History

Using Art to Remind by Jeannine Cook

Symbols of past glory, of empire and and global reach, caravels and carracks still sail in Lisbon, woven in Persian 17th century carpets, painted on Japanese screens or even depicted in pavement cobblestones. All reminders of nearly six centuries of empire, for good or for bad. Seeing these emblematic ships at a moment when the Brexit furore is reaching a crescendo in England made me ponder the parallels of the erstwhile Portuguese and British Empires.

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Oak Matters and Art in Derbyshire, England by Jeannine Cook

Haddon Hall, in the Derbyshire Peak District National Park, is a celebration of oaks. Its construction, contents, history and present day lands are hallmarked by oaks. It was thus an extraordinary place in which to be able to draw in metalpoint and prepare an exhibition for September 2019 about oaks and their future. Linking my passions for art and the environment are “Oak Matters”.

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When Art and Embroidery United - Part 2 by Jeannine Cook

Visiting master embroiderer Alain Dodier in Sainte Valiere, Southern France, was like straying into a medieval scriptorium, save that Alain is very much of our time Nonetheless, as he creates intricate vivid scenes in silk embroidery threads, using Bayeux stitching that harks back to the 11th century, his passion and dedication to historical detail and fidelity reminded me of the slow and painstaking creation of illuminated manuscripts that tell stories of great import to Western culture. His seven-meter panel about the Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago de Compostela is one such work.

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When Art and Embroidery Unite - Part 1 by Jeannine Cook

When art meets embroidery in a dark, complex historical tale of Southern France and takes five thousand hours to tell the story, this implies passion, skill, dedication and a deep sense of our need, in today’s world, not to indulge in such destruction. It is an amazing feat of story-telling.

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Tiles that tell Tales by Jeannine Cook

Medieval and Renaissance tiles from the Champagne-Aube regions of France tell a great deal about early French society. The wonderful tile collection at the Musée des beaux-arts or the Musée Saint Loup, in Troyes allows one to peep into earlier worlds. Even though this world was underfoot!

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Basel's Paper Museum: an Artist's Delight by Jeannine Cook

Basel's Paper Museum is a small, extremely well-presented museum that takes one from paper-making to the history of writing, printing, book-binding and many other facets of the world of paper.  As an artist, I was enthralled and found the paper they Museum still makes most tempting and beautiful.

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Plein Air Art - Looking Back (Part 1) by Jeannine Cook

As plein air artists, we are standing on the shoulders of artists who were lovers and orbservers of nature from many centuries ago. This is a celebration of some of these artists in their depictions of the landscape.

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Silk by Jeannine Cook

Silk has always been my favourite material, sensuous to wear yet so practical and comfortable in all weathers. It is always beautiful, whether patterned, plain, embroidered or subtly woven with textures in it.  Even its names - shantung, habutai, tussore, chiffon, taffeta, dupioni, tussah - sound exotic and alluring. One of my earliest connections with silk was the realisation that mulberry leaves, from a tree that I loved and knew well at my home in East Africa, were what feed the silk worms for 35 days, before they are ready to spin a cocoon with their continuous fine silken thread that eventually measures over a mile when it is carefully unwound, prior to being woven into cloth.

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Election Time and Art by Jeannine Cook

Listening to the vitriol of the American Presidential campaign from overseas, it sounded pretty extraordinary. Now that I am back in the United States, I am saddened to hear the tones of stress and angst in many peoples' voices as they talk during these last days of the campaign. My reaction is to wonder how and if people can take refuge in the beauties of nature, of art, of music, dance and other forms of art. Some form of balance is always necessary, even when the stakes are so high for the future of this country and, indeed, the world.

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