Saturday, March 17, 2018

happy feast day

St. Gertrude of Nivelles

Monday, March 12, 2018

ice flowers

Wilson Bentley made his own specially fitted compound microscope when he was twenty years old in 1885 and for the next fifty years, photographed thousands of snowflakes in his chilly workshop in Jericho, Vermont.  He caught the crystals on a small blackboard, transferred them to slides with a pointed wooden splint and flattened them to the glass with a feather. He had special techniques in developing negatives, too. In 1931 just before he died, Bentley published Snow Crystals, a book with 2500 photographs from which a few are seen below. Each one is, as he says, "infinitely beautiful." 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

curious world indeed

from Rabbit's Village School
This book is a keeper!  The strange and beautiful art of Walter Potter is shown in lovely close up photographs and ephemera from his Bramber Museum in West Sussex, England.  At age nineteen in 1865, Potter started his first tableaux, and he continued to make taxidermical scenes until his death in 1918.  The museum was open for almost 150 years and went through different owners and locations before the collection was auctioned in separate pieces in 2003.
While pouring through this book, I sometimes felt a bit uneasy because many of the poor creatures never got to have a full life.  People's attitudes towards animals was no doubt different a hundred years ago when vermin were more a part of every day life and before spaying and neutering services were readily available.  Still, Potter's anthropomorphic art is fascinating with immense care taken in every delightful detail. I hope to see one of his amazing creations in person one day.
 colorized postcard  souvenir of Walter Potter and his Bramber Museum
 still from a 1965 news film
 one of the smaller cases, 48 x 43 x 11 inches
from A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed
from The Kingfisher River Bank
 from Kittens' Tea and Croquet Party
from The Lower Five
from The Upper Ten
from The Kittens' Wedding