It’s my turn again to curate the next Style Imitating Art (SIA) challenge! I recently came across some Japanese block prints and was captivated at the description of the process. In that reading, I came across some prints by an American woman artist, Bertha Lum (1869 – 1954), who helped popularize Chinese and Japanese woodblock art in the U.S. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and lived in both Japan and China during her life. You can read more about Bertha Lum’s life here and here, and see a gallery of some of her works here on the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. You can also see more of her work here on Pinterest.
I honestly could have chosen half of her work, which is so beautiful and thought-provoking. I love that she combined elements of Art Nouveau into many of her Asian-inspired prints. Ultimately, I chose a 1905 print that at first glance does not seem typical of her usual style, but I was drawn to its simplicity and frankly, its title, “The Home Coming.” The print is currently in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. It turns out that is a variation of the final “The Home Coming” print, as seen here — it looks like the print I chose is a foundation print for that final work. (Which makes me love it even more!) You can also see online what looks to be a middle step for the finished piece, also at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; all the variations have the same title and year.
Why this print? We are in the process of moving to a new home, and this subtle print spoke to me of yearning and new beginnings. I connect to this print emotionally. Also, bridges are very prevalent here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a sliver slice of a bridge view, but the print could also be viewed in the abstract, so you could do colorblock or patterns in your SIA-inspired outfit. The main colors are a bluish grey and an off-white, but there are also bits of navy or black in the print, and you could pull in the tan or soft yellow around the print.
Whether or not you connect to this print emotionally like I do, I do hope you will participate in this week’s SIA challenge! Bloggers and non-bloggers are all welcome to participate. Just send a photo of an outfit inspired by this week’s inspiration pick — flat lays or selfies or collages are also okay — to me at email@example.com by next Monday, June 27. I will post the round-up on my blog on Wednesday, June 29.