Subversive Cross Stitching

Cross Stitching is an extremely easy craft to learn and offers immediate gratification. That is why I am never found without a project in my purse and on my nightstand. Unfortunately, however, this craft has become rather typical…I always feel like I’m seeing the same sampler or flower display. That is what makes subversive cross stitching so special…

It is always nice to see a touch of humor and updating brought to a time tested tradition. It brightens it up and makes it more accessible for everyone. Instead of blabbering on for awhile about it, I rather just show you a few pieces. These pieces really speak for themselves…haha!

-C

PS: I tried to not use any too vulgar…but they can get quite funny ;)

Sources:

http://www.casasugar.com/Do-You-Have-Any-Cross-Stitching-Your-Home-3644710

http://thingshelenlikes.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/subversive-cross-stitch/

http://www.flickriver.com/groups/scs/pool/interesting/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12688864@N03/3019526330/

http://indulgy.com/post/oD1Qpo7qK1/jeremiah-junction-counted-cross-stitch-patterns

William Bishop Ford

A common form of art in the 16th-19th century was portrait miniatures. Women would keep them of their husbands who were in the army or away and men would carry ones to remind them of their families. Another popular use was to celebrate the life of a deceased loved one.

Because of the enormous sentimental value and personal attachment to portrait miniatures I was determined to find myself one. Even though I cannot express how much I adore these tiny masterpieces, I was a bit nervous about acquiring one. For the same reasons I love them (their personal value), I also feel that it is difficult to possess something that meant so much to someone.

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It took me about a year to find the perfect one, but eventually I did. The one I found was of three whippets. Perfect, I thought, because animals have a very close connection with their owners, but it is not like I am carrying someone’s husband around on my collar.

(this one’s mine!! =D)

When I first purchased my portrait miniature, I was unaware of who had painted it or how old it was. The back on it had been replaced at some point in time (probably very early 20th century), and was sealed. Being too afraid to remove the backing, for fear of damaging the piece, I decided to research it solely on its technique, medium, and subject.

I was genuinely shocked when I found who I was definite is the artist. I never expected to be able to come up with a definite answer, but there is no doubt about it…my miniature was painted by William Bishop Ford.

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Ford was a British artist who lived between the years of 1832 and 1922. He was a specialist painter of miniature enamels. He apprenticed under William Essex (who perfected the technique of reverse essex glass painting, which is how mine if done). His subjects included many animals as well as people, and the framing used is unmistakable.

This piece has become one of my most prized possessions. I feel such a personal connection to it and am proud to wear it frequently.

-C

Photo Credits:

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery & my collection

The Diamond Jubilee

As many of you probably already know, Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee this year!

When she was only 26, Elizabeth was crowned queen. At birth, she had been third in line of secession and it was extremely doubtful that she would ever gain this position. As chance would have it, however, on February 6, 1952 Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne and one year later (On June 2) she was crowned.

Today kicked off the celebrations with a visit to the Epsom Derby. Surprisingly, the Queen has attended all races here since here coronation in 1952. She even attended one only four days after she was crowned!

The Queen records an annual Christmas Broadcast at Buckingham Palace ©PA

In addition to this, numerous celebrations throughout the weekend will celebrate this rare event. On Monday, the BBC will host a concert at Buckingham Palace. On Tuesday all of the celebrations will result in the largest event yet – a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in central London and two following luncheons…not to mention all of the smaller celebrations taking place all around the world.

It is so exciting to be able to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event and an honor to take part in celebrating it.

-C

Source for information and pictures:

http://www.thediamondjubilee.org/

The Gaza Zoo

 

I have always thought that opening up a zoo of taxidermy would be a wonderful idea. Getting to touch dangerous or exotic animals would be such a mesmerizing experience! However, I recently came across a taxidermy zoo that isn’t quite as enchanting as I expected…

At the Khan Younis Zoo in the Gaza Strip, animals that die are stuffed and then put back on display. Normally, I would cringe at the usage of the word “stuffed” when discussing taxidermy; however in this case that is exactly what is done. Professional taxidermists as well as supplies are scarce here, so the animals are preserved using sawdust and formaldehyde. This grotesque method has led to the animals missing chunks of skin, eyes, and even limbs. This crude method was learned online.

This abundance of decaying animals can be in part due to the lack of veterinary attention (medical advice is given over the phone from a vet in Egypt), hunger, and the dangerous conditions associated with the Gaza Strip.

Conditions don’t improve much for the living animals. In an attempt to create a zebra display, donkeys were painted with stripes. The cages are assembled from fences that surrounded a Jewish settlement in Israel that was dismantled in 2005.

Anti-Israeli propaganda disguised as humorous human interest?

The only animals on display native to the area are the birds. All of the other animals were smuggled in.

Although it is somewhat morbid and macabre, this zoo does provide an otherwise unattainable experience for local children. Many of them would otherwise never get to experience these animals, and even in their despicable state, they are a treat to see.

-C

Photos:

http://exchangegoldforcash.com/money/u-s-government/president/2012-election/breitbart/stuffed-animals-join-live-ones-in-gaza-zoo/

http://www.3news.co.nz/Gaza-zoo-Stuffed-animals-join-live-ones/tabid/1160/articleID/251436/Default.aspx

http://www.youtube.com/blogs/id/n5Zre9kI3CQ

http://undhimmi.com/2009/10/09/friday-photo-those-evil-zebra-denying-jooz/

http://circusnospin.blogspot.com/2012/04/gaza-zoo-puts-stuffed-animals-in-cages.html

Walter Potter’s Whimsical World

A few weeks ago, I posted about rogue taxidermy and featured a photograph of kittens having tea (Kittens Having Tea and Squirrels Dueling). Recently, from some random internet browsing, I discovered who created this piece. It is actually much older than I expected and is not the only unusual piece that this artist created…

Walter Potter started to experiment with taxidermy in 1854 (at the age of 19). Although his profession was traditional taxidermy, he is famous for his anthropomorphic dioramas. These were displayed in his family’s pub, The White Lion.

Some of my favorites:

The Rabbits’ Village School – 1888

Features 48 rabbits performing multiple tasks from math to sewing.

The Upper Ten or Squirrels Club – unknown date

18 European Red Squirrels in a gentlemen’s club.

The Lower Five or Rats Den – unknown date

Companion to The Upper Ten. Made up of 15 Brown Rats in a much more rambunctious setting than the squirrels.

The Kitten Wedding – 1890’s

Potter’s only display with clothed animals.

After the Victorian Era, however, interest in taxidermy wavered. Unfortunately, in 2003 the collection was broken up in an auction. All together, the collection (consisting of 13 pieces) sold for £97,700. It is such a pity that the pieces could not stay together.

A very happy Easter or Passover to everyone!!! =)

-C

Many thanks for the pictures:

http://www.acaseofcuriosities.com/pages/01_2_00potter.html