The Art of Aubrey Beardsley: Le Morte Darthur

How La Beale Isoud wrote to Sir Tristam. Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

How King Marke found Sir Tristam. Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

How La Beale Isoud nursed Sir Tristam. Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.


Plus, a bit of bonus music today because this is the song that introduced me to Beardsley, way back in (gulp) 1977. That was in the pre-internet world, and it wasn’t easy to find Beardsley prints. Our local library didn’t carry anything, and neither did our only book store. I finally found a book at UWO with a compilation of his work. I think it was simply called Aubrey Beardsley, and it was a thrilling discovery.


Resin Art: The Archipelago Necklace

You may remember these resin pieces that resemble areal views of coastlines. At the time I mentioned that while I love the pieces, they are a bit too small to make an impactful necklace on their own, so I had to figure out how to combine them. One issue here was colouring. How do I get a consistent blue colour if I used different batches of resin? Now, one opportunity would be to very, very carefully weigh the resin every time and very carefully count the drops of colour I pour in. Yeah, I can’t see me do that either. Also, the risk of just squeezing the tiny paint bottle a bit too much is pretty high, so I tried something else: “Normal” resin is two components, the resin and the hardener, that react with one another and cure over time. I just mixed the resin part with the blue colour in an old marmalade jar and then took out 12 grams whenever I did a batch of “islands” and added the hardener to the already coloured part. I only did this for the blue resin, because the metallic pigment isn’t that sensitive to small differences in the amount of colour.

That little trick turned out really well and I must remember it for other projects. That way I ended up with a handful of fairly similar pieces in terms of colouring. I selected the ones I wanted to use, drilled holes on them and somehow messed up the surface. Not much, but the shine was gone on some pieces so I polished them a little and then added some more resin on top. Quite often that’s easiest way to get a really shiny surface again. Also it created a concave surface which breaks the light differently, taking away the sharp edges on the land mass, and I really like that because it creates a more “natural” look since coasts are rarely terraced.

Once I had all the pieces ready I needed to assemble them and of course I have enough beads to stock a small shop but none that were a good match for these pieces. Luckily I found the perfect fit on Etsy, it just meant waiting a couple more days before I could finish. It’s the closest I’ll get to the sea this year and I absolutely love the result.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The one thing I don’t like are the dull drill holes in the outer pieces. I think I’ll try to carefully add s tiny bit of resin. This would also fix the to the wire and thus prevent the fastening from sliding to the front over the course of time. I still have some rectangle pieces that await assembly and some earrings to finish.

Jack’s Walk

Bloodroot, ©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s been a while since Jack and I shared photos of the spring wildflowers. In part, that’s because our favourite trail has been closed due to the pandemic, and in part due to bad weather. It’s been cold and damp, with bursts of snow and freezing rain, and neither Jack nor I have felt much like going out. We did make it to a different forest a few days ago, though, and that’s when these photos were taken. We didn’t find as many flowers as we do on our usual trail, but our usual trail is through a wildflower preserve, so I’m not sure if it’s because of the weather or just the normal condition of this forest. Even though we didn’t find lots of flowers, we did find most of our favourites. The one flower I couldn’t find was the red trillium.

We’ll be back on Wednesday with the story of Oma Troutchen’s homecoming, accompanied by a wonderful picture of Oma sent to us by someone special.

Mayapples, ©voyager, all rights reserved

White Trillium, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Trout Lily, ©voyager, all rights reserved


On the Fiction that is Capitalist Pricing

Companies want to sell you things. And of course, to run a business that isn’t money laundering, what you get from your customers needs to be more than what you pay for goods and services yourself. But of course they don’t just want to make some profit, they want to make as much profit as they want to and that’s where brands come into play, where they tell you stories to justify a much higher price, where a certain label means the shirt costs 150 bucks while still being made in the same sweat shop by the same people who make the 15 bucks shirts. Another trick is evoking that something is rare and exotic and therefore expensive.

Yesterday we went to the wholesale supermarket and one thing I needed was allspice. I absolutely love allspice, I was running low on allspice and I wanted to make some Jamaican jerk anyway, so I went to the spice section where I was presented with two options: the normal supermarket size packet with 19g of allspice, which would probably have been enough to make a small batch of jerk, and the restaurant wholesale packet, by the same company, with 500g.

The price difference? 2.80 vs 7.50. That’s a difference of 15 vs 150 € per kilogram for the same fucking allspice.

I think we’ll have a lot of Jamaican jerk this summer…

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Tree Tuesday

Jack and I came upon a dancing tree over the weekend that we want to share with you. We haven’t seen one in a long time, and Jack thinks it’s because the trees are too cold and stiff in winter to dance. I can relate to that, so the boy might be right.

©voyager, all rights reserved


Segmented Glass

After that delicious cheese interlude, here’s something a little different via This Is Colossal:

Driven by an interest in the biological process of cell division, artist Jiyong Lee (previously) fabricates translucent sculptural works of segmented glass components fused through coldworking techniques. Some pieces purposefully take the form of organic life with titles such as “White-orange Chromosome Segmentation” or “Geometric cell membrane segmentation” while others are decidedly more geometric in nature. Born and raised in South Korea, Lee has helmed the glass program at Southern Illinois University since 2005. He most recently had a solo exhibition with Clara Scremini Gallery in Paris, and you can see many more of his pieces on Artsy.

They’ve got a lovely soft feel to them – knowing they’re made of glass just adds to the compulsion to touch them and run my fingers over all the surfaces and the edges and the lines.

I think this one’s my favourite:

white Drosophila embryo segmentation, 6.5h x 14.5w x 5.75d (inch), 2014, from This Is Colossal

There’s plenty more examples from Jiyong Lee’s website:

white segmentation-construction, 9.25h x 11.25w x 11.25d (inch), 2013

Green cosmarium segmentation, 7.25 x 10 x 7.25 inch, 2018

Blue-Yellow cuboid segmentation, 10.5 x 9 x 5 inch, 2015

Go look! With other interesting stuff, too.



Musical Cheese

This story has aged well in my archives, like a good, sharp cheddar (or perhaps flat?).

Last September, Swiss cheesemaker Beat Wampfler and a team of researchers from the Bern University of Arts placed nine 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese in individual wooden crates in Wampfler’s cheese cellar. Then, for the next six months each cheese was exposed to an endless, 24-hour loop of one song using a mini-transducer, which directed the sound waves directly into the cheese wheels.

So, what kind of music does cheese enjoy?

The “classical” cheese mellowed to the sounds of Mozart’s The Magic FluteThe “rock” cheese listened to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” An ambient cheese listened to Yello’s “Monolith,” the hip-hop cheese was exposed to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Jazz (We’ve Got)” and the techno fromage raved to Vril’s “UV.” A control cheese aged in silence, while three other wheels were exposed to simple high, medium and low frequency tones.

Well, that’s not a huge range of choices, plus six months of the same song, over and over? It’s enough to curdle the blood in my musical ear, that’s for sure.

Ah, you say – cheese doesn’t have ears! True. This issue was resolved by applying music directly to cheese:

The wheels were stored in wooden crates and played 24 consecutive hours of either classical, hip-hop, techno, ambient, or rock and roll. Rather than speakers, the researchers attached small transmitters to the wheels to relay the sound waves directly into the cheese.

Bern University of the Arts

I have my doubts, of course, but until I have my own dairy farm and cheese making equipment to attempt a reproduction of this experimental method, it sounds pretty good to me.

In anticipation of the annual celebration of, among other things, cheese, here’s an indirectly thematic song:

Tales from the Loop!

Simon Stålenhag was featured by Caine back in 2016, and there is some interesting news out: a TV series based on his Tales from the Loop is coming out April 3! I’m a little bit excited because I had no idea this was in the works, and also I just bought his book The Electric State. Soundtrack composed by Philip Glass and Paul Leonard-Morgan.

Here’s the trailer, it looks suitably unfathomable and weird and slightly creepy to me:

Looking forward to this very much!


Hi Again

Well hello there strangers and not-so-strangers. It’s a new world out there, or so I’ve been told – who really knows what’s actually going on out there?

It’s been a while, and I apologize for that (but in a ‘sorry to inconvenience everyone because I’m a polite Canadian’ way, not because there’s anything I should be apologizing for). The past several months have been a whirlwind of personal issues and deaths in the family and a few other things I could think of if I bothered, but long story short, I’m healthy, the kids are healthy, I’m still in a relationship, and work is hell. I’ve actually talked about quitting out loud a few times by now, which is a pretty big thing because of how much I (usually) love what I’m doing, but after being thrown under the bus a couple of times, the shiny parts ain’t so shiny no more. I feel a bit like:

(original here)

Plus now the state of emergency means I could become a frontline worker at any time (depending on how things go down). Life, eh?

Anyhoo, enough about that.

In the meantime, I’ve collected like a bajillion (no exaggeration) links about art and other things that I’d like to clear out of my gmail drafts, so in this time of quiet contemplation and creative inspiration that working from home provides us with (please, I’m looking on the bright side), I will try to get some of that content out to you. Plus maybe some photos of my own from time to time.

I am a bit more active on twitter these days (@andtheunicorn, if anyone’s interested), where I try to post a different photo every day or three, plus I like to pretend I’m interacting with the world.

So, today is a ‘hello again’, next two posts are two I’ve had lined up since last August, and we’ll see what happens after that.

Stay healthy, everyone, wash your hands, and best wishes to you all! Special shout-out to all you teachers, shop workers, delivery people, mail persons, and others previously not appreciated but now deemed essential services – most especially to all those in the medical field. ♥ like crazy for you all.