Wednesday, December 20, 2006


After weeks of trying to explain myself in 500 words or less, I've decided that Shaw is right on many things. The least of which is that I too should have a blog, and not just the blog on myspace which I was informed "doesn't count" or my project blog which I've been told also "doesn't count" and hasn't had a new post in 6 months.

The title Our Wonder World comes from a 1914 encyclopedia that I'm in love with. I love it's obvious failures in fact checking, I love its strange illustrations, I love its questions, I love its answers, I love its unapologetic world view. I even love its fonts and page quality.

It is a series of 11 volumes, titles following:

Vol. 1 The World and its Peoples
Vol. 2 Invention and Industry
Vol. 3 The Nature Book
Vol. 4 Exploration, Adventure, and Achievement
Vol. 5 Every Child's Story Book
Vol. 6 Sports and Pastimes, Indoors and Out
Vol. 7 Amateur Handicraft
Vol. 8 Story and History
Vol. 9 The Mother's Home Book
Vol. 10 The Quiz Book
Vol. 11 The Wonder of Life

Now I've only ever encountered Vol. 1, which totally changed my life. The images I found in this testament-to-a-time past were so compelling that I began to use them as backgrounds for my paintings. Using artifacts like children's encyclopedias in my work is a fundamental strategy of mine. How can I make work about our culture that has no physical element of our culture in it? Na. But also, I love how they look. I've been trying to purchase the other ten volumes on Abes, but either they're way too expensive, or they cancel my order when the shop can't find the books. I'm still kicking myself for the day that I saw them all in the thrift store in Baltimore and didn't buy them all at once, but instead just the first, which maybe was all I could handle at the time.

I digress about the purchasing of encyclopedias.

So here I go, with my new all general blog about the world as I see it, or find it, or experience it, or like it.


MS said...

I am glad that you are here.
A life like yours is best told.
It is the best thing for all of us.

Larry said...

Rachel -- I have a complete set of OUR WONDER WORLD -- mine says 'copyright 1914, 1918' in the front, so I guess they were published in 1918. I love the first painting in vol. 1, 'Off for the planets!' -- classic. I'm guessing my grandmother bought them for my mother (my mom was born in 1918) when she was a child.

jlerma5 said...
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Luck said...

I have the whole set from the original 1914 publication, and each and every one of them says that there are 10 volumes, and they make no mention of "The Wonder of Life." I'm guessing it was published later on?