The Common Folk Collections: No. 2 Americana
Americana taps into that nostalgic yearning that this generation has for something that feels just out of our grasp, that ability to unplug and have more quiet moments enjoying the beautiful simplicity that is life. We long for that adventure which at times might be a lonely pioneering path but more often means meals round the table with friends as laughter sparkles in the air.
Americana is more than the rugged cowboy or bull rider (though they sure can be fun to spend time with! I remember once being held in mid-air by my ankles, buff bull riders = trouble) it's the American craftsman who prides himself on his work, it's the band whose music is so contagious you go from foot tapping to full out dancing and it's those mason jars that make everything feel special (whether a candle or a salad).
I so look forward to exploring this collection because I know we will uncover more than a few treasures. Oh and I can't possibly forget to mention that this collection just happens to coincide with one of my favorite bands, The Lumineers, being nominated for a Best Americana Album Grammy.
“Americana, as defined by the Americana Music Association (AMA), is "contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band.”
The Common Folk Collections: No. 1 Dutch Renaissance Revisited – Biography
While reading about the painters of the Dutch Renaissance I was fascinated to learn that master painter Peter Paul Rubens not only reworked (fancy term for copied) the paintings of famous artists who had gone before him, but he also employed several assistants in his studio to work on the large paintings he was commissioned to create (of course he typically would sketch and do the touch up work). In light of this little tidbit and since White Collar will be returning soon, I thought this little video would be a perfect way to begin wrapping up our series.
Have you ever wondered if you were staring at a forgery when you were admiring a painting in a museum?
Today my research at the New York Public Library - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building was seeking to confirm my hypothesis that some modern interior design trends of dark walls, still life photography/painting and art collections were associated with the Dutch Renaissance.
As I sat at in the Art/Architecture department digging through my pile of Dutch/Flemish books I learned that the growth of connoisseurship/collecting became so popular in the Dutch Renaissance/Dutch Golden Age that not only were collectors invited to become members of influential artist guilds (such as Antwerp Guild of St. Luke) but a new genre of paintings focusing on “art collection” was developed led by artists Frans Franken II, Willem van Haecht, David Teniers and Hans Jordaens.
If you had all of the money in the world what would you collect?
I posed the above question today to some of my friends and I received the most interesting responses including: door knobs, handbags & vintage motorcycles, vintage machines, unique single chair legs, sand from beaches traveled to, vintage cameras and so on. These collections which we treasure reveal much about who we are, who we desire to be and what we see as beauty. Our world is filled with vast amounts of media and it can be incredibly challenging and overwhelming to sift through it all in order to find true beauty. While collections may sometimes be viewed as materialistic throughout history they have been closely associated with the development of the arts and sciences. Perhaps analyzing our collections will give us a glimpse into something deeper?
“All the curious gleaners and collectors anointed themselves it’s guardians…” – Cabinets of Wonder
Image Three: House Beautiful July/August 2012
Image Four: Anthropologie New York Store Interior by Esther Maria Swaty
Tags: Anthropologie, Cabinets of Wonder, Collections. Collectors, David Teniers and Hans Jordaen, Dutch Renaissance, Frans Franken II, Interior Design, New York Public Library, The Common Folk Collections, Willem van Haecht
Common Folk Collections: No. 1 Dutch Renaissance Revisited - Food
"Enchant, stay beautiful and graceful, but do this, eat well. Bring the same consideration to the preparation of your food as you devote to your appearance. Let your dinner be a poem, like your dress." - Charles Pierre Monselet
The blog that launched my obsession with Dutch Renaissance is “What Katie Ate”, it was my first glimpse of the Dutch Renaissance style being revisited in a modern way. I found the way which Katie Quinn Davies would photograph simple food against dark rustic backgrounds quite enthralling. For example this photo of pomegranates stayed with me for months:
These images of food so brilliantly captured, remind me of Christmas Eve dinners where after having been out of the house all day while my parents decorated feverishly, we would come home to a Christmas tree twinkling with little red candles, the sound of German Christmas carols and a table spread with the most fabulous dinner you could possibly imagine. On these special occasions my Mom pulls out the fancy white porcelain plates with the little blue flowers to serve her fabulous German knodel and roast. I could sit for hours in that moment…
"She breathed in, and in that one; quiet moment felt herself come back together again."- The School of Essential Ingredients, Erica Bauermeister
There is such power and beauty in food. I find that many of my favorite memories are those which have taken place around a meal. If perhaps this post has inspired you to try cooking something of your own for friends and family, Katie has a quite simple recipe for Baby Minted Potatoes with Lemon Oil & Sea Salt which might be a good place to start:
"All any man can hope to do is to add his fragment to the whole." - The Art Spirit
If you would like to purchase or look more closely at the What Katie Ate book you can find it at the following locations: Anthropologie, Amazon, Barnes & Noble . Please visit again tomorrow as I will be posting on Dutch Renaissance and Interior Design.
Image One: Cheese, What Katie Ate
Image Two: Pomegranates, What Katie Ate
Image Three: Christmas Eve at the Swaty's
Common Folk Collections: No. 1 Dutch Renaissance Revisited
"early Netherlandish paintings reveal the pursuit of a common goal—to make the painted image vividly present and to render the unseen palpable." - Early Netherlandish Painting, Met Museum
I first noticed what I would call a Dutch Renaissance resurgence, when I discovered what has since become one of favorite food blogs. I remember showing the blog to my Mom and discussing with her how inspiring and unique it seemed to be, yet there was something I recognized that I couldn't quite put my finger on. She suggested I look up the Dutch Renaissance and so began the treasure hunt for the pieces which now make up this collection.
Now might be a good time to let you in on a little secret (that is perhaps not so secret), my Mom is a huge influence in my life and one of the reasons for this is because of her contagious passion for art. I remember when we were kids she had a stack of post cards of paintings by famous artists and she would go through them with us taking time to describe how by the artists brush strokes/subject matter/ etc. we could tell the paintings apart. Honestly, as a kid I would cringe whenever the cards came out because I would have much rather been.. reading. Even though only a few of the painters have stuck with me: Degas (ballerina's - every girl has him as a favorite at one point or another), Picasso (the crazy one/cubism), and Van Gogh (the sad guy who loved the stars) I see that my Mom was cultivating what would become a great curiousity about and love of art.
Because of my Mom's encouragement to delve into the Dutch Renaissance one discovery led to another and I now see glimpses of it's influence everywhere I turn. I wonder if that is how Bill Cunningham feels when he starts to put together one of his infamous spreads for the New York Times.Throughout this collection I will highlight areas where I have been seeing the influence of Dutch Renaissance, but in the meantime instead of "Where's Waldo" how about we play where do you see the influence of the Dutch Renaissance? Please stay tuned as tomorrow we will delve deeper into this collection.
"For any artist to have a voice in the arts or to create timeless art, he must understand his craft." - How Does Art Become Timeless, Samuel Adoque
Image One: Lampshade, Hendrick Kerstens
Tags: art, common folk collection, Dutch Renaissance, Dutch Renaissance Resurgence, Hendrick Kerstens, How Does Art Become Timeless, inspiration, Lampshade, Petrus Christus c. 1472, Portrait of a Young Girl (Woman), Samuel Adoquei
“When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becoms an inventive, searching, daring, self- expressing creature. He becomes interesting to people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and he opens ways for a better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it, shows there are still more pages possible.” – Robert Henri
Many of you who read this blog know me to be a person of endless rabbit trails. My sisters, if asked, will roll their eyes and list off the countless mini-obsessions that they had to endure (everything from leper colonies to all things french). My Mom, well, she sums it up as my simply becoming a character in one of the ever changing fantastical stories being composed in my head. How about you? Have you ever had one of those moments where you discovered something so incredible you thought you might burst if you didn't share it with the world? The hole in the wall cafe whose owner made you feel like you had just arrived at home, the song that caused a knowing smile to spread across your face (this band is destined for greatness!), or the book that met you at the perfect moment (articulating a dream hidden deep within).
You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. ~ Clay P. Bedford
We live in an age where a wealth of information and potential inspiration is at our fingertips (countless bloggers, pinners, iReporters, youtube prodigies and so on), not to mention we just kicked off 2013, with probably a few resolutions/goals. Each of us has a unique role to play in this grand story, but many of us get stuck between inspiration and action. Perhaps we are waiting to receive a detailed map or hoping to be presented with a perfect plan? Much of the time pursuing our dreams requires the great risk of taking the first step onto a dark path we know we have been called to but we can't see in it's entirety. Oh and did I mention there will most likely be struggles and challenges along the way that test the core of who you are?
I remember hearing a quote that went something like “how many authors have gone to their graves with unwritten books” and I wonder how many of us are living unwritten lives?
“Perhaps a book is a weapon; perhaps an unwritten book is an even more powerful weapon than one which has been published. It has a way of filling the air with its menace or its promise, the sweet art of what might have been.” - Colm Tóibín
My hope in curating these “common folk collections” is to provide a glimpse of inspiration, a platform for dialogue, and resources for activating your dreams (i.e. – events to attend or experiences to create, opportunities to network, books to read, perhaps even a new obsession?). You are the curator of your own: collections, inspirations and dreams. May you be inspired to become a master of your craft and invest it into the common good.
"Creative visionaries with a purposeful mission to be of some use to humanity always change the status quo for the better." - Origin of Inspiration, Samuel Adoquei