Monday, September 29, 2008

The maze and amazment of research

Tonight I amused myself by searching for images of plants and animals on tiles. I need inspiration for a home page I'm designing. This divides into several paths: terracotta carved and polychromed tiles, majolica plates and panels as well as tiles, Edwardian illustrations hand painted on tiles, mosaics dating back as far as the ancient Crete and Rome, and some seriously ugly refrigerator magnets. Apparently the world is stuffed full of crafts and the people who are crafty.

Some of the most beautiful were old friends from the Topkapi Palace. Not that I've been to Istanbul, but years ago the first story I illustrated was Frank Stockton's "The Lady or the Tiger?" which I took a week off work to research images from books in the New York Public Library and also peering at the illuminated manuscripts at the Metropolitan Museum. It's pretty cool that I can stay right here on my couch and do all the research with web searches.

All those artists making so many walls and plates and floors and baths with patience and enormously skilled fingers. People just need to say, I was here, even unsigned. With a leaf, a dragon, a lotus, a brilliant blue.

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