Singing in Pennsylvania

detail from:
Hand-drawn; hand-colored; hand-lettered. This fraktur consists is leaf 18 (verso of 18/recto of 19) in a music book that was produced at Ephrata Cloister. On the left are the opening lines of three hymns with music. On the right are music and a drawing of flowers. The book consists of three preliminary leaves, one hundred and forty-one numbered leaves (out of an original one hundred and sixty), one unnumbered leaf, and the printed index of opening lines of the hymns in four unnumbered leaves. The music includes music in four parts and the opening words to a selection of hymns from the Zionitischer Weyrauchs Hügel (The Incense Hill of Zion), published in 1739 by Christoph Saur of Germantown. There is major decoration on the rectos of leaves numbered 19, 24, 30, 38, 58, 61, 88, 90 and 122. Minor decorations can be found throughout the book. Three additional leaves, including verso of 60/recto of 61, verso of 89/recto of 90 and verso of 120/recto of 121, are included in the database as FLP 114702, 114703 and 114704. Courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Was doing some research on Conrad Beissel, the founder of the Ephrata Community (a lodestone in my understanding of a particular driver/style setter in the Fraktur style). Beissel came to the US from Germany as part of the Community of the Brethren--and split off to found Ephrata, a monastic community with a sisterhood and brotherhood. Beissel wrote hymns and encouraged his followers to sing, and sing purely--as their celibacy, they believed, was manifested in the purity of their voices. Chasing down a bit on Beissel's hymns, there was a firestorm of hymn writing in Pennsylvania at that time happening in all corners of the state from the Ephrata Community to the Moravians in Bethlehem (see the Google book, The Early Hymn Writers of Pennsylvania by Lucy Carroll. Coupled with this writing, Beissel encouraged his followers to illuminate and illustrate hymnals which went beyond the walls.

The Ephrata community was known for it's printing...and shared work with, yes, Benjamin Franklin. So, the link is made between the two. Franklin was tuned into what they were doing technically and I would assume, intellectually. From Black Arts, The History of Printing in Lancaster County:

1730s: In Philadelphia, Ben prints several mysteriously mystical books for the Ephrata Cloister, including:

* Mystische Und sehr geheyme Sprueche (Mystical and Very Secret Sayings) (1730) --- Authored by Conrad Beissel to explain his other-worldy views on Christianity, celibacy, and spiritual androgyny.
* Goettliche Liebes und Lobes gethoene Welche (1730) (Melodies of Love and Praise) --- This is a hymnbook of 65 hymns written by Conrad Beissel and other Cloister poets.
* Vorspiel de Neuen-Welt (1732) (Prelude to the New World) --- This is sort-of Beissel's New World Symphony. It's a hymnbook, with more mystical hymns by Beissel and friends.
* Jacobs Kampff- und Ritter-Platz (1736) (Jacob's Place of Struggle and Elevation) --- More ethereal hymns by Conrad Beissel. This book's preface includes the earliest printed mention of the name Ephrata: Ephrata in der gegend Canestoges (Ephrata in the Conestoga Region.)

From Benjamin Franklin, In His Own Words:

"Founder of the German Seventh-Day Baptists Johann Conrad Beissel immigrated with the community to Ephrata, Pennsylvania, in 1732. Beissel served as the spiritual director of the group as well as its composer, devising his own system of composition. The group's illuminated musical manuscripts were hand-lettered in Fraktur and are among the earliest original music composed in the British colonies. This illustrated hymnal was once in the possession of Benjamin Franklin. The rare second compilation of Beissel's hymns was printed in roman type without music by Benjamin Franklin in 1732."

Link to see a page of this hymnal> another>>Beissel"s writings>

A Labor Day Gumdrop!

A break from Fraktur. The images above are screen captures from the most inspired little film I saw last night. It is Nina Paley's autobiographical "Sita Sings the Blues", an interwoven story with interwoven techniques and voices (many very cute and funny) about a woman's break up with her husband after he is sent to India to pursue his career...and the story of Sita and Rama with a thick overlay of this boop boop da doop love sing/songs from Annette Hanshaw. It is a must see for all of my illustration friends as it charms with color, wit and the clever use of cut paper, shadow puppets (as the narrators), stock art and of course the drawn media. It makes a very strong vote for the world of vector and how lovely it can be. Plus, this is a rich and inspiring slice for all of us. The under 20 set here went wild. It is an inspired gumdrop personal to Nina Paley, a real star and creative who is the writer, creator, animator of this singular gem...We should expect to see more from this thoughtful, fun, visual artists...and I hope soon. You all know how I feel about Indian art, and this was such a unexpected gift delivered to us in a mention from the tuned in Mr. David Lucas, designer and astute observer of the world. Thank you David for this wonder! We are all beneficiaries of your suggestion!

If you go a bit deeper into the copyright issues surrounding this work which I will allow Wikipedia to explain clearly:

In the 1920s Annette Hanshaw recorded the songs that director Paley used in the film. These recordings were protected by state commerce and business laws passed at the time in the absence of applicable Federal laws and were never truly "public domain".[12] In addition, the musical composition itself, including aspects such as the lyrics to the songs, the musical notation, and products derived from using those things, is still under copyright.[13] In the case of this film, the syncing of the recording with the movie is the infringing act.
Without a distributor, Nina Paley was unable to pay the approximately $220,000 that the copyright holders originally demanded. Eventually, a fee of $50,000 was negotiated. Paley took out a loan to license the music in early 2009.[1]

Unorthodox distribution
Due to terms of the music license, one limited DVD pressing of 4,999 copies will be printed. The film was released for free download starting in early March, 2009 "at all resolutions, including broadcast-quality, HD, and film-quality image sequences", licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-alike 3.0 Unported license.[14] The freely downloaded files will count as "promotional copies" and will thus be exempt from payments to the copyright holders of the songs.[1]

The full film can also be viewed in low-resolution streaming video on the web site for WNET, a PBS member station in New York City. WNET broadcast the film on March 7, 2009.
Nina Paley plans to make money through voluntary payments, ancillary products, sponsorships, voluntary payments from public screenings, the aforementioned limited DVD sales, and possibly other methods.[1]
A cornerstone of the distribution model is the "creator-endorsed" logo, developed by Nina Paley in cooperation with Although anyone is free to distribute the film, distributors who do so while giving a part of the profits to the artist can get the artist's endorsement and use the "creator-endorsed" logo on their promotional materials.[15][16]

so you can download the film, watch it on YouTube
Not much labor for Labor Day. We are wrapping up the perishable foods and getting the wheels in motion for school. Rob is off to France, Amsterdam and Germany (a ten day trip) starting Wednesday. Alex is having a birthday "Sausage Fest" complete with tee shirts and games next Saturday. So, things are likely to be a bit more Tburg centric until R. comes back.

How to fly on clouds

Monkey King redux. My Vin project is to be a movie poster for the Journey to the West, an opera/ and also tv show about this marvelous creature the Monkey King. This fellow is part of the Chinese Opera and is woven into the chinese and buddhist cultures that this is a rich vein along with my fascination and delight with monkeys in general.There are some pretty established aspects of this being--along with some great traditions one can tap into. When one googlates this topic--there are a ton of images from ancient manuscripts to t.v. market tested imags. Even today when perusing the pages of Juxtapoz, there up front and center was a character toy (a la Kid Robot) of the very same god.

I plan on getting the color comp approved and then rendering it 3 ways: 1) A la Ivan Chermayeff's Mobile Masterpiece Theater posters/graphics; 2) inspired by the Provensens and their referencing a decorative style from which the tale is spun, a la Chinese cut paper decoration; 3) last but not least, a wild ride using line and flat color a la Marie Antoinette...and seeing how it goes. It will give me a chance to talk with Doug and Murray about the thesis...and who knows, as I do love monkeys, we could just blow this one out.

Monkeys in addition to being independent creatures that mimic man were court decorations, symbols and/or gods in mainly Asian and African cultures. They are tricksters who come to some understanding of truth. This could be really fun and at least 18 images could happen. Plus, they are stylish...and if my boyfriend Walton Ford can go to town with monkeys, why shouldn't I?

From International
Powers/Abilities: The Monkey King was born out of rock, and hence is extremely strong and durable - in fact he is totally invulnerable. He is immortal, having gorged himself on the life-giving peaches of the Jade Emperor's sacred garden. He is also extremely smart - he learned all the magic tricks in the world from a master Taoist, so that he is now able to transform himself into seventy-two different images such as a tree, a bird, a beast of prey or a bug as small as a mosquito so as to sneak into an enemy's belly to fight him inside or out. He can employ clouds as vehicles allowing him to travel 180,000 miles in a single somersault. He uses a Wishing Staff he got from the Dragon Kings of the Oceans as his favorite weapon - it can expand or shrink at its owner's command (he normally stores it in his earlobe). He can turns clumps of his hair into any object he desires. His fiery eyes can see through most illusions. Being made of stone, he is uncomfortable underwater.

History: "The Nature of Monkey was Irrepressible!!" Monkey was hatched from a magical egg on a mountain top, which had been weathered and fertilised by the elements over many centuries. Made of stone and virtually indestructible (although he still feels pain), he was crowned the Monkey King after he proved to be the only monkey on the Mountain of Fruit and Flowers to dare go through the Water Curtain and set up a kingdom on Earth. Upon realising that he was destined to die like everyone else, he made it his new goal to become immortal. He located a Taoist who taught him magic and alchemy (and how to fly on clouds).