Arts Newsletter for August

There’s good news this month for those of you who like to be cozy and snuggled inside on cold winter evenings – the library has increased the lending period for boxed set DVDs. You can now have your fave TV series, or catch up on some quality TV viewing, over three weeks instead of one. And there’s no extra cost – boxed set DVDs are still only $8. Read all about these changes HERE.

And don’t forget to check out the great new selection of Arts books for this month below!

Library News


This month’s additions include Klimt, Michelangelo & the Renaissance portrait + fabulous new graphic arts books.

Syndetics book coverThe lady in gold : the extraordinary tale of Gustav Klimt’s masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer / Anne-Marie O’Connor.
Shares the events that shaped the creation of the painter’s most famous portrait, covering such topics as the story of the salon hostess who was his model, contributing factors in turn-of-the-century Vienna, and the painting’s fate.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Renaissance portrait : from Donatello to Bellini / edited by Keith Christiansen and Stefan Weppelmann ; essays by Patricia Rubin … [et al.].
“The Renaissance Portrait, which accompanies a landmark exhibition at the Bode-Museum, Berlin, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, provides new research and insight into the early history of portraiture in Italy, examining in detail how its major art centers—Florence, the princely courts, and Venice—saw the rapid development of portraiture as closely linked to Renaissance society and politics, ideas of the individual, and concepts of beauty. Essays by leading scholars provide a thorough introduction to Renaissance portraiture, while individual catalogue entries illustrate and extensively discuss more than 160 magnificent examples of painting, drawing, manuscript illumination, sculpture, and medallic portraiture by such artists as Donatello, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Verrocchio, Ghirlandaio, Pisanello, Mantegna, Antonello da Messina, and Giovanni Bellini. With abundant style and visual ingenuity, these masters transformed the plain facts of observation into something beautiful to behold.” – (adapted from description)

Syndetics book coverEchoes of the future : rational graphic design & illustration / [edited by Robert Klanten & Hendrik Hellige].
“Today’s young graphic designers and illustrators are increasingly taking their visual cues from classic modernism, letterpress printing, and other design styles of the past and using them in their current work. They are not copying them, but rather, they are synthesizing them to create a new aesthetic that emanates quality, timelessness, and sustainability. It is only when confronted with genuine examples from the past that one realizes how clearly different the contemporary work is. Echoes of the Future presents the further evolution of this style trend. The book features recent graphic design and illustration that is deliberately created with a limited palette of forms and colors, which makes the work seem older than it is. The aspiration to visual longevity contrasts sharply with the rapidly shifting styles of previous years that seemed out-of-date almost immediately. Especially in these times of economic uncertainty, more and more brands, products, and businesses are using designs that promote the impression of stability.
Echoes of the Future is a stunning compilation of outstanding work inspired by a collective visual memory that is as contemporary as it is timeless.” – (adapted from description)

Read more


This month’s splendid selection of books offers inspiring knits, stunning jewellery projects, guidelines on designing and printing gorgeous fabrics, as well as ideas and tips for crafters and artists how to create a customized studio in their own home.

Syndetics book coverInside the creative studio : inspiration and ideas for your art and craft space / Cate Prato.
“Embrace your space The professional organizers and editors of Studios magazine give you the tools to create your own one-of-a-kind artistic environment. Learn how to find space in your home, whittle down your stash, and get tips on maximizing your storage and organization. Experts will also show you how to repurpose furniture, recyclables, and vintage items to establish a space with function and personality. Spend less time making your studio work and more time actually creating. Inside the Creative Studio offers imaginative and unique solutions for every lifestyle, regardless of money, time, or space. Artists and crafters of all types-quilters, fiber artists, mixed-media artists, jewelry makers, sewists, painters, and more-share their stories, tips, and images of putting together their customized creative spaces. From spacious oases to cute and compact retreats, each studio offers countless inspirational ideas.” – (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book cover101 tees : restyle + refashion + revamp / Cathie Filian.
“The best way to find a t-shirt that suits you to a T is to make one!Popular craft personality Cathie Filian has dreamed up more than 101 ways to embellish, customize, and transform the everyday t-shirt into something truly fashionable. Beginners will find Cathie’s projects wonderfully easy and creative–and the 10 technique-themed chapters give crafters plenty to choose from. Just take a shirt of any type–from crew neck to long-sleeved–and cut and stitch, embroider, paint, dye, image transfer, or add rhinestones, ribbons, and other trim. The result will be gorgeous!” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMastering the art of fabric printing and design : techniques, tutorials, and inspiration / Laurie Wisbrun.
“This definitive guide outlines everything you need to know to design and print gorgeous fabrics. Inside, you’ll find step-by-step tutorials for designing patterns (both digitally and by hand); a comprehensive section on printing techniques, including screen printing, stenciling, block printing, resist dyeing, and digital printing; hundreds of gorgeous photos; and insider tips for developing your collection and bringing it to the marketplace… Features interviews with established designers such as Skinny laMinx, Ink & Spindle, and Julia Rothman.” – (adapted from Book Cover)

Read more


These recent picks focus on the design that literally surrounds us every day. Several of these titles examine the ways architecture has adapted to the current economic and environmentally aware times and show how these restrictions can result in great design.

Syndetics book coverGroundwork : between landscape and architecture / Diana Balmori and Joel Sanders.
“The current environmental crisis calls for a unified practice of landscape and architecture that would allow buildings and landscapes to perform symbiotically to heal the environment. Over the past ten years, a diverse group of architects, landscape architects, and artists have undertaken groundbreaking projects that propose an integration of landscape and architecture, dissolving traditional distinctions between building and environment. Groundwork: Between Landscape and Architecture examines twenty-five projects, on an international scale, that consider landscape and architecture as true reciprocal entities.” – (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverHandmade houses : a century of earth-friendly home design / Richard Olsen.
“The first study of the handmade-homes phenomenon since its inception in the late 1960s, Handmade Houses revisits the subject’s roots and history, exploring how these homes and their owners paved the way for the architectural-salvage business and the reclaimed, industrial look ever-popular today. As fascinating as the structures are themselves, their owners—professionals and amateurs who personally designed and built each residence—offer their inspirations and stories behind the convention-defying homes. Design lessons are gleaned from each home—some examples of environmentally aware construction with applicable tips for use in more mainstream scenarios. Handmade Houses is an important and relevant volume to be appreciated by anyone interested in environmentally friendly design, craft, and the expression of personal style in the home. ” – (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverNano house : innovations for small dwellings / Phyllis Richardson.
“This wonderful compilation of photos accompanied by brief, informative essays presents a definitive review of micro-habitations, or “nano houses.” A variety of shapes and designs from around the globe are presented to exhibit how one can downsize and still live luxuriously. Though some homes are intricate and ornate-like the sophisticated, complex “Moon Dazzler” in Guanacaste, Costa Rica with bamboo screens for walls-others, like the Czech Republic’s “Villa Hermina,” display a cozy minimalism. The appropriately-named and barrel-esque German model, “Roll-It,” along with the egg-shaped Belgian “Blob” demonstrate how small can still be both innovative and surprisingly comfortable. Design and architecture enthusiasts as well as readers concerned with environmental issues and alternative housing will find this book informative and inspiring. Photos. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)

Read more

Classical Music

These classical music picks highlight some new releases in chamber music – both ensemble and opera, a recording that traverses the boundary between orchestral jazz and contemporary classical, and a new release for lovers of English music history.

String quartets / by Dmitri Shostakovich and his contemporaries (volume 1) and String quartets / by Dmitri Shostakovich and his contemporaries (volume 2)
Cover ImageCover Image“[T]he Pacifica Quartet is one of the best chamber ensembles out there…even so, there’s no dearth of fine Shostakovich cycles, from the Borodin Quartet to the Emerson. These performances, every bit as fine as those, would be excellent by themselves, but they do risk getting lost in the discographic shuffle. So it was an inspired idea to pair them in this series with other important works in the same medium by Shostakovich’s contemporaries…. A great start to a very promising series.” – (adapted from ClassicsToday.comreview)

Cover ImageThe Okavango Macbeth [sound recording] / [music by Tom Cunningham].
“The Macbeth story as played out in a troupe of baboons in Botswana? This fanciful idea inspired the writer Alexander McCall Smith and the composer Tom Cunningham to come up with their chamber opera, The Okavango Macbeth. Set in the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana, the opera deals with the efforts of an ambitious female baboon, Lady Macbeth, to encourage her husband, Macbeth, to murder the dominant baboon, Duncan…[I]n this extraordinary and unusual tale, a new operatic gem has emerged.” – (adapted from Liner notes)


Syndetics book coverEverything you ever wanted to know about classical music but were too afraid to ask / Darren Henley and Sam Jackson.
“Just what exactly is classical music …and why should it be a part of everyone’s life? Who are the big names behind the classical hits …and which are the best recordings of their music? What are you supposed to wear to a classical concert …and when on earth are you supposed to applaud? ‘Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Classical Music …But Were Too Afraid to Ask’ answers these questions and much more. In the pages of this book, Darren Henley and Sam Jackson set out to make the classical world not only accessible, but also disarmingly simple and utterly engrossing, as they share their passion for the greatest music ever written. Celebrating 20 years of the world’s most successful classical music radio station, this book lifts the lid on the burning questions that Classic FM’s listeners have most often asked over the past two decades. Three sections steer you through the terminology and etiquette of classical music, open the fascinating history of the genre and its key figures over the last 1,000 years, and provide a detailed reference guide. Since its transmitters were first switched on in 1992, the team behind Classic FM has believed that classical music can and should be a part of everyone’s life, no matter who they are or where they live. So, whether you are a long-time listener or completely new to the genre this book equips you to begin your own personal journey of discovery into the world’s greatest music.” – (adapted from summary)

Read more