June 25, 2020

10th Blogiversary!

        Congratulations to me: I have now been blogging for 10 years!  That’s a grand total of 1055 posts so far.  It’s inevitable that age is withering me, and I suspect that custom may be staling my infinite variety, but nevertheless, I hope you’re still enjoying the block prints and fantasy that I’m featuring.  I have recently been posting slightly less frequently (and on a slightly less regular schedule) but I
don’t have any expectation of stopping soon.  There’s still so much wonderful stuff to share!  Whether I’ll be going for another 10 years, of course, is certainly not guaranteed.
        Today’s block prints are just two small pieces that I’ve been saving up for some time, but hadn’t yet had an occasion to post.  First is a winged lion of Venice (from the symbol of St Mark), which I spotted in the window of an antiquarian bookstore in Venice.  It was in the evening (we were on our way to find gelato) and the shop was closed, but it seems to be the title page of a history of Venice written by Sabellicus in the late fifteenth century, although this is presumably an edition from the sixteenth century.  It’s a lovely wood block print, with lots of beautiful details, including wonderfully ruffled feathers and a nice little tower in the background.  I include a view of the bookshop where it was residing, as well.
        For contrast, I have another beast with a very different style.  This charming porcupine is by Wharton Esherick from 1925.  Its huge eye gives it a solemn look, but its cartoonish simplicity makes it seem like a children’s toy.  It illustrates an essay by D.H. Lawrence that, in my quick skim-through, does not appear to be at all charming or childlike so, just as with the winged lion, I prefer to enjoy the picture as its own creature, with its own life and personality, independent of its commercial purpose.  Works of the imagination can do that.
        So, 10 years of blogging.  You know what else I’ve been doing for the past 10 years?  Not Instagram!  However, I have finally broken down and started posting on Instagram.  My theme there is Joy and Inspiration.  I hope to post a picture a day (roughly — I’m not going to worry if I miss sometimes) of something that brings me joy or inspiration.  I imagine things
that make me happy may make others happy, as well, and the more distressing the news becomes, the more important I think it is to notice and acknowledge the joy that does still keep bubbling up in the universe, ready to surprise us if we can see it.  After all, if there weren’t any joy in life and love, why bother with the blood, sweat, and tears of keeping on working for a better world?  Some of the pictures I post will certainly be block prints, and some may be related to fantasy, but a lot will just be photos of the happy things I see around me in my day.  If you’re curious about what cheers me up, in case it might cheer you, too, feel free to check it out: NydamPrints on Instagram.

[Pictures: Lion of Venice, wood block print from title page of Historiae rerum venetarum ab urbe condita by Sabellicus, probably c 1560;
Antiquarian bookshop in Venice, photo by AEGN, 2017;
Porcupine by Wharton Esherick from D.H. Lawrence’s Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine, 1925;
April robins' nest, as posted on Instagram, photo by AEGN, 2020.]