Oct 29 2010

Crowd at New York’s American Union Bank during
a bank run early in the Great Depression.

The stock market crashed on Tuesday, October 29, 1929. I suppose everyone knows someone in their family who was ruined by The Great Depression. When I speak with people about those years, most everyone suffered and had to cut back on their living standards. In addition, however, were those who were living in wealthy circles and overnight, lost great fortunes, relegating them to what they considered poverty.

“Anyone who bought stocks in mid-1929 and held onto them saw most
of his or her adult life pass by before getting back to even.”

Richard M. Salsman

There was a high level of prosperity during the 1920s.
Most people felt the country would never go back

Rethinking the Great Depression is a very informative book by Gene Smiley. It is good for formally educated economics students and also, for beginners without such a background. All readers will have a better understanding of the Depression period which technically only lasted from 1929-1933, but whose repercussions are remembered as lasting throughout the 1930s.

If you would like to learn more about the great Depression and the effects it
had on all facets of American life, hover your mouse over the link below:

Rethinking the Great Depression (American Ways Series)



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Oct 01 2010

How could I have a web site theme of The Depression Era and not mention John Steinbeck’s book, The Grapes of Wrath written in 1939? I couldn’t. Nope, can’t be done. The Grapes of Wrath has to be mentioned and in detail. So, here goes….

On the Amazon web site, one of the reviewers sums it up pretty well. Let’s hear from Ned Middleton, a British professional underwater photo-journalist and author, when he writes,

“Today the world is either in recession or emerging from the dark grip of this latest financial catastrophe. Whilst we may live in a time when millions of families are no longer allowed to starve to death – well, not in the developed world at any rate, I earnestly believe there are lessons to be learned from this book about the rich and powerful who care not for their fellow man but only for personal gain. More importantly, those lessons are as relevant today as they were in 1939.”

Yep…I’d say that connects the Depression to the Recession better than I ever could. But wait, there’s more! Here are two current videos that connect the dots between John Steinbeck’s book and our times as well:

How John Steinbeck came to write The Grapes of Wrath.

 

Gabe Johnson, New York Times, discusses
the similarities between the 1930s and today.

 

If you are interested in previewing the book, hover
your mouse over the link: The Grapes Of Wrath

For an enlightening discussion on the connection of The Grapes of Wrath to the struggle of the Exodus in the Old Testament click on this link.



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Sep 21 2010

Have you been frustrated while trying to sew for yourself or family? Well, I can understand. I experienced this disableing emotion quite a bit when I was learning sewing as a child. The patience it took to plod incrementally through a sewing project, “do this, then this, then this” was so didactic for someone who loved colors and wanted to combine them to see the final effect. I wanted to hurry up and get things finished!

Talk about SHABBY! Kitty says she never worries about
construction technique and gets along just fine.

But how did that finished project look? Well…a little shabby and homemade, I suppose. And so, for a while my sewing efforts abated while I finished high school, disappointed that I “couldn’t sew” no matter “how hard I tried.” Then, I was facing going to college on my own and stayed out a year, between high school and college, to make money and sew clothes. But! I had to face lots of demons to conquer my bad attitude about sewing for myself. I decided I had to change and, where before, I was sewing seams by eye that looked like 5/8.” now I was going to measure every seam line and draw it on the wrong side of the fabric with a pencil. That was what I decided to do and that is what I did.

Home sewing saves money and allows a greater selection of style.

And it worked! First I made a pair of culottes, then blouses, dresses, skirts and all sorts of things to wear. At the time, in the early 1970s, I could get on a bus, go to J.C. Penny’s and buy, on the clearance rack, a yard of fabric for 33 cents! So, needing three yards of fabric for a dress, I could make a dress for a dollar.

But, don’t fret, once you get into sewing, if you’re not already, you’ll find the savings are proportionally just as great today.

You’ll find the more you visit Sunbonnet Smart, the
more you’ll want to create things yourself. It’s fun!

Come back for lessons, patterns and a guiding hand.



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Sep 03 2010

A couple of listings ago, I showed you my first and only attempt at marble sculpture, performed under the tutelage of Professor Kenneth Campbell at the University of Maryland, College Park. Professor Campbell was such an interesting person, and his work so acclaimed, I thought maybe you would like to learn more. For the other listing, go here.

Kenneth Campbell (1913 – 1986)

I found an attractive, compelling Kenneth Campbell sculpture, Nike, here to share with you.

Nike

“I … give to each stone an awareness of its own sense of gravity, making it seem as mobile as I am.” Kenneth Campbell speaking in 1962, University of Kentucky Art Gallery Exhibition Catalogue, 1967

“Kenneth Campbell “sees” the final image within each piece of stone
before starting to work, and rarely deviates from this initial idea.
He never uses power tools, but prefers to have direct contact with
the materials. Campbell manipulates the stone to give an appearance
of weightlessness, by balancing huge pieces at apparently impossible
angles. Nike may have been inspired by the Winged Victory of Samothrace,
a Hellenistic Greek sculpture that depicts the goddess Nike as she
descends from flight.” (Smithsonian label text)

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called the Nike of Samothrace, is a second century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory). Since 1884, it has been prominently displayed at the Louvre and is one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world. Nike of Samothrace, discovered in 1863, is estimated to have been created around 190 BC. It was created to not only honor the goddess, Nike, but to honor a sea battle. It conveys a sense of action and triumph as well as portraying artful flowing drapery through its features which the Greeks considered ideal beauty. If you would like to read more, go here.

Here is an interesting tribute to Kenneth Campbell by one of his students from the University of Maryland, Ben Gage. Ben has a blog on his life as a sculptor and his tribute reveals many of Kenneth Campbell’s thought processes. In case you don’t go to read the tribute, I am enclosing some of Mr. Gage’s words as they are so interesting, revealing that the world of two dimensional painting is not as virtual as three dimensional sculpture. One cannot physically interact with a painting as it is placed on a wall, but sculpture can be appreciated virtually by the fact that it is with us in three dimensional space:

Mr. Gage writes, “As an artist, most of the time, except for your own work, you’re only allowed to look at other’s work. You cannot touch it. If it’s a painting, a photo or wall piece, you cannot look at the back of the piece to see how it’s made. If it’s a sculpture put against a wall you can’t get critical distance to understand the 3rd dimension. We learn to know Art mostly as a visual experience and that becomes a valuable virtual tool.

Stone sculpture does not exist only in the visual world. It can be heavy, big and dangerous. Injuries happen all the time. Handling it requires an intuitive reading of balance and weight. Damage usually happens on the first move. With the variety of forms we handle, from ancient to modern, the ability to adjust equipment, tools and personnel brought to the job, immediately, describes the quality of our efforts. Handling these sculptures in Museums, Galleries and Private Collections is an eye opener. You have to be perfect not just in the technical aspects of the project but also in the protocol with everyone involved. There’s a lot at stake. Communication of intention and then it’s execution defines us. Ambiguity equals doubt. As an example, generally, if you go to any collection with 19th century marble sculptures you will see that most if not all are chipped at the bases. It’s understandable for ancient sculptures to be damaged; visually the broken parts have been fuel for artists the last few centuries, but in more recent times the chipping is the result of failed moves and a reflection of the quality of the art handlers and their techniques. It is unacceptable now.”

Ben Gage, with his experience in moving heavy works of art, now moves many of the finer art pieces in and around Washington, D.C. He has a blog on art handling found here and displays a video of what it took to move a marble sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, a very famous sculptress who just died in 2010 after an illustrious career. She is so wonderful…that I can feel I’m going to have to continue this sculpture blog under the Sunbonnet Smart Beauty: Visual Arts tab and tell you all about Ms. Bourgeois soon. Stay tuned!



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Aug 26 2010

I find Harold S. Kushner’s books very helpful.

When I was little and thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up, my main goal was to have life interesting. I didn’t want routine. I didn’t want to be bored and I have gotten my wish. It has been a very interesting life so far. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I have always felt that everyone’s “good things” and “bad things” even out over a lifetime, and because I have had some stupendously wonderful things happend, that gift has been balanced by having some horribly debilitating things happen. It is easy to get through the good times, but when things in your life get so complicated that you can’t figure your way through it, try flipping through the pages of a book such as this one. When Good Things Happen to Bad People and the rest of Harold S. Kushner’s books are worth considering. They have always helped me hold on until I felt more balanced.

If you would like to preview When Bad Things Happen to Good People, hover your mouse over this link:

When Bad Things Happen to Good People



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