Monday, December 20, 2010

MLoH #5

1.  Umberto Eco's Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages.  I started reading it on the plane on my way to Hong Kong and have been dipping in and out since I got back.  How inspiring that he wrote this lovely little jewel when he was only 26.  Eco talks about how medieval art theory was rooted firmly in Classical philosophy but became, basically, too big for those traditional britches and evolved into something very distinctive.  He describes the medieval aesthetic as something very sensual and preoccupied with utility and craftsmanship.  Two interesting bits:

"In fact the difficulty which they had in distinguishing beauty and function shows how there was an aesthetic element in every department of life.  They could no more subordinate beauty to goodness or use than they could subordinate goodness and use to beauty."  pg. 80

"There is an ingenuous liking for anything giving an immediate pleasure - and this is an elementary form of aesthetic response; and there is also an uncritical awareness of the materials used in works of art - and awareness that the choice of material is itself a primary and fundamental creative act.  This pleasure in the material, rather than in the shaping process, suggests a kind of commonsense stability in the medieval aesthetic response."  pg. 14
2.  Trader Joe's Fig Bars and Apple Bars.  The former tastes like Fig Newtons, but with better pastry.  The latter is like a much tastier and healthier version of those wax paper packaged apple pies at the checkout line in the supermarket.  You know, the ones that have way too much pastry and practically no filling and just tastes generally too sweet and plasticky.

3.  The prospect of getting my hair cut on Wednesday!  Finally.

4.  Carrie Boucher's work here: Pink Crow Studio.  What a creative and talented metalsmith!  Her work has this great steam-punk/medieval/art nouveau look and is also very well-crafted.  Her sawn edges are smooth and sure from endless sanding and filing, I'm sure.  And her textured surfaces are treated with intention.

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