Monday, July 15, 2024

A Look At The Practical Beginnings of Bookends

Bookends, for all their whimsical designs, had practical beginnings. While today’s bookends are a mix between the beauty of visual form and the performance of a necessary function, centuries ago bookends mostly just kept people from getting hit on the head.

Monks in the Middle Ages: Before Bookends
During medieval times, books were really only found in monasteries and a few other scholarly locations, as books required a great deal of time and special skills to produce. Books were chained in lecterns and study areas and read on slanted surfaces in carrels (no place for bookends!).

An Increase of Books and the Evolving Need for Bookends
Around the end of the Renaissance, books began to be readily available to more and more people. Those lucky enough to have a very great – or even a very small – collection of books, generally kept them together, as they were still quite valuable.


Before books became so much more regular, a small pile of books might be stacked flat, or horizontally; but as the quantity of books increased, forming mountains of books didn’t seem to make much sense, even just considering safety reasons. Shelves and book chests came into use; eventually books began to be stored vertically by the end of the 16th Century.

Shelves, Categories, and Bookends
As libraries and collectors formed categorical systems for arranging books, and shelves grew taller and more accommodating, bookends became a means for keeping books neatly horizontal on an otherwise unfilled shelf. Bookends of sufficient weight would keep the shelved books safely in place and reduce book avalanches, making vertical book storage and the use of bookends a definite improvement over horizontally stacked book mountains.

Bookends Today: Displaying with Pride
People today generally don’t depend on bookends to save their heads from harm. Most sets of bookends serve simply to keep bookshelves tidy and add decorative complement. A set of bookends might be chosen to balance a particular display of books, those with collectible or very personal value. Many book lovers are also lovers of bookends and might become collectors of both. Finally, with all of the styles available today, bookends might be chosen simply because they reflect a certain theme – nautical, sports, cowboys, circus, etc – or because the bookends complement a decorative style like art deco, rustic, modern or romantic. It’s easy to fall in love with a set of bookends before books even come to mind.

Bookends certainly had practical beginnings, and they still serve the same practical purpose today. However, today’s bookends can add fun and stylish flair to any room of a home or office.


Body Art In The Work Place

Body art is everywhere and most people can name at least one person they know who has some kind of body work done. People with tattoos work in a variety of industries and hold entry-level jobs, as well as, top executive positions. Based on the number of new tattoo parlours and the number of people getting tattooed, this trend doesn’t appear to be slowing any time soon.

So, is body art a workplace issue? Does having a visible tattoo say anything about an individual that is relevant to his or her job?

According to survey, 85% of survey respondents believe that tattoos and body piercing impede ones chances of finding a job. They asked a few questions including:

1. Do you think that tattoos and/or body piercing hinder ones chances of finding a job? 85% answered Yes and only 15% – No.

Some of them left interesting comments:

“If you don’t have any tattoos or piercing you are more marketable.”

“It depends on the industry.”

“They won’t hinder ones chances as long as the person is smart and keeps them in places that an employer cannot see.”

2. How do tattoos and/or body piercing affect the opinions of co-workers and employers? Hinder said 64%, No Effect – 34% and Helped – only 2%.


“I know it hasn’t helped, however my job performance speaks for itself.”

“Regardless of who the REAL person may be, STEREOTYPES associated with piercing and tattoos can and do affect others.”

3. Do you conceal your tattoo(s) and/or body piercing(s) when at work? Yes – 53%, No – 47%


“I wouldn’t get tattoos that couldn’t be covered.”

“It depends on the job. At my day job in finance I keep my tattoos concealed. But at my night job as a booking agent I show them off.”

Reactions to tattoos in professional situations seem to be highly dependent on the specific industry and the employer. Even though tattoos are becoming more acceptable in the workplace, there are still some customer service industries that are concerned that employee with tattoos can affect their business (for instance, in retail they may startle children). These types of businesses should have a policy on tattoos and body piercing where they clearly explain the company rules. Employers with dress code or other grooming policies should review their policies frequently and make sure all managers are consistently enforcing the policies.

Can employees be forced to cover their body art during their shift? Talar Herculian, partner in one of the nation’s oldest and largest employment law firms said: “Yes. There is no right to expose your tattoo at work. However employers should be careful to apply their policy consistently to avoid the appearance of discrimination based on a protected category such as gender, race or religion. For example, if you require only men to keep their tattoos covered but allow women to keep their revealed because you think the women’s tattoos are not as offensive, your practice may be challenged as gender discrimination.”

When you are going to a job interview we recommend you to cover up tattoos and remove body piercing when interviewing. While dress codes have loosened, companies still expect candidates to look professional in an interview.

That is not the only reason why candidates should cover up their body art when interviewing; you do not want to distract an interviewer. People want interviewers to focus 100% on their qualifications and not be taken aback by their appearance.

While we should expect body art to gain further popularity and acceptance, we should remember that it does affect getting a job. So it is best to think twice before having it done. While times are changing not all things have, so plan your future body art. If you are entering a career field that recognizes and even appreciates artistic expression, you probably don’t need to worry about it. However, if you are applying for a customer service job, for example, it would be prudent to keep your artistic side to yourself.

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Modern Art Not So Modern – 41,000 Year Old Paintings Offer Clues to Neanderthal’s Artistry

Modern Art?

After a recent find of cave artwork found in Spain believing to date back as far as 41,000 years ago we can now see that our understanding of modern art is not all that different to what was considered to be art all those years ago.

41,000 Year Old

50 different wall paintings found in 11 caves in Spain have been analysed and is now believed to be 41,000 years old, ten thousand years older that what was originally perceived. The images found are the oldest cave paintings in Europe and the earliest accurately dated pieces in the world.

Most cave paintings found are of animals but not all of them in this case, it seems that the earliest forms of this type of artistry are actually similar to our form of modern art today.

The pictures are believed to be painted by Neanderthals but until further research is done it is hard to say.

modern art is possibly not quite so modern

Art is as they say very much in the eyes of the beholder. What one person my consider to be an exquisite masterpiece, others debunk as unworthy of the title.


Artwork donated to the Tate

The Tate has been very lucky to be given a collection of popular and valuable paintings from a British couple who share a love for British artwork.

 The collection of paintings that include art by David Hockney, Lucian Freud and Jacob Epstein have been presented to the Tate by Mercedes and Ian Stoutzker a couple with a passion for British art work and now live in Austria.

It was only last year when the generous couple donated £500.000 for a new concert hall at the Royal Welsh Collage and was named after his mother.

Sir Nicolas Serota, Director of the Tate said “Gifts and bequests from major collectors are the foundation of the national collection”.The Stoutzkers have added exemplary individual paintings by two generations of British artists and have greatly enriched the national collection of art after 1960”.

One of the paintings donated to the Tate




Silversmith crafts badge for Queens Jubilee

26 year old Miriam Hanid a Silversmith has been commissioned to craft a silver badge that will be mounted on a hunting stick and presented to the queen for her diamond jubilee.

“I didn’t originally know who my commission was for, so it was a great surprise when I was told it was for the Queen,” Said Miriam. “I wanted every detail to be absolutely perfect”.

The engraving she has so finely created for the queens jubilee is of pheasants flying over a river bed of reeds and rushes and will be proudly mounted on a hand crafted hunting stick which has a Rams horn placed on the end. Miriam hopes the Queen will use the walking stick when out on her hunting trips in Scotland.

Miriam’s great Grandfather, Walid Mohamed made a silver-mounted ostrich egg teapot and an ivory gong and striker for the queen back in 1952 to mark her visit to Kenya. With this in mind Miriam says “It felt really special to be following in my great-grandfather’s footsteps”.

Miriam graduated from Farnham’s University for the creative arts in 2007 and since then regularly gives master classes to students from (UCA) in Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham, Maidstone and Rochester.

DIY tips this bank holiday

It seems it will be a very popular year this year for UK home-owners to spend their bank holidays touching up on their decorating skills and performing a little DIY with their time off work.

To many people decorating a room in your home is a very simple task and can be done rather quickly, but does it always turn out the way you had hoped or do you find yourself sat at home and your eye just keeps taking your attention to something may have missed? Maybe something you could have done a bit better?

With the basic know how and a few tips along the way means that you can decorate your home properly and manage to clean down your paintbrushes stress free ready for next time.

Simple things like washing your brushes in warm water rather than hot will stop the paint from becoming lumpy and gooey around the bristles and will actually wash off without damaging yet another paint brush.

When cutting in around the edge of a wall or door frame be sure to poor what paint you will need into another container, there are a few reasons for this, one being most important is that you do not want to contaminate your paint by dipping a brush that may have dirt on back into the tin, next reason is if you were to knock your tin over you haven’t just wasted yourself a full tin of paint, which may I add, paint isn’t cheap.  And last but no means least when you leave the lid off a tin of paint it starts to go off like it would on the wall you are applying it to and may become gooey or crumbly around the edges, so take what you need and put the lid back on.

Using an old brush with split ends is always a good trick, this makes for a soft brush if cleaned properly after each time of being used. Leaving you smooth and clean lines which a brand new paint brush may not give you.

Always allow the correct time advised on the back of the tin between each coat. If this is not done before each coat you are sure to smudge the layer underneath and will leave an uneven finish.

If painting onto a strong previous colour it is always a great idea to just take a bit of time to paint a light colour like white or magnolia on before you apply your desired colour. This will give the boldness your colour will need.

Bank Holiday Decorating

According to HSBC this year’s bank holidays will see more UK homeowners staying at home, saving money and catching up on the DIY and decorating around their homes.

Decorating your home to many people can seem a doddle but to many, when you get up close your lovely front door or living room wallpapering probably hasn’t turned out as well as it could have, with bubbles and drips in the paint, obvious brush marks and sags in the wallpaper, Homebase, leading home and garden store have trained their members of staff to a ‘T’ by sending them to DIY courses to brush up on their own skills enabling them to give the best customer service and advice when it comes to helping customers make the right choice in home decoration equipment.

So if you’re one of many who will be giving your home a makeover this bank holiday, pop into your nearest Homebase store and ask one of their professionally trained members of staff for help.

The professionals choice of paint is available here: