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ILONACAT (WIRRAL, ENGLAND)

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A Kayak Full of Ghosts: Eskimo Folk Tales (International Folk Tales)
A Kayak Full of Ghosts: Eskimo Folk Tales (International Folk Tales)
by Lawerence Millman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.87

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prepare for strangeness. . ., 3 Mar. 2006
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The Eskimo peoples live in an extreme environment. It thus stands to reason that their tales will also be extreme, concerned with hunger, disease, cannibalism, madness. Such subjects do, of course, make good copy the world over. What is striking here, though, is the matter-of-fact way in which they are explored. A woman marries a blowfly because she's fond of him ; other people get murdered for equally dead-pan reasons.
Some of these stories are funny, in a twisted kind of way, others are magical, others are disturbing. There's quite a lot of sex and violence and excrement, so be warned
What bothers me is not the subject matter but that the author has, by his own admission, altered these tales ; he hasn't simply recorded what he heard from the Eskimo storytellers. One issue here is : does an outsider have the right to tamper with other people's stories ? If we concede that he might have such a right, the problem becomes : which elements of the tale have been altered ? Which elements have been exaggerated/trivialized/bowdlerized/edited out altogether ? And what impact does that have on how we hear the story and, by extension, perceive the culture ? There are no easy answers , and I acknowledge that Millman is not claiming to be an anthropologist, but I do think it needs to be pointed out.


Birdwing
Birdwing
by Rafe Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Enchantment and danger, 3 Mar. 2006
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This review is from: Birdwing (Hardcover)
You may know the tale of the six brothers turned into swans by an evil stepmother and how only five of them fully return to their human form when the curse is lifted. The sixth and youngest brother is left with a wing where one of his arms should be. This is the story of that brother.

On one level, it's a story of how a boy comes to manhood through a series of adventures. On another, it's an exploration of disability and difference-blessing or curse ? or both ? It is beautifully and sensitively written, very atmospheric, and with wonderful characters. There's a wizard, two automatons, a goose-girl, a horse with attitude, also a woman who is an owl and may also be a bear. If this sounds too much, I can only say that Rafe Martin handles it all superbly. It's a spellbinding read and I feel the richer for it.


The Art Doll Chronicles: A Collaborative Journey of Discovery
The Art Doll Chronicles: A Collaborative Journey of Discovery
by Catherine Moore
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into creativity, 26 Feb. 2006
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It was a real pleasure receiving this book and setting aside an evening to delve into it properly. It records the round-robin journey of 9 art dolls. There is a detailed, technique-focussed chapter on how the dolls were made and then an equally detailed chapter made up of the journals which accompanied the dolls. These journals were an opportunity for the artists to record their impressions of each doll and of the process itself ; sometimes, the entries are written in the doll's voice !
What emerges is a picture of 9 dolls who are really 9 fascinating individuals. It's also interesting to hear of how the artists felt about each stage of the work. I have never made a doll-or an art doll-in my life but other people's creative processes enthrall me. And artistic collaborations enthrall me too.
A very well presented, attractive book. Full marks.


The Soul's Palette: Drawing on Art's Transformative Powers for Health and Well-being
The Soul's Palette: Drawing on Art's Transformative Powers for Health and Well-being
by Cathy Malchiodi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.89

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, 17 Feb. 2006
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Of the various books I have about art therapy-therapy in the widest sense-this is the one I go back to most often. It is chock-full of ideas, and you don't feel you need to know complicated techniques or to have expensive art materials to implement them.
Malchiodi explains how to make a "safe box", a self-soothing image journal and a medicine pouch or bag, as well as giving lots of ideas for collages, paintings, journals, etc. etc. She also covers issues such as your personal history as an artist-"Every child is an artist," Picasso said- inner critics and outer critics, the artist's need for their own space, also how art can be made in communal settings and as a force for healing within communities as well as for the individual. She is an experienced art therapist and really does know what she is talking about.
I really can't fault this book. It is well-written, not preachy, not psychobabbly, not full of New Age jargon (or any other kind), and could equally well inspire a complete beginner and a professional artist. It is also a paperback, therefore easy to carry about with you.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 26, 2010 11:07 AM GMT


The Fairy Ring: An Oracle of the Fairy Folk
The Fairy Ring: An Oracle of the Fairy Folk
by Anna Franklin
Edition: Cards
Price: £31.63

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful fairy cards and book, without fluff, 15 Feb. 2006
If you think fairies are twee little things with fragile wings and impossibly gentle manners, think again. This oracle deck will introduce you to fairies who are mischievous, enigmatic, sometimes downright scary, as well as fairies with a more obviously beneficient side-in fact, a good cross-section of fairies from the British and Irish traditions.
The art is stunning, sensitively done with digital software and exuding a real sense of place-you can almost smell the leaves, or the mist. There are 4 suits divided into the 4 seasons of the year, each suit of cards bordered with a different design of leaves and flowers. Then there are 8 cards appertaining to the 8 traditional festivals of the year, starting with Imbolc (February 1st) and ending with Yule ( round about the same time as Christmas).
There are several extra cards giving some unique spreads for readings. But I sometimes use this oracle just by drawing one card and then meditating on it for the day. The book by Anna Franklin is well-researched and interesting.
The team that produced this lovely oracle are also behind the Sacred Circle Tarot, another exploration and celebration of the pagan traditions of these islands.


Pink Panther with Sticker (DK Ultimate Sticker Books)
Pink Panther with Sticker (DK Ultimate Sticker Books)
by Laura Gilbert
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun, 15 Feb. 2006
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I grew up with the Pink Panther, so to speak. And now I've discovered him again in this lovely sticker book. It appeals to the kid in all of us. . . as well as to actual children, of course. You can incorporate these stickers into the actual book if you want to.
I dare you not to smile when you see this product !


The Fairies in Tradition and Literature (Routledge Classics)
The Fairies in Tradition and Literature (Routledge Classics)
by Katharine Briggs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent subject, and a great read, 15 Feb. 2006
Katharine M.Briggs was THE specialist in British fairylore. None of her works should be out of print-sadly some of them are, or very hard to find. If you want it dispelled once and for all that fairies are twee little creatures with gossamer wings, come here-Ms Briggs will introduce you to hags, monsters, goblins and boggarts you never knew existed. It's also good to have a book that is totally free of New Age flim-flam about this fascinating subject. Briggs is a scholar allright, but nowhere does she commit the sins of obscurantism, dry prose or tedious footnotes.
I have only one criticism-the book's cover is so boring, and it could so easily have had wonderful and enthralling images on it. Still, I'm giving maximum points because this book is such a treat.


Dore's Illustrations for the Fables of La Fontaine (Dover Pictorial Archives)
Dore's Illustrations for the Fables of La Fontaine (Dover Pictorial Archives)
by Gustav Dore
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Work of a genius, 5 Feb. 2006
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Extraordinarily, Gustave Dore never had an art lesson in his life. By the age of 16, however, he was working in Paris as France's most highly-paid illustrator. Over the course of the next few decades he illustrated many classics as well as doing ground-breaking work such as the magnificent (and disturbing) depictions of Victorian London. One of the classics was the Fables of La Fontaine. La Fontaine's poems are not reproduced here but there is a synopsis of each one beneath the relevant print.
The prints are all here, and they are all wonderful. Dore depicts people, animals, landscapes both idyllic and spooky, funny situations, poignant situations, tragic situations-he could do it all.
Well done to Dover Publications for championing this great artist-they have published much of his work in this attractive softback format, easy to carry about (though also big enough to do the details justice) and very reasonably priced.


Baroque and Rococo Pictorial Imagery
Baroque and Rococo Pictorial Imagery
by Cesare Ripa
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An underrated treasure, 5 Feb. 2006
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In our own times, when art is often accorded merit on the basis of its originality, it is difficult to imagine a time when artists-and writers-regularly consulted a book of iconography before starting work. This Iconologia is such a work. It was originally compiled by the Italian Cesare Ripa in the late sixteenth century and consisted of text but, strangely, no images. This book is almost a reversal of that-there are 200 prints by Johann Georg Hertel ( who worked in Augsburg in the eighteenth century) and only a basic text.
The prints are magnificent, highly-detailed depictions of vices, virtues, characters and emotions.You notice a new detail every time you look at an image. Ripa-and Hertel-drew heavily on Classical sources, also on medieval sources such as illuminated bibles, bestiaries and the like.
If you are looking at anything-art, architecture, sculpture-dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this book is a must to understanding the complex and fascinating symbolism. The book is well-produced by the excellent Dover Publications ; it is also very reasonably priced.


Messy Thrilling Life: The Art of Figuring Out How to Live
Messy Thrilling Life: The Art of Figuring Out How to Live
by Laurie Wagner
Edition: Paperback

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the third journal by Sabrina, 2 Feb. 2006
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Sabrina Ward Harrison, a young American artist, has already published two other journals in this style-a lot of text, a lot of collage, a lot of mixed media. I like the messiness and the way she is open to new experience-nothing feels contrived here. It is not superb set-pieces, nor should it be-this is a real journal by a real person. This particular journal was kept by SWH during the time she spent living in New York City-a world away from her California home and a vibrant inspiring place for any artist. Some of these pages were made in the wake of the September 11th attacks.
What still bothers me about SWH is her apparent level of self-absorption. Yes, this is a journal and journals, almost by definition, are self-absorbed, embarrassingly so at times. But "What will I do with my life ?" is a refrain I'm tired of hearing. It's the NOW that interests me.
However, full of inspiration for anyone wanting to keep a mixed media journal. I like it.


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