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tline3open  Decorative Studies of Insect Forms.

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Author Topic:   Decorative Studies of Insect Forms.
Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 04-25-2012 02:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    The Craftsman

Translated From The French by Irene Sargent

The prize contest, opened in February, 1904, by the editors of Art et Décoration, was an important one, considered from several points of view. If the dimensions of the required designs were small, the variety of motifs demanded was great, and the nature-study necessitated was purposely widely extended, in order to attract a large number of competitors.

The subjects proposed in the contest were:

Three different decorative adaptations and a complete study from life of the dragonfly: the three adaptations demanding strongly defined separate treatments in passing from a belt-buckle in metal and enamels to lace, and from lace to a sketchy interpretation. Nothing can be better adapted than such exercises to display the decorative sense of an artist and his understanding of different mediums of expression: that is, of different materials. But it is usual that one of these materials is specially favored by the designer, and that the others suffer by reason of his preference.

As to the study from Nature, it reveals above all, the sense of precision, which is not, as must be conceded, the only quality indispensable to a true artist. Indeed, one may conjecture that the contrary is sometimes the case, and that a given drawing, most successful as a scientific study, does not imply that the use to be made of it will be adequate artistically. On the other hand, there exist admirable works resulting from simple, well-executed sketches. Undoubtedly, an exact knowledge of the natural object gives greater assurance in the use of its form, but at the same time, it restricts imaginative treatment. In justice to this necessary element of success, the critic may plead against the employment of details discovered by the magnifying glass, or the microscope, and which are invisible to the naked eye. In truth, what popular interest can be possessed by such, since outside of scientific circles, no one suspects their existence? For this reason, their use in magnified proportions, in works of decorative art, can engender only repulsive monsters. It is to be regretted that the designs submitted in our prize competitions are usually too prolific. rather than too sterile, in enlarged details.

Furthermore, flat drawings could in no wise answer decorative requirements. The relief of masses must be carefully indicated.

The above considerations influenced the jury governing the contest here described, to award the first prize to the work of Mademoiselle Olga Slom, whose treatment of the whole was to be the most complete. Her sheet of studies from Nature was, perhaps, too well filled with specimens, but it shows, in their true proportions, very exact studies of the male and the female insect. The geometrical diagram, so necessary to analysis and to the understanding of the whole, and, in this instance, so well presented, is absent from the work of the other contestants. The adaptations made by Mile. Slom are in no way inferior to her scientific notes. Her design for a belt-buckle is unified, clear, pleasing and rich. It would leave nothing to be desired, if the edge of metal were made thinner in appearance, either by perforations, or by details slightly cutting and, so modifying, the continuous form. The lace design is also interesting. It has, furthermore, the quality of lightness which should characterize a lace-pattern. Beside this, it emphasizes the theme proposed: a result which all the contestants were not able to obtain. Finally, the sketches of this lady are creditable, although they might be criticized as being too simple.

The second prize was awarded to M. André Herpin, principally for his three compositions which are frank, strong and expressive. In this instance, the sheet of studies is the weaker portion of the work; since mass and relief here play but unimportant parts. The sketch, however, possesses much character, although the insects whose bodies form spherical triangles, produce a linear confusion. The belt-buckle, to be executed in gold, blue, green and white enamels, is admirable for its simple and striking design. The lace pattern has excellent qualities and would be without fault, if the ornaments in the background had been reduced in scale.

The winner of the third prize, M. Méhcut, obtained his rank among the many contestants largely through his sheet of studies executed in a faultless manner, although upon a somewhat large scale. Very good, also, is his design for a belt-buckle, which is slightly marred by a heavy touch, principally noticeable in the wings of the insect. But it is plain that the drawing would gain much, were it translated into metal. The lace pattern of this contestant is faulty in presenting a series of isolated units without means of connection.

Beside the work of the winners of the three prizes, that of M. Sézillc deserves mention. His drawings include a lace pattern which is most pleasing, although the six radii formed by the bodies of the dragon-flies are quite too apparent.

As a whole, it may be noted that the competition revealed the fact that there are many earnest., sympathetic students in France who are following the path long since indicated to designers by that great lover of divine Nature, Michelet, whose book upon “The Insect" has attained a world-wide currency.

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iconnumber posted 04-27-2012 08:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chicagosilver     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You may have seen these before, but a nice silver and stone Kalo bee, and a rarer Kalo dragonfly:

Here's a swarm of four silver and stone bees by Woolrich, Maine's Clifford Russell:

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iconnumber posted 04-27-2012 08:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chicagosilver     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, the Russell pins may be moths.

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 04-30-2012 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those are great!

I think

  1. Bumblebee
  2. moth
  3. Bumblebee
  4. moth

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