Tag Archives: inspiration

In what distant deeps or skies…

I had that whole poetry stuck in my head problem again while working with tiger’s eye. It’s such a vibrant stone. (This particular one was very lively. And irascible. It kept trying to escape on me!)

So, besides bickering a little with the stone, I can never play with tiger’s eye without Blake running through my head.


The Tyger

by William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

 The Tyger is another piece I enjoy simply for the words themselves. Its symbolism doesn’t really do anything for me (for that I tend more towards John Keats) but I like the rhythm. You can almost feel the powerful beast padding through the forests of the night.

William Blake (1757- 1827) was another denizen of the Romantic era. He was a poet, painter and printer. I generally prefer his poetry to his other work. When I read the line “burnt the fire of thine eyes” it isn’t Blake’s own blocky and marginally striped tiger that comes to mind, but instead the work of another era. Henri Rousseau‘s 1891 painting Suprise! leaps up immediately to take it’s place.

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Filed under Crafts, Gems, Poetry

The Impression that I get

Impressionism is almost a cliché by now- it’s on address books and calendars and dorm room walls.

But I still find it a great inspiration. I feel like I grew up with the French Impressionists. My mother was a fan, and I read Cristin Bjork’s Linnea in Monet’s Garden as a little girl.

Like the girl in the book, I had decided to test this up close dots and splotches and far away sunlit garden effect in person, moving closer and further to watch the magic happen. (Rather to the concern of the security guards and my parents!)

Impressionism as a movement dates from the late 19th century. It was a snide term tossed out in a review of a group show upon seeing Claude Monet’s Impression, Sunrise. (A painting that is famous for giving the movement it’s name, but not so much for being an excellent example of its intent…)

Impression, Sunrise

Impression, Sunrise

Though they’re considered establishment today, in their day the Impressionists were (admittedly briefly) the radicals of the art world. They ignored centuries of received wisdom about color and composition, and the value of detail and precision. Instead they focused on capturing light, finding a way to show the passage of time in the feel of the lighting. They emphasized brush strokes, and by playing with the effects of adjacent colors seen from a distance.

The French Impressionists also tended to take a more human view of the world. Their landscapes had ordinary people, bathers on the coast or people eating lunch. Monet’s famous flowers were from his garden, not plucked out of nature untamed.

They used the world around them, and its people, as their subjects.

Many also took advantage of modern technology, not looking towards an idealized past, but taking in the world around them.

Gritty and dirty and terribly useful, train stations could serve both as models and as the transport that allowed city living artists to get to the countryside in a timely fashion for painting in the open air. Progress in chemistry created new paints which allowed for new shades, and much more affordable variants of the classic ones.


Filed under Art, Historical Facts and Trivia