Joseph Wood Krutch : Herbal


The cover may not look so inviting but inside this book are lovely woodcut reproductions from the 16th century.  I found this book in the Science stacks while examining some reference books for display. This book, by naturalist Joesph Wood Krutch looks at theories and discoveries of Herbalists from ancient times to present day. 100 plants and 6 creatures are detailed within.


Herbalists were the fathers of medicine, pharmacology and horticulture and herein lies their many beliefs in text and illustration. Beautifully detailed are lettuce, mistletoe, juniper, nasturtiums, oats, and nutmeg along with many other plants. Included are illustrations of animals these herbalists felt could be used in treatment of disease. Herein lies a beautiful book.


“The illustrations in this book are taken from the woodcuts in Pierandrea Mattioli’s huge folio volume, Commentaries on the Six Books of Dioscorides, issued in Prague in 1563 and Venice in 1565.  The work was first published in 1544 and appeared in some fifty editions in several languages, but all of those prior to 1563 had very much smaller plates.


It is not known who made all of these monumental drawings and cut them in wood but most of them are generally attributed to Giorgio Liberale and Wolfgang Meyerpeck. However, on the Orange plate (page 113) the initials WS appear in the lower left corner, indicating that at least one other craftsman was involved.  In any case, these are certainly among the finest Herbal illustrations ever printed and are obviously, for the most part, based upon observation rather than being copies of copies, as was so often the practice up to that time.”

You can view this book in the Science Division. It is a reference book and must be used in the library.

Mother Eagle: Sublime Embroidery in Miniature


Should you doubt your embroidery and stitching skills, Mother Eagle embroidery isn’t the place you should be looking at to make you feel better. A woman named Katie, a UK artist, is the person behind Mother Eagle, she does lovely fine hand embroidery in miniature. She fifth generation needleworker, a skill she learned from her mother as a child. Each work is something to behold.

You won’t find the usual with Mother Eagle, instead you will find forest creatures, anatomy like hearts, and rib cages, skulls, and octopi. Mother Eagle designs and creates her miniature embroidery patterns, some are smaller than 1mm. She creates these small embroideries for many of the pretty pendants she makes. Each one of her pieces takes hours of work and because her stitches are so small she uses magnifying glasses while working on a piece. Her work is so lovely, they are destined to become heirlooms.


In this interview she did with Feeling Stitchy, Mother Eagle talks about the fabric she uses. She has been lucky enough to have inherited some pretty antique fabrics that are trimmed in lace. For those of us not lucky enough to have these antique pieces we can use old pillowcases like she uses and then she dyes them in black tea.


I would love to see her moths embroidered onto a Mister Finch moth, another incredible UK fiber artist!

Click ribcage to see more of her images


More images and an interview here.

Mother Eagle’s Facebook page and some flickr images.


And if her beautiful work is not enough, Mother Eagle is a cat lover and H.P. Lovecraft fan!

All images used by Mother Eagle’s permission.



Books as Artistic, Historical, and Physical Objects

trio Listen here on Arts Friday, 1370 Connection, to Sally Snow, and Andrea Reithmayr talk to Announcer/Producer Mona Seghatoleslami at WXXI about books as physical, historical, and artistic objects. Click here and here to listen. You can enter an artist or altered book in the library’s juried show, The Art of the Book.

Sally Snow is Assistant Director of the Monroe County Library System and Communications director for the Rochester Public Library. Andrea Reithmayr is Special Collections Librarian and the Rare Book Conservator at the University of Rochester. Mona Seghatoleslami, radio host, is the host and producer of Classical 91.5 FM on WXXI. The book image above is “Date Due: It’s Not A Popularity Contest” by Jody Alexander. NN Art Librarian at Central


Golgotha: H.P. Lovecraft’s Skull in the Graphic Novel


Karl Slominski is an illustrator from Spencerport, NY, who now lives in New York City. He has illustrated Golgotha and and is working on a new graphic novel, Ashes.

Lovecraft fans will want to read Golgotha, about the skull of horror author, Howard Phillips Lovecraft. This is a  fast-paced story written by Andrew Harrison and the dark expressive illustrations of Karl Slominski. It is set in Lovecraft’s hometown and where many of his stories take place, Providence , R.I. When Lovecraft’s skull is stolen a group of junkies go on a search to locate it. I’m not a graphic novel reader but I am a big Lovecraft fan so that may get me to read this.

The novel includes Brazilian guys that dress as Vampires and a gang of British punk rockers. Along the way dark things dwell in the darkness of Providence that seem out to get the gang looking for the skull, even a coven of Deep Ones who worship the idol of Cthulhu show up. You’ll have to read Lovecraft to find out more about the Cthulhu and The Deep ones.

The novel is receiving good reviews and the Arts Division will have it soon. I’m not a graphic novel reader but I am a big Lovecraft fan so that may get me to read this.

Interview with Karl Slominski


Review Time!


Graphic Policy

Karl Slominski @KidReverie Talks About Making Comic Art

Books or ebooks Central owns about or by Lovecraft

Another Graphic Novel


ebook via OverDrive














David Stark: Paper, Insects and Mushrooms


Bergdorf Goodman is celebrating the latest book by David StarkThe Art of The Party. To celebrate they had David Stark Design Studio create these wonderful paper sculptures exclusively for the store.


View some of the book here and see info about the book below.


The Arts Division owns the book click on the cover for more info.


Expired Library Books


We see many torn, shredded damaged books here at Central. Some fall apart on their own and others get damaged accidentally. Photographer, Kerry Mansfield, who claims not to be a a big reader, has photographed some of these discarded items that she buys from from other libraries. She may not be a big reader but she finds the molded and damaged book to be of interest enough to photograph it. Her photographs turn the abandoned book into an artifact complete with mold, mildew, tears, margin scribbles or broken bindings. The New York Times’ Lens Blog, has a slide show where you can view her photographs.

She started out photographing children’s books and books for teens, such as the well known Dr. Seuss book, “Hop on Pop,” and obscure ones like Evelyn Sibley Lampman’s “The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek.” She then turned her camera to books for adults like  Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” You see them on the Lens Blog.


Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here


In 2014 the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County will host an international book exhibit, “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here.”, a project to memorialize much of the reading material that was lost in the car bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad on 5th March 2007.

The coalition handling the project, asked each Book Artist who joined the project to complete three books (or other paper material) over the course of a year, books that reflected both the strength and fragility of books, but also showed the endurance of the ideas within them. We asked for work that reflected both the targeted attack on this “street of the booksellers” as well as the ultimate futility of those who try to erase thought.

You can see some of the booksellers via the al-Mutanabbi Street Project in photos by Iraqi photographer Ghassan A. Malik.

Below you can see some images artist Scott McCarney did for the exhibit. When the exhibit arrives next year you will be able to see the book in real time.

Scott McCarney is an artist, designer, and educator based in Rochester, New York. He received formal design training at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond VA) in the 1970s, and earned an advanced degree in photography from the University at Buffalo/Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester NY) in the 1980s. His primary art practice has been in book form since 1980 and spans many media, from offset and digital editions to sculpture and site-specific installation. His books combine his academic background in photography and design with a love for the corporeality of craft and philosophic possibilities of sculpture. His works are widely distributed and can be found in the library collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and Yale University Arts of the Book collection, among others. His work is shown internationally (Sao Paulo, Brazil; Melbourne, Australia; Budapest, Hungary) as well as close to home (Hallwalls, Buffalo NY; Everson Museum, Syracuse NY; Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester NY). His teaching and lecturing itinerary is varied and eclectic, carrying the banner of artists books to Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Mexico, and South America. He currently teaches in the College of Imaging Arts and Science at Rochester Institute of Technology.