Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Maypole Artz

Wednesday is May 1st also known as May Day. This is where you will find the tradition of the Maypole.  Germanic in origin the Maypole is found throughout Europe and parts of North America. 

 From medieval time up through the Early Modern Period it was part of the festivities of May Day. The origin of the Maypole has long been lost and forgotten but the tradition has remained.  In Germany and Austria it was custom for young men to erect a small Maypole in the front of the homes of the girls they were sweet for during the night of April 30.

In 1628 a Maypole was erected near New Plymouth Massachusetts. An official officer, William Bradford of the king of England wrote about it.
"They also set up a May-pole, drinking and dancing about it many days togaether, inviting the Indean women, for their consorts, dancing and frisking togither, (like so many fairies, or furies rather,) and worse practises. As if they had anew revived & celebrated the feasts of the Roman Goddes Flora, or the beasly practieses of the madd Bacchinalians. Morton likwise (to shew his poetrie) composed sundry rimes & verses, some tending to lasciviousnes, and others to the detraction & scandall of some persons, which he affixed to this idle or idoll May-polle. They changed also the name of their place, and in stead of calling it Mounte Wollaston, they call it Merie-mounte, as if this joylity would have lasted ever. But this continued not long, for after Morton was sent for England, shortly after came over that worthy gentleman, Mr. John Indecott, who brought a patent under the broad seall, for the governmente of the Massachusets, who visiting those parts caused the May-polle to be cutt downe, and rebuked them for their profannes, and admonished them to looke ther should be better walking; so they now, or others, changed the name of their place againe, and called it Mounte-Dagon."

Bradford, William (1856). History of Plymouth. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. pp. 237–238

This week we present the Maypole Artz in honor of this long standing but almost forgotten practice. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Daisy Artz

As we say farewell to last days of April let’s look at the Daisy the flower for April.

It was often called Bruisewort or Woundwort.  Each petal is a flower and the yellow center is a huge colony of tiny yellow flowers.  The name Daisy from day’s eye as the flower closes at night and opens again in the morning. Chaucer called it “eye of the day”. Many parts of the Daisy are edible. Romans used a slave made from crushed daisies to cover battle wounds as it has astringent properties.

Daisy – a girl’s name 

Daisy as a place – Daisy, West Virginia

Daisy Duck – Disney character

Daisy Bell – Actual title of the song… bicycle built for two…
Daisy Dukes – very short denim shorts

Daisy symbolizes innocence and purity, new beginnings.

Because of the higher amounts of rain in April Daisies are also known as “Thunderflowers”.

Have we not all picked a daisy and in dreamy fashion plucked the petals and whispered ….he loves me, he loves me not…

This week I present the Artz of Daisies.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Artz of Death and Taxes

Today is April 15 and that means we need to get our taxes completed and filed.  

Leading me to always think of the Benjamin Franklin quote from a letter he wrote to Jean-Baptist Leroy in 1789….  Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

The quote is believed to have originally come from a play by Christopher Bullock in  in 1716 called The Cobler of Preston.

What is all these April deadlines fuss about?

The Civil War and the Revenue Act of 1861 that is what this is all about. Federal income was created to raise funds for the Civil War. The taxes were based on assessment not on voluntary tax returns. This act was repealed, readopted and declared unconstitutional.

In 1913 the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. This Amendment gave the United States Congress the legal authority to tax all incomes.  The filing deadline that year was March 1. In 1918 it was March 15 and in 1955 it was again changed to April 15.

Back to the Death and Taxes in Art.

Billy Carter says….. Paintings are like a beer, only beer tastes good and it's hard to stop drinking beer.

Speaking of Beer….. In 1992 The Moonlight Brewing Company in Santa Rosa California created their flagship brew Death and Taxes.

Death and Taxes is a poetry collection by Dorothy Parker in 1931.

In 2003 an episode of Er was titled Death and Taxes.

Death and Taxes was a song performed by Tiler's Folly at Music City Roots live from the Loveless Cafe in July of 2011.

Johnny Cash had something to say about it also….After Taxes.

This week we shall gaze at Death and Taxes in the Artz. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Artz April Showers

 April showers bring May flowers. The first time I heard it was when I was very young and my mother would say it every April without fail as though it were a talisman or charm. Where does this saying come from? I went in search of its origin and it led me to the art of husbandry.
Thomas Tusser in 1557 compiled a collection of sayings he titled A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry included in the book is this poem…

Sweet April showers
Do spring May flowers

A lesson in patience?  To endure the unpleasant (rain on a weekend) can bring about something pleasant. The art of optimism?

The Science…
Rain – Provides necessary moisture for newly budding and growing plants. The rain pushes nutrients deeper into the soil where they are absorbed by the roots of plants.

Temperature – Warmer temperatures bring rain not snow; a signal to the plants to start growing and blossoming.

Wildlife – Warmer temperatures and rain signal to the wildlife it is time to come out and the composting and pollination rituals begin.

This week the Artz Council celebrates April Showers.