Several of my colleagues are working on material for the 9-11 museum in New York. The Museum will display a wide variety of objects recovered from Ground Zero, ranging from the huge steel beams of the World Trade Center building to numerous personal effects of victims. Whether larger or small, each item has a story to tell and the Museum will be a lasting tribute to the memory of many.
It is hard to image now, but the quaint rural community of Blairstown, NJ, was once a bustling hub of railroad travel. Initiated by John I. Blair, one of the wealthiest people in the US at the time, the Blairstown Railroad opened in 1877. The single-track line ran only a short distance, approximately 12 miles to the town of Delaware, NJ, where it connected to the Lackawanna Railroad. Although the line was short, it proved rather vital for connection to Pennsylvania via a crossing over the Delaware River. Speculation remains that the shrewd Blair wanted to beat the competition of other wealthy tycoons such as Vanderbuilt and Thomson, by building his track in the area first and connecting it to the larger, established lines east and west. Employing a similar strategy elsewhere, John Blair would, at one time, own more railroad mileage than any other American.
To commemorate the town’s link to its railroad past, an old red caboose houses the Blairstown Historical Preservation Committee and Museum, displaying many objects related to the glory days of train travel.
An Egyptian glass eye inlay dating from the New Kingdom period, 1550-1070 B.C. Composed of an obsidian iris, white glass sclerae and blue glass lids with extended cosmetic line, this fine inlay was part of a pair that once decorating the lid of a sarcophagus. Reserved for only the wealthy or privileged, sarcophagi carved to resemble an individual and decorated with semi-precious stones would help to further insure safe passage to the afterlife.
My wife and I bought an antique silver-plated baby rattle just a few days before our daughter was born. The rattle had stood the test of time, as evidence by the dents and surface wear it had lovingly acquired. Who knows how many children may have clutched the small toy, listening to the noise it made when shaken –perhaps- realizing for the first time, that their actions created sounds.
As a new parent, proudly cradling my daughter, so many people felt compelled to tell me “…enjoy every minute, they grow up so fast”. I hated hearing it. I try to live my life without regrets and this constant reminder of the ‘terminal velocity of parenthood’ made me feel as though it was already too late. Now, of course, I find myself repeating the old adage to new parents…because it was just yesterday when I held my baby girl.
This pen and ink drawing of a votive plaque was first posted on my blog when I began contributing to Illustration Friday. I usually like to render fresh solutions for the weekly topics but I kept coming back to this illustration in response to “whisper”.
…a souvenir from a trip to Greece that I took many years ago. While touring the island of Lesvos, I stopped in an old church and noticed numerous silver plaques hanging on a wall. Each plaque had a repousse image of a body part. Upon leaving the church, I walked by a small store selling the votive plaques which, I was told, are left near the altar as a plea for healing. I purchased a few plaques, leaving one votive back at the church in hopes that an old injury to my ear would cure occasional vertigo and imbalances.
Spinning fibers into thread is a technique common to many diverse cultures throughout the ages. Handspinning involves a wood axle or spindle with a disc-shaped ‘whorl’ acting as a weighted flywheel to maintain momentum. A turn of the spindle then draws and twists fibers into workable yarn. This small whorl is decorated with concentric rings and an interlocking design that would have created a dizzying effect when spun.