Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Art Spirit

Decided to share about two good books today, one old and another one new.

I first discovered The Art Spirit by Robert Henri when in college ( it was the seventies) and read it through not knowing at the time that I would continue to find inspiration there for the next 45 years. It was first published in 1923 and I have two well worn copies, the second purchased when the first could not be found for some reason. Recently, I discovered that the 85th anniversary version is available on Kindle. Somehow the idea of being able to carry it with me wherever I go seemed brilliant and so now I have three copies. If you are not familiar with the book, Robert Henri was renown in his lifetime for being an inspired and articulate art teacher and the book is a compilation of his teachings. When I require comfort food for the artist's soul I reach for The Art Spirit. Yes, the language is a bit dated and the constant referral to the artist in the masculine form is something the modern sensibility will take notice of. I think what draws me to the book again and again is that the love in its pages is palpable, love of art, of teaching and of students.

A quote or two, " When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressing creature. ... He does not have to be a painter or a sculptor to be an artist. He can work in any medium. He simply has to find the gain in the work itself, not outside it."

My personal favorite, "There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign. It was in this hope that the arts were invented."

So if you find yourself in need of some nurturing and some practical advice that stands the test of time try The Art Spirit by Robert Henri.

My art spirit is beginning to blossom in my new space. It took a couple of days to get comfy but now I am working happily.

Notice the new table and chairs, the warp board is hung and the 2014 tapestry Diary is underway.

I've also been working on finishing 2013! The mowing and slit sewing is done on panels one and two and now the third one is coming along. The year in three parts, 2013 the triptych.

I think I will finish them in three separate pieces but hang them together as one.

The studio now has hot and cold running water, in the form of a cooler and notice that the brown insulation is no longer visible between the beams.

I've finished the bottom base for the 2014 Tapestry Diary and coming along with the month of January.

Here is a detail of the month to date, which brings me to the other book I want to share.

I know that I have mentioned The Threads Course in Tapestry by Mette Lise Rossing before but now that I have actually started to study it I find a new respect for this work.

It is a bit expensive to buy here in the US but this is a meaty volume with a great deal of research and work behind it. Here is the link that Rebecca Mezoff provided one more time,

I have been using some of the technical drawings to experiment with in the 2014 TD.

I started on the Twill with ground weave  drawing, variation 14 on page 13 and at the top of this detail is my first experiment with it.

I really like this technique and kept thinking about the possibilities for using it.

At the top of this photo is another experiment with the technique. Here I was wondering how it would look combined with Pick and Pick.

I thought it looked great! It really is my intention to try several of the variations from the book in my TD this year and sprinkle them in every now and then. I have decided to note the dates I try them in my book next to the drawing for each technique.

It may take a while to move on though because right now I am having so much fun with this one. I keep thinking of ways I could use this in a tapestry.

I am happy to be finding joy in the work itself and wishing the same for all.


  1. Thanks or the comments on the books Janette, I will explore further.......also, I love the ebb and flow of those bottom shapes on the TD 2014. I'll be waiting in anticipation.

    1. Thanks Ruth, I am beginning to warm up to it!