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Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

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The craftsman
Volume XXX, Number 2 (May 1916)

Book reviews,   pp. 221-26a PDF (1.7 MB)


Page 222


BOOK REVIEWS
DECORATIVE DESIGN: A TEXT-
BOOK OF PRACTICAL METHODS:
BY JOSEPH CUMMINGS CHASE
T HE notes for the study of design with
      which this book deals are the result
      of the author's experience as in-
structor in decorative design for a period of
years at the College of the City of New
York and at the Woman's Art School of
Cooper Union. Compiled to meet the prac-
tical requirements of studies, it deals brief-
ly and directly with the subjects at hand.
We are reproducing a few of the designs
printed in this book as examples of the re-
sults attained by school children from ap-
plication of the principles developed in this
book. This book is primarily for reference,
guide and inspiration to amateurs and
school students.
  The table of contents reveals that such
subjects as decorative motives, systems of
arrangement, symmetry, balance, radiation,
color contrast, color harmony, animal and
flower motives, lettering and information
on photo-engraving, line cuts, Ben Day
tints, line tones, etc., are given most detailed
consideration. The following quotations
give a better idea of the concise style of this
book, which is one of the Wiley Technical
Series, edited by J. M. Jameson, Girard
College, than any word of approval we
could write.
  "There are two kinds of design: i. That of
two dimensions, known as applied or deco-
rative, and that of three dimensions, com-
monly called constructive. The second has
to do with the manufacture of objects in-
volving length, breadth, and thickness, such
as buildings, furniture, and utensils of all
kinds. This book treats in no way of con-
structive design. It is concerned entirely
with the study of design of two dimensions,
applied or decorative. This study, especial-
ly as pertaining to the enrichment of sur-
faces, adds immeasurably to our perception
of beauty in form, color, and texture.
  "2. The creating of patterns for the en-
richment of surfaces demands, first, the in-
vention of a suitable decorative motive
(also called figure, or unit), and, second,
the selection of that system of arrangement
which will govern and facilitate the use of
this motive. ...
  "Decorative or applied design must not
detract from the usefulness of the object to
which it is applied. It should give added
use, or added beauty, or both.
  "In the making of designs for a specific
222
I
purpose, we must consider carefully the iu
to which the thing decorated is to be put
The fact that a rose-motive is of itself C*
cellent and entirely in good taste as a de*.
rative unit for wall paper does not guarat,.
tee its fitness as a decoration for a cook-
ing utensil. The forethought this involve
we call the consideration of fitness to put-
pose ...
  "In making designs for surfaces that are
intended to attract the eye as well as to a-
pear beautiful, an understanding of color
contrast and emphatic spotting of a form or
forms is of the greatest importance. Color
contrast, however, is like strong drink; it
must not be used intemperately. Color con.
trast is particularly useful for posters, for
all advertisements in fact.
  "On the other hand, in making designs
for surfaces that are intended to be beauti-
ful rather than striking, color harmony and
quiet, dignified arrangement of the motives,
producing an effect of repose and 'live-with.
ableness,' are absolutely essential. This is
the case with wall papers, ceiling decors"
tions, rugs, fabrics and book covers in*
tended for the library table rather than for
the news-stand." (Published by John Wiley
& Sons, Inc., New York. Illustrated. 73
pages. Price $1.5o net.)
I
CHATS ON JAPANESE PRINTS: BY
ARTHUR DAVISON FICKE
        HE day is coming-perhaps it is alA
        ready here-when the Japanese
    "Tprint will become the spiritual
         possession of a wider circle than
that limited group of collectors who have
been devoted to it in the past. Alien though
this art is, it has power to penetrate to re-
gions of the mind which Western art too
often leaves unsatisfied.
  "Because of the fact that the best Jap-
anese prints are so superb an expression of
the sense of form, they may be rated high
as cultural agents. In them the eye finds
little or no distraction occasioned by mere ",
subject.  Here speak the pure elements of
artistic creation, liberated from combination
with elements of accidental and personal"
charm.   They contain the quintessence of
all those harmonious and significant quaIl-
ties which men desire of life.   He who.'
really takes them into his consciousness will i
be repelled by disorder, dullness, and ind&"
terminateness all his days. And probabli
the world will be saved by its hatred or
these things. Therefore the Japanese print
cannot be regarded as primarily a patt


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