At the heart of the Old English epic poem Beowulf is Heorot, the splendid mead hall built by King Hrothgar to celebrate his victories in war. With its throne room, its patterned floor and its wide and towering gables, this was “the hall of halls”, full of feasting and harping but, the poet adds ominously, “awaiting a barbarous burning”. Such was the fate of most Anglo-Saxon architecture. Wood was plentiful in northern Europe and cheaper than stone, so houses, even those as grand as Hrothgar’s, were built of timber and burned easily and often. Beyond the hints in Beowulf and the remains of halls that archaeologists have found at Cheddar and at Yeavering in Northumberland, the story of early British architecture is almost entirely told through the churches and monasteries for which stone was used. That story begins in the late sixth century with the re-introduction of Christianity and the arrival of St Augustine.
SDB Evening News Reads for 091211: Sheepish, Femme Fatale and an Orange MoonPosted: September 12, 2011
I tell you, that post I wrote yesterday took a lot out of me. Then came the knock out Boston Boomer wrote today. So today I will post a few quick links to the news reads of the day, and finish up with some interesting finds and fond remembrances.
Over the weekend, the Israeli Embassy in Egypt was overrun by Egyptian protestors. Now the tenuous relationship between the two countries is even more strained. Israel and Egypt: The view from Cairo – CSMonitor.com
Obama is sending the American Jobs Act to Congress: Obama sends jobs bill to Congress, urges “no games, no politics, no delays” – Political Hotsheet – CBS News
Of course, the worry about this is what the Jobs Act will mean to the future of Social Security: The Associated Press: Obama tax proposal worries Social Security allies
And since I have Obama news on a roll, the latest in the Solyndra mess: Obama Team Stood by Solyndra as Troubles Mounted – Bloomberg
Why is that such a surprise? Obama stood by as the shit hit the fan?
Okay, that is it on newsy subjects today. On to some fun stuff…
This past week, a new discovery was made in the bird world: Hummingbirds dive to sing with their tails | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine
Many birds sing to woo females, but some hummingbirds go to great lengths to do so. They climb to between 5 and 40 metres before plummeting past perched females in death-defying dives. They pull up at the last minute, spread their tail feathers and produce a loud chirpy song. The song comes not from the birds’ mouths, but from their tails. The splayed tail feathers vibrate as air rushes past them, causing them to flutter.
Christopher Clark from the Peabody Museum of Natural History has found that males of different hummingbird species have their own unique tail songs. Their feathers that flutter at different frequencies, and the sounds produced by different feathers blend into one another. This allows each male bird to create an entire symphony with its bottom, independently of its calls or the famous humming noise produced by its wings. These songs tell eavesdropping females about the male’s species, as well as his quality.
Cool isn’t it? Video at the Wired link below.
A Yale University zoologist has used a laser vibrometer and high speed videos from a wind tunnel to work out how the hummingbird makes its famous hum, and found that the males of each species have their own signature sound.
The male hummingbird produces a high-pitched fluttering sound during its elaborate courtship ritual. The bird will fly five to 40 meters into the air, before quickly dive-bombing past a perched female. At the lowest point, he rapidly spreads and closes his tail feathers to produce the hum.
I found this next link a couple weeks ago, and had planned to use it on Sunday…but since it was an unusual Sunday, let’s look at it now. Early medieval architecture: a story of castles and churches | Art and design | The Guardian
The Guardian article names the Bede Chronicles as one of the era-defining events. It is a very readable Primary Source, if the current events of the day are overwhelming, then give Bede a try…
731: The Venerable Bede completes The Ecclesiastical History of the English People
The first history of the country, charting the growth of the church in England. A precious text in an era of few publications.
Go ahead, take a peek into the Early English People, Bede does not keep his opinions to himself, some of his observations are quite enlightening. You can read a copy here at this site from Fordham University: Internet History Sourcebooks
Then there is the old fashioned way:
If reading the history of early England according to an uptight monk does not do it for ya, then perhaps a weekend of lanolin and sheep’s wool will…
The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival is on of the largest annual gatherings of Fiber Art folk in the country. If you are in the area check it out!
OCTOBER 15th & 16th, 2011 Saturday 9AM-5PM Sunday 10AM-5PM
THE DUTCHESS COUNTY SHEEP AND WOOL GROWERS WELCOME YOU TO THE NEW YORK STATE SHEEP AND WOOL FESTIVAL!
ALWAYS THE THIRD FULL WEEKEND IN OCTOBER !
OCTOBER 15TH AND 16TH 2011
The Festival takes place at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds
6550 Spring Brook Ave., Rhinebeck, NY 12572.
There is nothing like the smell of lanolin and the feel fleece through your fingers while spinning the fibers into yarn. It is relaxing and addictive.
I want to stick with New York and artwork connected to fiber. Exclusive: Painting Matters
September 12, 2011
A new exhibit in New York City this month highlights the work of women behind the scenes in theater—artists whose work you may not even know existed.
In life, clothes may or not may not make the man or woman. But in theater and film, dance and opera, circus and spectacle, costumes can establish context; locate time, place, and social status; advance plot and action; express character; enhance personality. More than one performer has been quoted as conceding that putting on the costume is like stepping into the skin of the character; it gives a needed jolt to the acting psyche.
Costume design is one thing but there is a specialized area that is reserved for only a few artist.
Costume painting is a highly specialized art practiced by only a few people in a few places. It was virtually invented back in the 1970s by two legendary women of the theater. Costume designer Willa Kim needed something extra to realize her designs for the Joffrey Ballet; Sally Ann Parsons, then a draper, worked with Kim on ways to precisely apply dyes suspended in gum so that the fabric could be steamed for colorfastness.
Yet except in the circumscribed world of theater production, costume painting is little known and has been long overlooked—until now. An exhibit entitled On Stages/In Stages, The Art of Costume Painting, features hand painting on fabric by five premier Parsons-Meares costume painters—samples they created for a range of productions. The samples are framed in 14 shadow boxes, each representing a different show. The exhibit runs through September at the Cornelia Street Café in New York’s Greenwich Village.
Fabric manipulation and embellishment is an amazing art form…fiber art and textiles are such a wonderful way to express ourselves. The use of color and texture…line and form…can be exhilarating.
The Metropolitan Museum has an ongoing exhibit: The Costume Institute | Curatorial Departments | Works of Art | The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
In Massachusetts, there is a fantastic textile museum that focuses on the history of American Textiles: American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts
I have another link for you…in Washington, DC. This is the place to find international works in fiber. The collection centers around various rugs and related items to beautiful works in different forms of textile traditions: Textile Museum
Okay, and just a couple more finds.
Writing about New York City and Lower Manhattan made me think of this artist I met down in SoHo. Her name is Julia Licht, and she has a website: http://www.julialicht.com/ The last time I saw Julia, she just found out she was pregnant, and now she has 3 kids. Wow!
Anyway, her work is fun and I love it!
Be sure to check out her Femme Fatale series of work, and one of my favorites, Dance, is hanging in my room now:
Here is a bit from her bio page:
Julia Licht’s art combines elements of social satire with humor, wit and more than a little bit of love.
Subjects include city people stressed and unstressed: a young women who thinks of herself as femme fatale is newly encumbered with responsibility for a child; and more recently a jungle mural filled with loving animals for a child’s room. Julia has been on FOX Five Good Day NY for her children murals. Other interests include writing illustrated children’s stories and short novels and stage design.
A graduate in printmaking, painting and drawing at the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia: she was born in New York City; grew up in St. James, NY and lives with her children Jade, Azzurra and Ivory.
For eight years she supported herself selling artwork on the streets of NYC. She has been published in the New Yorker and other publications. Her ceramic tile art murals can be viewed at www.tileartjulia.com.
Take some time to look through her work, she has a unique way of capturing the City, and I love her sense of wit when dealing with the real people who walk the streets of New York City.
Lastly, tonight is a special night for those of us that prefer the dark…In 2011, legendary Harvest Moon falls on September 12 | Tonight | EarthSky
Here is the celebrity of the hour – perhaps the best-known moon of them all – the legendary Harvest Moon. The moon reached the crest of its full phase at 09:27 Universal Time this morning, on September 12. That was 4:27 a.m. this morning for the central U.S.
All of us around the globe find tonight’s moon in the same approximate place as every full moon – in the east as the sun sets and twilight begins to wash the sky. It’s this big red Harvest Moon – ascending over the eastern horizon around the time of sunset – that everyone writes songs about. You’ll see why if your sky is clear and you have a lovely setting for moonrise tonight.
Like any full moon, the Harvest Moon rises at sunset and shines all night long. So what’s special about the Harvest Moon? On the average, the moon rises 50 minutes later every night. But not the Harvest Moon! At mid-northern latitudes, the Harvest Moon rises 25 to 30 minutes later for several evenings in a row. And at far northern latitudes, the Harvest Moon rises five to 10 minutes later for several evenings in succession.
In the days before electricity, farmers counted on the lamp of the Harvest Moon to gather their crops. Making up for the autumn season’s waning daylight, the Harvest Moon faithfully provides several nights of dusk-till-dawn moonlight. This bonanza of moonlight remains the legacy of the Harvest Moon!
So in honor of tonight’s Harvest Moon, take a listen to this wonderful song written and performed by Erykah Badu…
It is called… Orange Moon
Enjoy it and I’ll catch y’all later in the comments!