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Uncle Lewis (a Kaurna elder) is the great, great Grandson of Kudnarto, the first Kaurna woman to legally marry a white man in South Australia. With the assistance of Mary-Anne Gale, Uncle Lewis tells his story from his early experiences as a mission child fostered to white carers, to his early career as a white man (because of his lighter skin) in the merchant Navy. He tells us of his decision to acknowledge his indigenous heritage and the ways it changed his life to become a Kaurna Elder. An insightful account of a modest man who is acknowledged for his contribution to increasing the number of Indigenous children to finish High School in South Australia.
Books are treasured well beyond their pristine state. A new release from photographer Kerry Mansfield, celebrates the life and afterlife of books in her latest release, Expired.
Stamped “DISCARD” or “WITHDRAWN,” the books in Kerry Mansfield’s Expired have been exiled from the libraries where they were loved. There is something bittersweet about a library tome so well used that it has fallen to pieces, its tactile decay reflecting a collective act of reading. The new monograph from the San Francisco-based photographer features over 70 images of discarded library books, each posed against a black background for a post-withdrawal portrait.
“Each picture serves as an homage calling out palpable echoes etched into the pages by a margin-scrawled note, a yellowed coffee splatter or sticky peanut butter and jelly fingerprints,” writes Mansfield in a book essay. “It’s easy to feel a sense of abuse and loss, but they say much more. They show the evidence of everyone that has touched them, because they were well read, and often well-loved. They were not left on shelves, untouched.”
Mansfield frequently considers time in her photography. Aftermath responded to her diagnosis with breast cancer at the age of 31 with a series of self-portraits, while Threshold captures feathers dropping in front of her camera, a series created during a time of sleep deprivation. Expired also has a biographical connection for Mansfield, as she recalls how she spent “many lost afternoons hiding in the library nook” in elementary school. “The first rite of passage upon learning how to write one’s name was to inscribe it on a library checkout card promising the book’s safe journey and return,” she writes.
Expired includes its own checkout card inside the back cover — signed by the artist in an envelope stamped “EXPIRED.” Some of her photographs frame just these slips of paper chronicling readers with inked dates or names. One from The Giant Golden Book of Dogs, Cats, and Horses was check out by a kid named Kelli three times in a row between October and January (and then again in September and November). Yet as Mansfield notes, these cards are an “act of declaration that’s dissolving faster than we can see as cards are removed permanently and bar codes take their place.”
The dog-eared pages of To Kill a Mockingbird, a copy of Lad: A Dog that has a chunk missing from its cover (perhaps taken by canine teeth?), crayon scribbles on The Velveteen Rabbit, the broken spine of Treasure Island, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame braced by tape, all recall the shared experience of library literature. Mansfield’s photographs give these imperfections a quiet dignity.
Strictly speaking, 781 should get you books on the general principles of music and musical forms, but realistically, you will also find titles devoted to individual performers, bands and concerts. Being a bit of a purist, and genuinely interested on the assigned topic, I scanned the virtual shelves (the catalogue) to see what I could find.
The first title to attract my attention questioned my understanding of musical forms – I had always thought an audial relationship with music was intrinsic, and Air Guitar, A user’s guide by Bruno MacDonald did not strike me as a musical form. Perhaps it had something to say about the general principles of music?
Perhaps not. By way of introduction, the book states: ‘Freddie Mercury did it. Hormone-addled adolescents do it. Grown men do it in the privacy of their own homes (and, sometimes, in dark public gatherings). There are even specialist computer games that encourage you to do it. It is air guitar.’ Clearly designed to attract attention, what follows is more of a comic-style picture book than a serious attempt at discussing a musical form. The book is divided into three sections: Getting started, which includes basic accessories, (there are accessories?) and the Dos and Donts (…the general principles!); Air Guitar Moves, which explains 12 moves including ‘The Hendrix’; and Going Pro, with ’50 fret fondling favourites’. The book is sparse on content, laid out like a storyboard complete with sketchy coloured line drawings…not exactly definitive but bound to attract the growing number of devotees.
Clearly, Air Guitar is part of the music scene. When looking at what else might be included as part of ‘the scene’, I came across a series of books aimed at teens and young adults called The Music Scene.
Matt Annis, author and journalist who has spent many years working within the music industry, has created this series of four titles that looks at the world of contemporary music. The Music Industry, The History of Modern Music, Music Fashion & Style and Performing Live, are easy to read and full of practical tips based on case studies featuring some of the world’s best known contemporary musical artists. Although slim, each title is packed with useful information. Published by Franklin Watts in 2012, the series is starting to date (as things quickly do in the pop industry) but many of the principles behind the how-to advice are relevant today.
Still on the hunt for titles on musical forms, Jazz : a beginner’s guide by Stuart Nicholson revived my hope that I am looking in the right place.
Like many, I have some preconceived (and potentially erroneous) ideas about what constitutes Jazz. A quick browse through this title, reassures me that Jazz is what I thought it to be, but also a lot more. Nicholson takes readers through Jazz early history in southern USA to modern jazz scenes around the world. He talks about the evolution of the word and concept that Jazz encompasses and the way that many listeners are predisposed to understanding it because of its close links to other mainstream forms such as blues, rock and roll and pop. The eleven chapters include The Blues, The American Popular Song, Rise of the Big Bands, Jazz Goes Modern and Jazz in the Global Village. Each chapter is accompanied by a play list based on the form and style being discussed. You can take a peak inside here: Jazz-Beginners-Guide-Guides
Classical music is another form that has suffered from ‘bad press’ being labelled elitist and boring… but… What if it only took half a minute to better understand and appreciate what it is after all, the most freely available form of music: as background music, on the internet, in the media and used in some of our most famous jingles?
30-second classical music : the 50 most significant genres, composers and innovations, each explained in half a minute edited by Joanne Cormac is one book that promises to deliver just that! In his forward, David Pickard says ‘The book proves that it is possible to be brief, succinct and insightful without being patronising or simplistic… every significant development [in the history of classical music] seems to be covered.’ In writing this book, Joanne Cormac’s aim is to dispel some of the myths surrounding classical music, to demystify some of the jargon and to open it up to a broader audience. The seven sections of the book take readers on a journey through the earliest instruments and monastic plainchant to the electronic music of modern composition. Each section has a glossary and the text is clearly laid out and nicely illustrated to encourage browsing and return visits. Not a book you have to consume in one sitting, but you could.
You can preview the book here: 30-Second-Classical-Music
There is always the danger when books try to simplify ideas and concepts that they will offend potential readers by ‘talking down’ to them. The books ...for Dummies series makes no attempt to disguise the fact that they assume readers have little or no knowledge of the topic at hand. Music theory for dummies by Michael Pilhofer and Holly Day is no exception.
Like many titles in the series, the book takes readers back to the basics: Note values and counting, Treble and Bass clefs, Time signatures, Tempo and Tone, Key signatures, Scales and chords are all included with Music theory’s history an added bonus that puts it all in perspective. The book is well structured and easy to follow. It provides examples of music to compliment the text, chord charts and audio examples on CD (piano and guitar). It also has a companion website that you can visit here: http://www.dummies.com/go/musictheory
First published in 2005, 1001 songs you must hear before you die edited by Robert Dimery has become one of the most popular musical go-to reference books, listing some of the world’s most famous popular songs beginning early 20th century. Each featured song title includes its unique backstory with illustrations, and is placed in context of time and musical influences (with similar genre-titles included). A range of music journalists have also contributed to the book. Although heavily biased toward music from the USA, the list includes titles in French, Spanish, Italian and German. An easy to browse book, that has been consistently updated with the latest release in 2016. You can also sample song titles based on the book online at: http://playlists.net/1001-songs-you-must-hear-before-you-die-4
There is no doubt that music plays an important part in our lives. Neurologists, scientists, doctors and teachers agree that exposure to music at an early age has positive benefits for life: positive for early childhood development; for our schooling and education; for our health and well being and ultimately, for our longevity. Music therapy is increasingly being incorporated in medicine to assist with pain management, healing and recovery and mental and emotional resilience.
Music remembers me : connection and wellbeing in dementia by Kirsty Beilharz aims to address both the practitioner and those without experience or training, looking for ‘quick start’ guidelines. Beilharz makes strong links between the mind and music engagement for dementia sufferers, and provides practical advice on introducing music to their daily care. The book includes moving stories from Australian health and aged care providers HammondCare and is considered a ground-breaking book on the topic.
You can view the book-launch trailer here: Music Remembers Me
So, it seems that there is much to learn about musical principles and forms in the 781s (with a little Dewey perseverance and leeway given) and… the next time that song or piece of music gets stuck in my head and just won’t go away? I’ll just assume its all for the best!
Recent reading trends indicate that non-fiction books are increasingly popular and in particular, craft and hobby titles are being sought. Anyone seeking these titles in the library will know that they are dispersed fairly evenly across the 700s of the library shelves. While textile and print arts and craft have maintained a consistent representation, the ‘harder’ (because of the nature of resources they use) and more manual crafts have often been poorly represented. There are usually ‘Coffee Table’ books, great to look at but not particularly practical if you want the ‘how to’ version. The ‘doing’ is what people are looking for so I thought I’d see what was around to inspire confidence.
When you are a novice and want some easy projects to build your confidence, I find children’s books are good at providing simple, step-by-step instructions that result in successful creative outcomes.
1 2 3 I can Sculpt by Irene Luxbacher is part of the Starting Art series of books for children that encourage the use of materials at hand, focus on the process for developing skills and affirm that there are no ‘mistakes’ in the creative process, merely design alterations. Each page provides illustrated, step-by-step instructions to help budding sculptors complete projects such as a toothy crocodile and a sunbathing sea lion, using a variety of simple techniques. The book includes a visual glossary of key art terms. View an example page here: rainbowresource.com/
Still with books for children, Out of the box by Jemma Westing provides step-by-step instructions for building items that can be worn, played with or sat on using recycled materials most commonly found at home (cardboard boxes and rolls). From masks to puppets to cars to castles, the projects can be do-it-alone or do-it-together. Instructions are clearly written and illustrated. The book begins with some basic skills for working with cardboard, the tools required and includes templates to get you started.
You can take a quick peak here:
With the advent of digital reading, there has been a sharp increase in the number of old and unwanted books – too good to bin but not good enough to keep in perpetuity. The notion of book craft or book art has morphed into the physical remaking of the book form into works of art. While not a new idea (pop-up books, known as mechanical or moveable books, have existed since the 13th century) the creative art form today can be spectacular.
Folded book art : 35 beautiful projects to transform your books – create cards, display scenes, decorations, gifts, and more by Clare Youngs presents readers with 35 book crafting projects with step-by-step illustrated and photographed instructions. The book is divided into chapters that looks at different techniques for transforming old books: Folding, Scene-making (cutting and gluing) and ‘Refashioned’ pages. Some easy and not so easy projects are included from a butterfly opening to a fairytale castle. Some inspiring ideas. You can view excerpts here:
Working with clay has maintained steady interest but many have been put off by the mess or the extent of equipment required. As a consequence, air-dry clay has become quite popular.
Make it with air-dry clay by Fay De Winter is a good start to using air-dry clay. The book includes 20 projects aimed at different skill levels. The first chapter includes information on materials, tools, equipment and techniques before going into the projects. Projects include planters, pots, bowls and jewelry and all projects come with photos and detailed, easy-to-follow instructions. Great reviews from those who have used the book and best of all – no kiln required!
Of course some people prefer the more traditional approach to working with clay and the Beginner’s guide to sculpting characters in clay may be just the book to look at.
The book features detailed guides to tools and techniques with helpful hints from leading professional sculptors such as Glauco Longhi and Romain Van den Bogaert. Comprehensive tutorials follow the sculpting process from developing a character, creating armatures to finishing and setting the final sculpture. Suitable for novices and digital sculptors wanting to learn more about traditional techniques.
If you like the idea of working with clay but prefer results to be metal based, then metal clay might prove to be your ideal medium. Since its creation in the 1990s by Japanese metallurgist Dr. A. Morikawa, metal clay has created a small revolution in the world of jewelry making and small-scale sculpting. Intrigued? The art of metal clay: techniques for creating jewelry and decoriative objects by award-winning author, illustrator and product designer Sherri Haab might be just the right title to get you started on this crafting design experience.
DIY rustic modern metal crafts : 35 creative upcycling ideas for galvanized metal by Laura Putnam provides step-by-step instructions on transforming scrap metal, sheet iron, buckets, bins and stove end-caps into home decor. Projects include items both practical and whimsical, and Putman also includes methods for ‘ageing’ new galv. metal if you can’t find ‘the right’ old material to repurpose.
Take a look here: www.amazon.com/DIY-Rustic-Modern-Metal-Crafts/
3D art adventures : over 35 creative, artist-inspired projects in sculpture, ceramics, textiles and more by Maja Pitamic and Jill Laidlaw combines the history of selected art masterpieces (Mucha, Picasso, Gris and Michelangelo) with simple and complex activities designed for children aged 6 years and up. Each of the eight chapters covers a theme, Colour, Black & White, Shapes & Patterns, Animals, Portraits, Landscape, Myths & Legends, and Light & Shade. Sculpture, installation, textiles and ceramics using a variety of media are also covered. This is the first title of the Modern Art Adventures series and is well worth a look to get that holistic approach to 3D art.