The Art of Rebecca Kraatz

Tomorrow, I will be going to Dalhousie University’s Killam Library to see award-winning graphic artist, cartoonist and writer Rebecca Kraatz talk about her life, art, and acclaimed graphic novel Snaps.

In preparation for the event I was putting around Rebecca Kraatz’s website and am happy to say I was inspired enough to mention her work on this blog (thus helping to spread her acclaim to literally two or three random folks !).

I enjoy Kraatz’s art because her work often contains at least one of my three of favourite qualities:
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Information Literacy PLEASE

Hear me out:

I wanted to verify the French spelling of Banana so I wouldn’t look uncultured in the SMS I was crafting for my girlfriend. I googled “banana in french” (…but without the quotation marks b/c I wuz B-ing a lazy 1) and looked at a few pages which DIDN’T contain the singular spelling, Hautement frustrant – la! I normally go to Google translate right off the bat because I have enough basic French to be able to sift through the possible translations and find one the fits better than the others. Once again, not sure what I was doing here, but bare with me.

I wound up on the WikiAnswers page for “How do you spell Banana in french.” The page contained the information I sought (Banane, fyi). However, the page was so cluttered with ads that I had to actively search to find the information.

Where do your eyes go first? To the Answer? Or to an Ad?

The girl in the pink shirt really caught my eye. Hey, what’s she doing? Better check the ad out.

Here, check it out for yourself:
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Ore-Yo

Judith G. Klausner (JGK)

This morning when the tendrils of the internet unfurled to collect me for the day I discovered a pearl in their murky folds. A friend, and textile artist, had posted about Judith G. Klausner’s embroidered toast.

Wow, man! Embroidered toast!?!

Jana Sterbak’s Meat Dress, 1991. (Photo: John Major/Ottawa Citizen).

Well, what else are you supposed to do sitting around in your meat dress? The future is now.

In addition to embroidering toast (and possibly buttering some felt) JGK creates stitch work on Chex cereal, wallpaper patterned with condiments, she sculpts with bee related items, as well as parts of her own body. Be sure to check out her authentic eyeball and kidney Leaning Tower of Pisa recreation….
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Crokinole – Not just for Mennonites anymore!


Awhile back I was listening to a podcast about gaming in libraries. Commentator Scott Nicholson was talking about dexterity games. To my surprise he started talking about how Crokinole was worth considering because the boards, which are usually rather ornate and pricey, are finally being produced at a reasonable cost. (To jump to a price list for Crokinole boards click here)
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Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence

Click banner image to go to the Virtual Resource Center

In preparation for an impending consulting job, I’ve been tasked with finding some pictures of “lively,” “vibrant,” and “happening” libraries. Like a good librarian I found the necessary images (liscnesed to be in the public domain, of course). Like a great librarian I also stumbled across some sweet, almost ontopic (ie. however unusable) images of paintings of libraries that did a lot to inspire me personally (advancing me professionally be damned… at least in this context).

Jacob and his wife Gwendolyn are two African Americans who have made a huge, positive contribution to Black culture in North America. While they are both talnted artists, as can be seen in Gwendolyn’s portarit of an actor it is Jacobs library paintings that I’m focusing on.

Jacob Lawrence is a slightly surrealist, cubist, painter (Similarities to Picasso are present in many of his works). I love the way the lines in his paintings both flow to show the current of life, but can also appear rigid and angled giving recognition of the structures exist to herd us and hinder our existence. Here are two examples, the first a flowing scene of children in the library and the second a busy, scene of action and angles in the adult stacks.

See how the energy in this painting flows from the book shelf, through the librarian, and towards the children! (click to enlarge)

The shelves might seem bare in this busy, chaotic, boxed in world, but it is open to interpretation whether this absence of material is due to a obvious demand for circulation or due to a lack of resources that is afforded some coloured communities across North America.(click to enlarge)

I am particularly interested in the heavy use of primary colours (Red, Blue, Yellow) which seem to reinforce the basic necessity of a library’s presence. I often find that the people who are traditionally/systematically discriminated against are the ones who place the most importance on education. I believe this is a source of inspiration for Jacob and a motivating factor in his decision to paint library scenes…. for some reason I am also reminded of Dr. Benedict Mady Copeland from The Heart is a Lonely Hunter… although Jacob Lawrence looks like he’d be less of a crank (just MHO, it’s not like I know the guy!).

The Eleventh Hour

Just whipped up a quick book trailer for Jeff Hirsch’s debut novel, The Eleventh Plague.

It was agreat read and I really wanted to do another book trailer… try out some different flava’s, y’know!

The song in the background is Stem/Long Stem/Transmission 2 off of DJ Shadow’s AMAZING album, Endtroducing. Check out the full song here on the Youtubes.

Hope you like my latest creation:

Cheap Holiday Thrills

First of all, I know this isn’t a “YA topic” but at least it’s a library topic, so ease up on the judgements, Scroogmeister! Moving on…

Figure 1. (click to enlarge)

The faculty of architecture and engineering are having their annual Christmas party in the campus lounge this weekend. On my way to work I saw them setting up the usual gaudy X-mas trinketry, in mid-scoff I was silenced by the presence of Santa’s Chimnery Maze (See figure 1). I’m an adult (legally and in apperance) but I definately wanted to give it it a go… I’m a skinny Man so I could have fit, unfortunately I didn’t have the 20$ one of the decorators claimed was the price for adults. I briefly toyed witht he idea of pushing him down and escaping into the maze, but remembered certain legal expectations of being an adult and decided just to take some pics and be on my way.

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