Cats, Dogs, Teabowls and Other Things That Influence Artists

Influence and inspiration, are fickle topics to understand even to the best of us, but perhaps none more so than the artistic community. The stories behind art and the artists who created them, what inspires artists and who they inspire in turn, are some of the greatest hidden stories of our time. So in our most recent picks we invite you to look closer at art, at muses, at what inspires, what what influences, and yes, at cats, dogs and Teabowls.

Syndetics book coverCats in art / Desmond Morris.
“The cat, that most graceful, stubborn, and agile of animals,has been a favorite subject of artists the world over from prehistory to the modern day.In his latest book, Desmond Morris tells the compelling story of cats in art. He explores feline art in its many forms, tracing its history from ancient rock paintings to the depiction of cats in cartoons. The result is a beautifully illustrated book that will delight anyone with a Kitty, Max, or Tigger in their life.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA dog a day / Sally Muir.
“It all began with a Facebook post in 2013: ‘My name is Sally Muir and this is a new gallery where I will add a dog drawing/painting every day, adding up to a massive 365 day dogfest.’ As the page grew in popularity, so did Sally’s dog portraits, leading to commissions, exhibitions at prominent galleries, and events. Drawing on artworks from the site, A Dog A Day is a lovingly curated collection and celebration of dogs, perfect for all dog lovers.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe teabowl : East & West / Bonnie Kemske.
“Revered for its associations of its past and its connotations of sophistication and simplicity, the teabowl enjoys an elevated status. Here Bonnie Kemske looks at the form as a whole, considering the history and ideas behind the original tea ceremony, how it moved into contemporary ceramics, and the way it is used today. This book is wide in scope, thorough in detail, and essential reading for anyone involved in making or using these tactile objects.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInside the Freud Museums : history, memory and site-responsive art / Joanne Morra. “Sigmund Freud spent the final year of his life in London, surrounded by all his possessions, in exile from the Nazis. The long-term home and workspace he left behind in Vienna became a seemingly empty space. Now museums, both of these spaces resonate powerfully. Taking us on a journey through the ‘site-responsive’ artworks, Joanne Morra offers a fresh experience of the history and practice of psychoanalysis, of museums and contemporary art.” (AdaptedSyndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe long dream of waking : new perspectives on Len Lye / edited by Paul Brobbel, Wystan Curnow and Roger Horrocks. “Recognized internationally as one of the twentieth century’s great modernist innovators, New Zealand artist Len Lye is most famous for his avant-garde experimental films and for his astonishing and playful kinetic sculptures.  In this collection of essays, writers from New Zealand and overseas consider Lye’s assured place in modern art from a variety of fascinating and thought-provoking angles. ” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of Lent : a painting a day from Ash Wednesday to Easter / Sister Wendy Beckett. This delightful book describes and interprets a series of paintings for each day of Lent. Artists often address subjects that our culture seeks to avoid, and Sister Wendy’s brilliant and perceptive reflections will help you to read these paintings with a more discerning eye and encounter deeper levels of spiritual meaning than may at first appear. (Amazon Summary)

Syndetics book coverGordon Walters : new vision / commissioning editor, Zara Stanhope ; curators, Lucy Hammonds, Laurence Simmons and Julia Waite ; managing editor, Clare McIntosh.
“One of New Zealand’s most influential artists, in a practice spanning 50 years, he explored the seemingly infinite potential of a limited set of geometric forms to create art of increasing refinement. Here we see the first complete picture of the artist’s extensive body of work, offering readers new perspectives on the evolution of Walters’ rigorous abstraction.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverModern art in detail : 75 masterpieces / Susie Hodge.
“Great works of art cannot be fully understood in a single encounter. Modern Art in Detail: 75 Masterpieces spotlights the finer points that even connoisseurs may miss. From the late 19th century to the modern day, it treats each piece on its own merits, but it also views each as part of a tradition, which sees artists pass a baton down through the ages. Moreover, it charts the shift from the supremacy of artistic technique to the dominance of the idea or concept behind the object created.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Bold, unusual necklaces & fabulous craft ideas

We have ideas and inspiration for you in this month’s collection of craft books, with a focus on jewellery — bold unusual necklaces and lots of techniques to get you started. Plus, learn how to make pottery you will love, and use, and explore fabric art journals. Above all, have fun creating.

Syndetics book coverEasy-to-make statement jewelry : bold necklaces to dress up or dress down / editors, Colleen Dorsey & Katie Weeber.
“Style up with bold accessories that you make yourself! DIY Bold & Beautiful Necklaces offers 20 unique jewelry projects that you can create in just one afternoon. From chunky stone and edgy angles to vintage charm, each of these standout necklaces will add instant drama to the simplest of outfits. Even if you never made a necklace before, step-by-step photographs and simple instructions get you started.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSoutache / Donatella Ciotti ; English translation by Burravoe Translation Services.
“Discover Soutache, the art of creating modern and unique jewelry from looped braids. Donatella Ciotti shows you how to create stunning, expensive-looking costume jewelry, from earrings and bracelets to brooches for hats, with full-colour, detailed photography to guide you through each process. There is even a gallery of images at the end of the book to inspire you to create your own, bespoke soutache masterpieces.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFashion jewelry : a beginner’s guide to jewelry making / Courtney Legenhausen of Lotus Jewerly Studio.
“Learn how to make beautiful jewelry from an up-and-coming designer with her own line! Bead stringing, wire wrapping, pearl knotting. This beginner-friendly guide, created by Courtney Legnhausen (owner of Lotus Jewelry), teaches all the basics of fashioning fun and attractive bracelets, rings, necklaces, and earrings. […] Even novices can make chandelier earrings, a pearl bracelet, a stone pendant, and more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaking pottery you can use / Jacqui Atkin.
“Create cups, mugs, bowls, and more pieces that are perfect for you! Everyone who owns a beloved mug that has just the right handle, an agreeably “deep” cereal bowl, or a plate that fits perfectly in the dishwasher knows that once you’ve found these pieces, you wish you had more of them. In Making Pottery You Can Use, you’ll learn how to create the pieces that will work best for you. […] Successful teacher, designer, and author Jacqui Atkin explains how to throw and hand-build pieces that are beautiful and practical, from plates, cups, and saucers to casserole dishes, pitchers, and tureens.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFabric art journals : making, sewing, and embellishing journals from cloth and fibers / Pam Sussman.
“This is the first comprehensive book that offers complete step-by-step instruction and patterns for creating unique book structures from cloth. Fabric Art Journals offers vital information on getting started, from choosing fabrics and creating patterns to basic sewing techniques. In addition to learning how to make various styles of fabric books, readers will learn embellishment techniques that include painting, writing, decorative stitching, print and transfer styles, machine and hand embroidery, and quilting.” (Syndetics summary)

Crafts Extravaganza at the Central Library


The month of May has seen unprecedented activity at the Central Library in the field of Crafts.  Two Showcases on 13 and 14 April brought an enthusiastic crowd to the first floor where members of the public, young and old, watched, shared and experimented with a wide range of crafts experts.

On 21 May guests were invited to mingle with our crafts collection afterhours, during our Crafts Lock-in where they could share and exchange craft techniques and secrets with fellow crafters. Participants had a chance to review and borrow the latest in our crafts books collection, to everyone’s delight. The event was an all out success.