Sunday, March 6, 2011

Creating Worlds - Looking to the Past for Inspirations

My giveaway is still going on!
Check this post out for details on how to enter.

Wikipedia; image in the public domain

When I am stuck on any kind of a project, there's a couple of default things I do. One is to put on some provocative music. Another is to look at art I admire. But one of my favorite things to do when I'm caught on something is to go to google and look up old books.

To the right is the famous Trés Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. It's a 15th century illuminated manuscript depicting medieval daily life. The activities rendered range from feasts and hunting parties of the upper class to mundane daily routines like harvesters gathering crops from the fields. Everything is done in gloriously rich colors. The garb is authentic and extraordinarily detailed. There are also interesting things such as the astrological symbols at the top, which display things like the seasons and birth signs.

While these things seem mystical, however, there are other, far more mysteriously interesting books out there in the world.

Wikipedia; image is in the public domain
Take for instance, the Voynich manuscript. To this day, no one knows very much about it at all. It is written in an unrecognized language that has eluded code-breakers and linguists for decades. The anatomical, botanical, and astrological illustrations don't seem to make much sense, and there is little to no information about it from primary sources. It remains a tantalizing enigma.

There are hundreds of extant historical documents from around the world. Many of these pieces have been digitized or at least partially digitized in order to preserve them. A quick look on Google will reveal a wonderful array, from renaissance concept sketches by famous painters to medieval maps in fanciful colors. All at your fingertips! This is a fabulous time period to live in.

One more fabulous thing to note: medieval tapestries. Books were not the only means by which people in other time periods could chronicle events or tell stories. Another way was by embroidered or woven tapestries, such as the Bayeux Tapestry---a length of embroidered cloth depicting the Norman conquest.

A fabulous team of historical enthusiasts got together and created the Historical Tale Construction Kit, a free, computerized way for people to tell stories the good ol' fashion Bayeux Tapestry style:

Other fun links and resources:

Turning the Pages: The British Library site
Centre for Heritage Imaging and Collection Care
A collection of the world's most magnificent libraries

Where do you usually turn for your inspiration?

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I'm also excited to share that a certain beloved bead artist has agreed to let me interview her, and two very talented writers and an artist from deviantart are allowing me to share some of their creative work in the upcoming couple of weeks. Exciting stuff! Stay tuned. :D

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Brandon said...

MUSIC! and graffiti art!!

This blog is sweet! Glad I came across it!

check out mine? I'm a photographer!

art2cee2 said...

Wonderful images. I love your new blog design! :-)

Miss Val's Creations said...

I love old images! From time to time I look at my History of Fashion textbook from college which is full of inspiration!!! ~Val

My Life Under the Bus said...

I am very visual and love to look at Belle Armoir Jewelry or any of the Stampington magazines . But also enjoy vintage jewelry and just got a $5.00 20lb book on the Tudors in the clearance section of a book store!!! Wooo Hoo!!! ...and Thank You for featuring my keyhole bracelet - your a sweetheart!!! XO