joseph cornell and ballet

Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Celestial Fantasy with Tamara Toumanova), Early 1940sI love a good surprise, the kind that tips over into delight, especially when my two great passions collide: book arts and ballet. Little did I know that when I started my research on assemblage artist Joseph Cornell, I'd also learn that he was obsessed with ballet. It inspired some of his work, in fact.

For a run-down on a range of pieces he created for or that were inspired by ballerinas, The Australian Ballet's blog, Behind Ballet, does a nice job here.

Now that's the second thing we have in common - no wait, the third: we're both into the book arts, we're both inspired by ballet, and neither of us is (was) a formally-trained visual artist.

I realize that it's a bit ridiculous to compare myself to Cornell, but I feel like I'm in good company. My path into fine arts has been unconventional and intuitive, not formal or structured. It's little signs like this that tell me to just keep going.

ballet is hot

Is it just me, or is ballet hot these days? And I'm not refering to the Nutcracker. This sense started nearly two years ago for me, back when I started work for the CityDance project. I noticed a trend in couture fashion that was ballet-inspired, with designers using lots of tulle, soft colors and draping. At the time, I thought it was just me having ballet on brain for a dance-related project.

Then this fall, I read about Rodarte's involvement in costuming for Black Swan and got pretty excited. This week, I bumped into this exquisite piece, Little Ballerina, by photographer David Eustace for the ANTHROPOLOGiST. Today, I listened to Terry Gross' Fresh Air interview with Jennifer Homans about her new book, Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet.

This all makes me very happy, of course. I was feeling a little nerdy about my obsession with sewing layers of tulle onto handmade paper. But now I just feel rather fashionable.