Apr 29 2012: Eighteen Plates from The Art of Macrame: Modern Design in Knotting by Joan Fisher (Hamlyn, 1972)

Despite both pre-dating and surviving the 1970s, the art of macrame is nevertheless almost entirely identified with the post-hippie decade in which handicrafts, self-sufficiency, nascent feminist politics and early ecological consciousness converged around the visual symbolism of the knotted string and woollen construction: whether a poncho, a chess set, a headband or – in one … Continue reading

Apr 24 2012: A Gallery Showing Six Generic Soviet Union Paper Record Sleeve Designs (Melodija, 1960s)

These paper record sleeves, produced by various regional branches of the Soviet Union’s state record label, Melodija, were made to provide generic covers inside which pretty much any type of music might be housed, whether classical, folk, jazz, pop or Red Army choirs. In some respects, these generic sleeves are the equivalents of the 7″ … Continue reading

Apr 22 2012: Four Hand-Painted Maps Of Socialist Czechoslovakia With Folklore Motifs (CSSR, 1957)

Appearing as endpapers in a 1957 pictorial publication showing early Communist Czechoslovakia these four maps offer a striking contrast – in tone and style, at least – to the photographs making up most of the book. The principle appears to be that the main map (seen above) is then separated into its component parts in … Continue reading

Apr 12 2012: A Portrait of Harry Wheatcroft (Illustration on Celluloid for an Unknown Magazine, 1970s)

A curious item, this image reproduces as best I can the image on a reddish-tinted celluloid sheet containing a photographic transfer of a watercolour portrait of Harry Wheatcroft, the Nottingham-born celebrity horticulturalist and 70s media entrepreneur whose name became synonymous with commercial rose-growing, and whose garden centre, Wheatcrofts, still trades on the edge of the … Continue reading

Apr 10 2012: Black Glass: Fifteen Glass Plate Negative Portraits of Unknown People (Mainly 1940s)

Although not really recent finds, having been already used in early 2011 as the inspiration for a short sequence of poems on the loose subjects of cinema, memory and inverted perception, that earlier version didn’t include all the plates or subjects in the boxes as found. The figure above, with his Joycean round spectacles, pipeĀ and … Continue reading

Apr 6 2012: Eight Monochrome Photographs Showing British Parades (1940s – 1950s)

I’m not sure if these images show scenes from one or more parades and occasions, though it’s clear that the photographs fall into three basic groups, the first showing a quasi military parade (possibly made up of amateur rather than real troops), the second a series of floats trying to raise money for charity, and … Continue reading

Apr 5 2012: Five Monochrome Photographs From An Archaeological Excavation (c.1960s)

There’s no indication on (or in, so far as I can tell) when or where these photographs were taken, though it’s obvious that they document an archaeological dig of some kind: and judging by the depth of the excavation, seen to have various levels within the images, quite a serious one at that. The permutations … Continue reading

Apr 2 2012: Seventeen Varieties Of Tents Named After British Birds (from Bukta Campedia Catalogue, 1960)

A 1960 edition of the Bukta Campedia – a sort of general catalogue of camping equipment – manages a certain poetry in its adoption of the common names of British birds for its various models of tent, here presented in a hand drawn format, their variations on the temporary architectural theme united by being coloured … Continue reading

Mar 28 2012: Sepia-Toned Monochrome Photograph Showing A Swarm Of Bees (Date Unknown)

This undated image of bees swarming has hung around my desk for several years now, pretty much since I found it inside the pages of an old encyclopaedia sometime around 2006. What it shows is both commonplace, insofar as bees form swarms regularly: the sight of one isn’t an everyday occurance, but nor is it … Continue reading

Mar 22 2012: Seven Snapshots from Everyday Life United By Their Square Format (c.1960s)

If yesterday’s gallery of children was unified by nothing beyond the subject, today’s equally random gallery is unified only by the square format of the photographs: the subject matter veers from a man in an aqualung and another posing on a beach in swimming trunks to a woman standing beside a window and an elderly … Continue reading