Carving Cat: What is America to me?

BarbaraAnne, “National boundaries change. What happens when you are left behind? What happens when your people have inhabited a land for 9000 years, and others who conquered it less than 200 years ago call them foreigners? As a native son, how do you become an artist, make beauty out of alienation, and find your identity?…Continue Reading

Carving Cat: Mammoth Ivory Hair Comb for Sale

On offer is the first Art Comb I’ve made, from a rather unique material. First, the design motif: I wanted to create a unique design style with organic flow, as my work would incorporate only so-called ‘organic’ materials and gemstones. The center jewel is abalone. However, the most prominent material in this comb is mammoth…Continue Reading

Lluís Masriera and Modernisme in Catalonia

Art Nouveau’s main ingredients were the Symbolists, who believed that art should reflect the truth indirectly as if in a dream; the flat perspective and strong colors of Japanese wood block prints; and Japanese organic forms and representations of nature. Out came the curvilinear forms of Art Nouveau, which lasted only 20 years (1890-1910). In…Continue Reading

Jen Cruse: Mauchline Ware and Combs – Scottish Souvenirs of the 19th Century

Mauchline Ware is a distinctive form of Scottish decorative treen, said to have originated in the Ayrshire (now Strathclyde) town of Mauchline in the late 18th or early 19th century. The wooden articles, generally known as Mauchline Ware, were made of Scottish planewood or sycamore (sometimes black lacquered) and were wide ranging in both design…Continue Reading

Lalique Tiaras: From God to a Rooster’s Breakfast

The setting of gems is profound meditation. How can a tiara or crown give its wearer the verisimilitude of God on Earth? Rene Lalique couldn’t care less. He transformed the appearance of jewelry with new themes. Combining French Symbolist philosophy with ideas from Japanese art, he incorporated gem setting into raptors’ claws in this comb,…Continue Reading

Jen Cruse: The Swastika Motif

The comb in the photograph, a celluloid low back comb (simulating tortoiseshell), was bought in an Antique shop in Quebec City in 1995 for C$50 (£30). The decorative band along the heading, fixed to the comb by three rivets, comprises two clockwise pointing swastikas set with clear paste-stones, placed between three flower and leaf motifs…Continue Reading

Jewish Burial Combs

“Ritual purification before God” defines Jewish burial. The liturgy and ceremony to prepare the body is called taharah, from the Hebrew verb taher, “be pure.” The Torah first mentions it in Genesis 35:2 – “Then Jacob said… Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments.” Photo: Jewish…Continue Reading

The Creative Museum in Exhibition: Le Japon Amoureux

The Museum of African and Asian Arts in Vichy, France, resides in a 19th Century residence and contains collections, which were gathered by Christian missionaries from both continents. The Creative Museum was one of the representatives invited to share their private collection for the real-life exhibition, “Le Japon Amoureux,” whose opening was quite the event.…Continue Reading