Friday, May 8, 2009

A Profile on Profiles!

Today's Wonder of the World is...the Silhouette!

Flickr photo by mgm photography
Knowing how talented you people are, you can probably do this free handed...

(Public domain photo)
but it absolutely blows me away.
Do you like silhouettes?
Before photography came along, there was no way to record one's appearance except through art. Silhouettes were the cheapest way to go.

In fact, the word silhouette was sort of a put down, named for Etienne de Silhouette, an unpopular French finance minister who forced all the rich folks to melt down all their goldware and silverware to help pay for the Seven Years' War. Making cut paper portraits was a hobby of his, so the word silhouette came to mean two things: anything cheaply done and the portraits cut from black paper.

Of course if Jenny Lee Fowler had been around back then, she might have suggested he trade in the paper for birch bark, or maybe poplar leaves.

Photo by
Leaves and bark are free. Plus they're so much more interesting!
Click on the photo and have Jenny do yours!

Emily Dickinson's silhouette is one of my favorites.

Silhouettes preserve an air of mystery, so they're perfect for poet Emily.
That particular silhouette was made by Charles Temple, Emily's French instructor when she was fourteen.
I'm pretty sure Emily preferred silhouettes to photographs anyway. When Thomas Wentworth Higginson asked her to send him a photograph of herself, she replied, "Could you believe me--without?" She said she had no portrait at the present but gave the following description of herself, "[I] am small, like the Wren, and my Hair is bold, like the Chestnut Bur--and my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass, that the Guest leaves."
What a woman.

I wonder what she'd think about all the silhouettes hanging out around Greer.
You know, ones like this.

Flickr photo by alafia53

If you live in the city, you see your share of silhouettes too.
This kind.

Flickr photo by StGrundy
What? Yours don't hula hoop?
Maybe they ride bikes!

Silhouettes of architecture can be pretty.

Flickr photo by blende

But I like the ones of children best.

Flickr photo by Butterfly923

I wonder if Tanner the Slobber Dog could sit still long enough.
Maybe if he had some good tunes to keep him occupied.

Flickr photo by Mr. Mark
No, he'd suck those cords down like spaghetti.

Before you leave me in the dark, (ha ha,) please indulge in this Friday treat. I'd never heard of the Pilobolus Dance Theatre until my fabulous friend Louise posted this video on her blog.
Take a few moments to enjoy the dance in silhouette!

Have a wonder-full Friday and a super weekend, everybody!
Love, Becky


Wendy said...

You remain a great inspiration!
Thank you!
~ Wendy

Felicity said...

That was so fun! Thanks!

lotusgirl said...

I especially love the silhouette of the little girl in the sunset. Lovely. The dance was fun to watch. Pretty amazing what they can do.

adrienne said...

I saw that video the other day. It's awesome!
My son likes to cut crazy masks out of leaves - I never thought of trying a silhouette. Very cool!

TattingChic said...

Another cool post! Love the hula hoop street sign. Some street signs around here have a surfer girl or boy on them...complete w/ pony tail and surfboard for the girl and short hair and surfboard for the boy. They are cute...and for REAL! I love Emily Dickinson. Thanks for sharing the origin of the silhouette! That is interesting.

T. Anne said...

Love the pictures! Is today a silhouette of tomorrow or yesterday?

Kelly H-Y said...

Amazing your timing ... my son's class just had their silhouettes done. They are SO sweet. Their teacher said it was her absolute favorite art project of the year, and had a hard time taking them down off the wall and sending them home!

Suzie said...

My Grandma has a siloutte of my aunt. When I was a kid I found it so beautiful and fastinating.

Beatriz Kim said...

The little girl and Emily Dickinson are my favorites. I love the poetry of Emily Dickinson. It's still relevant today!

Thanks for this post. I've only been following for a week and a half, but I've enjoyed it immensely.

Have a great weekend!

Rosemary said...

Loved it!!
Happy Mother's Day to you Rebecca!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Ah, these are so pretty. I had mine done when I was a little girl. Still have it.

Sherry said...

I like silhouettes. The most beautiful one is of the girl in the sunset, but another favorite in the Greer silhouette. Love it!

LW said...

What a great story about Emily Dickinson...

Happy Mother's Day ...


Susie Q said...

I just LOVE your blog and your wonderful posts! I always laugh, smile and learn something too! What could be better than that!?

Happy Mother's Day Dear Becky!


May Vanderbilt said...

I love Pilobolus! I could watch them for hours and hours.

And I also love silhouettes. So sweet and simple!

Susan said...

You can stand between a light source and your canvas and do a self portrait silhouette.
The video of the Pilobolus Dance troupe was wonderful.
As usual, you have given us such a marvelous post. Wonder never do cease with you around. Thanks so much and Happy Mother's Day.

Fete et Fleur said...

Happy Mother's Day to you! Of course, I love silhouettes! The one showing the little girl's profile is exquisite.

Have a beautiful day!

JaxPop said...

My mother - almost 80 now - still has the framed silhouettes of my sister & me hanging on the wall of her dining room. They were done when I was a 9 year old chubbo. THAT was when I leaned about double chins!

Have a nice Mom's Day.

Barb said...

That was fun! I love the little girl-so precious. I think you should try your hand at it.

Have a beautiful Mother's Day. Let your family pamper you.