Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Paper in Three Dimensions

Paper is one of the most economical and versatile of mediums. We handle this material every day, using it in its 2 dimensional form. However, with a few basic tools and some time set aside one can create an amazing array of 3 dimensional crafts.

The San Francisco Public Library has a good selection of books on the subject of paper work. Paper in Three Dimensions by Diane Maurer-Mathison gives an idea of the breadth of possible projects. The author writes: "Sheets …can be folded, twisted, bent and curled, woven, slit, stitched, layered, collaged, wrapped, embossed, and manipulated in myriad ways to create fine craft and artworks." Even more possibilities are presented when you make your own paper…

Each the chapters in the book describes a different type of paper craft. At the beginning of each chapter, there is an introduction giving some history of the technique and the properties that this method lends to the paper. The next section gives a list of supplies needed and goes over basic skills that are used during this process. This is followed by instructions for more in-depth projects, some with step by step photographs. The last feature of each chapter is a "Gallery Tour," consisting of paper artists’ work.

Pennsylvania Woodlands II by Nancy Lenore Cook

The back matter of the book includes contact information for manufacturers and wholesale distributors, as well as for the featured artists. A bibliography and index round out the last section.

Paper in Three Dimensions: Origami, Pop-ups, Sculpture, Baskets, Boxes, and More by Diane Maurer-Mathison (Watson-Guptill, 2006).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Do Museums Still Need Objects?

One of San Francisco's great attractions is its museums. Over the past couple of decades a number of new museums have opened, or established institutions have moved into new buildings. This is happening as museums as an institution are going through a period of re-definition.

Do Museums Need Objects is a deeply thought out reconsideration of museums and their collections. Author Steven Conn argues that originally, for museums, the classification of the object was thought sufficient to convey its meaning, but now the public has “lost faith in the ability of objects alone to tell stories and convey knowledge.” Furthermore museums have come to collect objects of many different types and functions and make use of these objects in a variety of new ways.

Today museums must find a balance between being a public and a corporate institution, and being a place for education and entertainment. Conn notes that the museum originally came into existence as a warehouse for objects but today the museum also treats itself as an object. The museum today has a “civic and social function” that goes beyond the exhibit. Museums go beyond the display of objects to include events like concerts, film screenings and social functions.

Another way that Conn takes up objects is according to their cultural value and genealogy. He looks at the controversial topic of repatriating objects that have been removed from their cultures or countries of origin.

Do Museum Still Need Objects is a serious, scholarly look at role and meaning of museums today. Other recent titles that also consider this topic include Museums in a Troubled World by Robert R. Janes and Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience by John H. Falk.

Do Museums Still Need Objects? by Steven Conn (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010).

Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience by John H. Falk (Left Coast Press, 2009).

Museums in a Troubled World: Renewal, Irrelevance or Collapse? by Robert R. Janes (Routledge, 2009).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holiday Song Collections

Every holiday season we move a selection of our Christmas-themed song collections to the Art, Music & Recreation Center reference desk for quick and easy access.

Our two most paged Christmas songbooks are both fake books -- The Real Christmas Book and the Ultimate Christmas Fake Book. Both of these collections provide stripped down arrangements of the songs with only their melody, chord progression and lyrics.

The Christmas Hits Sheet Music Playlist is our best circulating songbook. (But, of course all our copies are borrowed already since it's so close to the holidays). Frosty the Snow Man and Other Christmas Songs is also very popular every year.

Frosty The Snow Man and Other Christmas Songs (Big 3 Music Corp., 1970?).

Christmas Hits Sheet Music Playlist (Alfred Pub. Co., 2008).

The Real Christmas Book for C instruments (Hal Leonard, 2008).

The Ultimate Christmas Fake Book
(Hal Leonard, 1992).

Related entries:

Holiday Music For the Beginning Pianist (December 2, 2008).

May Your Holidays Be Filled With Music (December 5, 2007).

The Fake Book Collection and Index (July 30, 2007).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Architecture: A World History

Architecture: A World History is a thick pocket-sized book presenting the broad sweep of architecture through the ages. Arranged chronologically from the earliest prehistoric structures, this book presents medium’s evolution up through some of the more innovative works of the early 21st century. Its 512 pages include more than 600 color illustrations of buildings from throughout the world.

The book is divided into 10 sections, each encompassing an historical epoch -- “Pre- and Early History,” “Antiquity and Early Christianity,” Romanesque,” “Gothic,” Renaissance,” Baroque,” “Neoclassicism,” “19th Century,” “20th Century 1900 to 1945,” and “Architecture after 1945.” Each section begins with a time line and consists of a series of two to four page chapters on the various styles, movements, regions or architects deemed most significant during that period. The earliest named architects appear in the Renaissance; the following sections are all dominated by the notable creators in the field. These entries include brief biographies and note each architect's major works, usually including a color photograph.

There are sections including non-Western buildings such as East Asian Religious Architecture, Ancient Pueblos, Southeast Asia (limited to the 11th to 15th centuries), the Mughal Empire, etc... However, the greatest attention is given to monumental works of the West. There are also chapters on Urban Planning (in Paris) and on Building Techniques (most of the sections include such a chapter).

The book includes a helpful and detailed index. Individual buildings are indexed under the heading of the country where they are located. Architect and architectural styles are also indexed. Terms defined in the course of the text are included here, in italics.

Architecture: A World History is a visually exciting, information-packed introduction to architecture and buildings through the ages. It is an excellent resource for the autodidact wishing to master the fundamentals of the subject, or for someone interested in skimming the rich variety of structures created by human-kind across the millennia.

Architecture: A World History
by Daniel Borden Jerzy Elźanowski, Cornelia Lawrenz, Daniel Miller, Adele Smith and Joni Taylor (Abrams,2008).