It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Woman's Painted Furniture - American Schoolgirl Art

American teenage girls in the turn of 18- and 19th centuries were trained to produce disciplined handwork to prove to potential suitors that they had patience and refined tastes. The best known examples of American Teenage girls’ handwork are samplers embroidered with landscapes and poetry. The girls also learned to paint floral motifs on maple, birch or satinwood using combination of inks and a color wash or watercolor which then was sealed with shellac. The paintings were often combined with beautiful script written with reed or quill in American round hand, a less ornamented form of the English round hand. A few hundred of the wooden objects are known to have survived in museums and private collections.

Betsy Krieg Salm, a historian in Interlaken, N.Y., is the author for a beautifully illustrated, comprehensive study of “Women’s Painted Furniture, 1790-1830: American Schoolgirl Art” (University Press of New England). In addition to the documentation of the cultural and aesthetic history of the form she also includes a detailed description of the process, tools and techniques used by the woman artists during 1790-1830 during the time the watercolor paintings on wooden furniture were very popular among them. Majority of the 268 images included in this book are not available elsewhere. The styles, designs, and patterns of more than 200 pieces of women's painted furniture are analyzed. Primary sources used by the author include genealogies of artisans and chemical analysis of antiques, recipes, patterns, instructions in methods and technique, and the original, mainly English, sources of artistic inspiration for painters and needle workers.

This book is an absolute treasure and a beautiful inspirational example of the many application and possibilities of the Botanical Art and Illustration.

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