Havana’s Oldest Printmaking Studio.

Ian Marcos Gutiérrez, a 23-year-old printer at the Taller Experimental de Gráfica, in Havana, helps the author prepare a block of lithographic limestone for printing. (Arien Chang Castán)
by Mimi Dwyer;
Photographs by Arien Chang Castán
Lithography arrived in Cuba before anywhere else in the Americas, as a way to protect the sanctity and integrity of the country’s industry.
By the early 19th century, Cuban exports, especially tobacco, had a prestige that made them valuable throughout the world.
Exporters wanted a way to protect Cuban industry from counterfeiters.
Using lithography, they could make seals and rings that both decorated their products and distinguished them from those of competitors.
The process depends more than anything on the repellent properties of oil and water, and their interaction with limestone. By using acids, powders, solvents, oils, and gum in specific combinations, lithographers manipulate the places a stone receives ink.
In this way, they can use a stone to print precise and intricate images onto paper.
Cuba imported thousands of lithographic limestones from Germany in the 1800s, when the technology was first emerging.
Cuban businessmen brought machines from France and Germany and lured experts to Havana who knew how to use them. Many of the original machines still work.
The Taller’s oldest is an intricate, red woodcutting machine from 1829, still used by artists every day.
In the 1950s, shortly before the revolution, aluminum replaced lithography as the best way to protect product identity, and the stones fell into disuse.
Campesinos started to use them to make walking paths through muddy fields. Habaneros, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, laid them around the city along with whatever other stones they could find to serve as barricades.
Cuban lithography would have died then but for a few artists who recognized the value of the craft.
They lobbied the government to protect the stones, and in 1962, as minister of industry, Che Guevara signed a mandate to provide materials, space, and machines to Cuban lithographers in the name of art.
The Taller was born from that directive, and it remains the oldest and best known print studio in Cuba.
It’s been producing work consistently since then.
Read the full article via Step Inside Cuba’s Oldest Printmaking Studio | Travel | Smithsonian

The Showstopper by Linda van Slobbe.

The Showstopper by Linda van Slobbe – Bar-du-Lac, France
‘This historic theatre is built in a typical oval shape which has the stage at one end and multiple floors and balconies all around.
This one has beautiful decorations’
Image Credit: Photograph by Linda van Slobbe.
via The walls have eyes: the best urban photography | Cities | The Guardian

Charles Jencks designs Reclining Woman of Northumberland.

Northumberland
A classic aerial view of a huge landscape work designed by Charles Jencks in the shape of a giant reclining woman near Cramlington in Northumberland.
Image Credit: Photograph by Graeme Peacock/Alamy Stock Photo
Source: Cosmic gardens and boulder boulevards: the genius of Charles Jencks – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian

Fallingwater – Frank Lloyd Wright.

Image Credit: Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith.
Designed in 1935 by Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater or the Kaufmann Residence is one the famous architect’s most recognizable works.
Located in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, about 43 miles (69 km) southeast of Pittsburgh, Fallingwater is constructed over a waterfall on Bear Run river.
The house was designed as a weekend home for the family of Liliane Kaufmann and her husband, Edgar J. Kaufmann, owner of Kaufmann’s department store.
Time cited it after its completion as Wright’s “most beautiful job”; it is listed among Smithsonian’s Life List of 28 places “to visit before you die”.
It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966.
In 1991, members of the American Institute of Architects named the house the “best all-time work of American architecture” and in 2007, it was ranked 29th on the list of America’s Favorite Architecture according to the AIA.
via Library of Congress on Wikimedia Commons
Source: Picture of the Day: Fallingwater, Pennsylvania «TwistedSifter

The Hand House of Hollywood.

handhouse1A woman’s hand juts of the earth holding an exposed glass house.
What exactly could this mean?
Architect Andreas Angelidakis created this crazy cool concept.
When the rain falls, the giant hand appears to be coming out of the water, elegantly holding the glass house.
“The Glass box represents the moment when the celebrity exposes herself to the paparazzi,” Angelidakis says. It “sits on the concrete platform as a forgotten piece of infrastructure.”

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The staircase leads down into the cave section of the house where a normal life is taking place. “Behind the boulders are doors to excavated bedrooms, places of total isolation and darkness.”
Ultimately, the house shows us the dichotomy of Hollywood.
“The residents enjoy total privacy together with total exposure, a day on the beach and a night in the cave, the entire city of Los Angeles abbreviated like a Twitter post inside the limits of their property.”
How strangely fascinating.
See more images via The Hollywood Hand House  – My Modern Met.

Artist who Made Colouring Books Cool again is back..

Johanna Basford, whose fanciful, hand-drawn illustrations launched a worldwide craze, is back with flying colors.
Not far from Johanna Basford’s home on the northeast coast of Scotland lies a parabola of golden-ocher sand where the proportion of sky to land is unlike anything you’ll likely see outside of a Bertolucci film.
A wildlife Eden, this stretch of heathland serves as a motorway for birds that wheel in from the Arctic—red-throated divers, pink-footed geese and long-tailed ducks with cream and chocolate plumage.
During the summer months, strong gusts combined with the powdery sand can ruin a perfectly good sandwich.
Throughout the winter the shoreline is invariably a few degrees warmer than inland. On this biting afternoon, the sea changes shades with each shift of cloud and rain and wind. Basford sits in a pub in nearby Ellon, her hands wrapped around a cup of English breakfast tea, comparing the colors of nature with those found in a 120-pack of Crayola crayons.
“As a child, I used to think the yellow and the white were just a bit redundant,” she says in a soft burr that tends to drift upward at the end of a sentence, making statements sound like questions. “But I don’t think I had any specific favorite colors.
I do remember the day that I learned that if you heated up the crayons, you could bend them. And that was a revelation.”The 35-year-old Basford is something of a revelation herself.
She’s a pioneer—possibly the pioneer—of the modern adult coloring book, a childhood pastime retrofitted for frazzled grown-ups.
When the genre stormed the best-seller lists five years ago, Basford’s debut, Secret Garden, led the charge. It’s filled with filigreed visions of ferns and flowers and frogs rendered delicately in black and white, all drawn by hand.
“I had a hunch that there were adults out there who would love to return to the days of finger-paints and carefree playing with color,” says Basford, a freelance illustrator whose initial pitch to a publisher was met with baffled silence.
“The first print run was a tentative 13,000 copies. I was fairly certain my mum was going to have to buy a lot.”Secret Garden turned out to be a runaway sensation, selling 12 million copies worldwide, including nearly four million in China over less than three months.
Translated into 45 languages, it was also a huge hit in Brazil (1.6 million), the United States (1.7 million) and France (350,000), where it outsold the country’s most popular cookbooks.
“I love the idea of chic Parisian ladies putting down their saucepans in favor of gel pens,” Basford says. In South Korea, sales of 1.5 million suggest that nearly 3 percent of the population owns a copy.
By 2016, adult coloring books had their own dedicated sections on Amazon and in big-box stores. Demand caused worldwide pencil shortages, and Faber-Castell, the planet’s biggest wooden-pencil manufacturer, had to add shifts at its Bavarian factory to keep pace with global demand.”
Read on Further via Source: The Artist Who Made Coloring Books Cool for Adults Returns With a New Masterpiece | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian