Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) was an Italian painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made entirely of such objects as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books. He painted representations of these objects on the canvas, arranging them in such a way that collection of objects formed a recognizable likeness of the portrait subject. (found online)
I had my own turn at playing Arcimboldo this past Monday at Road to California, in a collage class taught by Laura Heine.
We arrived at the hotel ballroom, purchased our kits, and started fusing fabric to Steam a Seam 2. But of course, only one iron worked. Soon, Laura had rustled up irons from ballrooms that were vacant, so we were in business.
Then we started cutting and cutting and cutting. After lunch she showed us how to start laying out our cut pieces using the pattern shape to help keep us organized. It was a challenge. It made me think of Arcimboldo, but I also remembered when I was a teenager in Lima, Peru and the only way we could decorate our walls (big posters hadn’t really been invented yet, for teenagers’ rooms) was to lay out cut out pieces from fashion magazines onto a piece of newspaper, and carefully cover the newsprint to create some sort of art, one piece at a time. My sister, Christine, excelled at this, but soon all four of us were creating collages, guided by her teaching.
Here are two more collages that my husband and I glimpsed in a store window in the Ginza area of Tokyo a couple of years ago.
Here it is, from the side.
Slowly, the bears around the classroom started to take shape.
This is Arcimboldo’s portrait titled “Flora,” a lovely lady made all of flowers…just like I was trying to do with my bear in a classroom at Road to California.
His Four Seasons are some of his more well-known works; above is Winter. I kept thinking of the version I’d seen in more recent memory: a giant sculpture in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Arcimboldo in 3D, rendered by Philip Hass in pigmented and painted fiberglass.
And here is my bear. Arcimboldo would be proud of me. However, I still have the backgrounds to do.
Here’s the class sample. It is evident I have a lot of work to do yet, but Heine’s artful versions of fabric collage are much more inticing that stacks of vegetables, or retail items. It was a good but busy day; Heine was a lovely teacher who encourages her students onward.
Monday marked the official opening of Road to California 2020. I have two Jen Kingwell classes (Wednesday and Thursday) and Thursday is the day that the show opens, and I’ll be able to finally glimpse my three quilts hanging in the show this year! Then Friday is the night I get to hear Jenny Doan in an evening lecture. Lisa and three friends are coming in from Utah, Afton is arriving tomorrow from New Mexico, and I’ll get to meet up with lots of new and returning friends from around the area.
I love Road week!