Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Art of Words Fuel for Minds; Volumes about Hankies, Hockney, Brain

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Art of Words Fuel for Minds; Volumes about Hankies, Hockney, Brain

Article excerpt

Byline: Brandy Hilboldt Allport

THE PRINTED SQUARE

Author: Nicky Albrechtsten

Details: Harper Design, $27.99, 256 pages, all ages

A book about handkerchiefs seems an unlikely source for artistic inspiration for the youngest members of our Internet and cellphone generation. Read on, and see if "fuddyduddy" is not banished from your mind.

"Handkerchiefs and reputations are exceedingly easy to lose. Both are lost in about equal numbers daily. All the reputations lost are very good ones - and the more irretrievably lost they are, the better they were. The handkerchiefs lost should be better."

This witty excerpt from a 1922 issue of Vogue magazine reflects the attention lavished on what many people think of as a mere scrap of fabric. Many ordinary, functional items (aprons and wallpaper come to mind quickly) are getting their due in print. It's the handkerchief's turn. Examining the textiles, color combinations, patterns and motifs, which changed with the decades, proves that books about everyday objects (Hot Wheels and Hello Kitty wallets included) are more than a catalogs of collectibles. They are lessons in aesthetics, design and composition.

Read the thoroughly documented introduction, and flip through the pages of "Square." It's surprising how much time can be spent poring over the images, which are separated by one-page quotations such as "How lovely yellow is! It stands for the sun." (Vincent Van Gogh) Or, "I adore pink! It's the navy blue of India!" (Diana Vreeland). People of all ages who like to draw or knit (yes, knitting is cool, again), or who seek inspiration for freshening the kitchen with a coat of paint, can find ideas in the pages of "The Printed Square."

Studying the images provides examples of how looking at something pretty and unexpected fires up the imagination. Soon-to-be-school-free students will find endless ideas for their projects.

TOPICAL AND TIMELY

"David Hockney: A Rake's Progress, 1937 to 1975" is the first in a planned two-volume biography about the septuagenarian whose work first caught everyone's attention in 1937. …

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