a Confluence of Creativity that inspires me every day. The people who work with children’s books, creating them, teaching them, promoting them, putting them in the right child’s hands … they are dedicated to being creative. It fills me with awe when I hold a book, when I hear a teacher’s enthusiasm for a book they’re reading out loud to their class, when I observe a librarian telling a book’s story with puppets and suggestions of scenery. This is creativity … and we’re blessed when the next generation is inspired to follow in their creative footprints.
I have had three Carl Larsson prints hanging in my home since I first lived on my own. I love his intricate line, his colors, but most of all his subjects: home, family, and everyday life. The book Carl Larsson’s Home was first published in the 1890s and there are still versions of it in print! He had a rough childhood, but he persevered, creating a lovely home life for their children with his wife, artist and interior decorator Karin Bergöö. His art helps me recognize when I am content.
The Poetry of Puppetry! A roomful of enrapt children listened to the poetry of Langston Hughes, Jack Prelutsky, Shel Silverstein, and many more poets read by a caterpillar, a polar bear in a refrigerator, a talking wall, a mail snail (oh, the delight of receiving mail), and other characters brought to life by the Loki Puppet Players at St. Paul’s Central Library. I am grateful for the gifts that talented librarian Kim Faurot and her fellow puppeteers share with all of us. They’re performing this show three more times in April. If you’re near St. Paul, you’ll want to go (and maybe bring a child or two with you).
Last night we watched Episode 1 of Season 3 of The Art Detectives. Art expert Dr. Bendor Grosvenor and social historian Emma Dabiri examined what was thought to be a copy of a Rembrandt self-portrait, hanging on the wall of Knightshayes Court in Devon, UK.
Bendor walks us through the scientific investigation and consultations with experts to find out if, instead, it is a study, done by Rembrandt himself, for the final painting.
Emma interviews various people and travels to pertinent locations to place the painting in its time and culture. (We learned that the last owner was one of Britain’s first female golf champions, not widely accepted by male golfers.)
For us, these episodes are an hour of absorbing art and social history. I’m grateful that this kind of learning opportunity is available. We learned more about Rembrandt than we’ve ever known before! And was it an original or a copy? Suspenseful.
Did you read album liner notes? (I know, what’s an album?) Many of my album covers are worn out because I read through those notes over and over, especially those that had lyrics for all of the songs. I appreciated knowing who the musicians were for each song. I used to imagine their studio sessions and how they interacted. If you look up “liner notes” online, you’ll find articles mourning how liner notes placed the album in a specific time and place. They were recording history for the future. I even dreamed of writing liner notes when I grew up. I’m grateful for the people who did write them … and the artists who made them beautiful. CDs often included liner notes (in miniature) but now, with streaming music, we need a website that has readable images of all of those liner notes of decades past … and going forward.
I have long appreciated how the search for knowledge begins with one specific hook. As a young reader, I set off on some wacky journeys to learn everything I could about any number of topics, absorbing as much as I could, sometimes writing reports so I could do something with the knowledge, making my interest fit the assignment, but always feeling a hunger satisfied.
I am grateful to “Woman in Gold,” a good, not great, movie with Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds that follows the attempt to recover a stolen work of art. The movie led me to find out everything I could about artist Gustav Klimt. I had been been aware of him but that’s different than purposefully researching his life and learning about the influences on his art. This is the “Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer,” finished with gold leaf. Isn’t it beautiful?