The tree of happiness flowers and fruits most abundantly for the creative man
400 ARTY DECO MOTIFS
This book focuses on the style of design that emerged in the 1920’s. This style which glorified the new modern world was characterised by inspirational and optimistic motifs and forms such as sunbursts, scallops, zigzags, lightning bolts, spirals and cloud billows. Motifs such as wings and gears also conveyed society’s keen interest in fast locomotives and motor cars. Art Deco is a decorative style as its name implies, but more than this – it is a style encompassing form and mass. This book comprehensively explores these new forms as well as the decorative; presenting these designs in a functional fashion for your use and inspiration.
These motifs have been sourced from jewellery, art pottery, statues, motorcars, household appliances and object d’art from around the world. It is this breadth of sourcing that explains why Art Deco lends itself so well to all modern day crafts, hobbies and pursuits. If you are an Embroiderer, Quilter, Wood Carver, Fabric Painter or Scrap Booker (to name a few) this publication will supply you with a wellspring of inspiring images. From within this generous collection of motifs, borders and patterns, you will find the precise image you are looking for to inspire you or to complete your project.
‘400 ART DECO MOTIFS’ INTRODUCTION
In the 1920’s, in the city where I live, architects suddenly turned their backs on the models of their Edwardian fathers and embraced a new and exciting style. Across the city of Durban – commercial and residential buildings were erected with new lines, new forms and new details. Victorian verandahs gave way to modern cantilevered balconies, and mock Gothic and Tudor styling stood down to bold Mayan and Egyptian pyramidal shapes and forms. Gone was the Edwardian fretwork and in its place the buildings sported exotic decorations like sunbursts, scallops, zigzags and spirals. Standing confidently in the bright Natalian light, surrounded by palms and frangipani trees – these new buildings suited the subtropical holiday city of Durban then, as well as now.
The year 1918 had seen the end of World War 1 and I can imagine the societies who had been brutalised by five years of war wanting to explore something new and fresh. Across the world from Durban to Djibouti, from Sydney to Auckland, Miami to New York and London to Vienna – this new style, now called ‘Art Deco’, was to influence virtually all artistic expressions. Motifs such as sunbursts and cloud billows illustrated this new found optimism and freedom.
These motifs and forms glorified the modern age and especially all the new inventions and discoveries of the time. This is especially evident in the structured forms of the buildings. Time-saving electrically driven machines were now making their appearance in public places and homes, bringing with them a whole new enthusiasm for convenience. In the Art Deco style – this is manifested by the liberal use of electricity bolts and sparks. Motifs such as wings and gears also conveyed society’s keen interest in fast locomotives and motor cars. Record-breaking was the craze and crossings of the Atlantic by ocean-going liners such as the Queen Mary inspired many illustrations and posters. Not only did these subjects engender new motifs, but the very subjects themselves came under the sway of stylists. The cabins and ballrooms of the liners were decorated in the current forms and patterns, and vehicles and locomotives were streamlined to the shape of the time.
Not only was Art Deco a decorative style as its name implies, but more than this – it was a style encompassing form and mass. This is evident in the structural forms of the buildings. This book comprehensively explores these new forms as well as the decorative; presenting these designs in a functional fashion for your use and inspiration.
The enthusiasm and life-joy of the style is one of the reasons for the popularity of Art Deco today. Heritage Societies have sprung up all over the world seeking to preserve this art. Today enthusiasts collect and trade Art Deco jewellery, art pottery, statues and artefacts around the world, and architects are again building new structures in this style. Those passionate of this style will value this book.
Art Deco’s chameleon-like character blends in with modern living and styling. Yet even more than this – the wide subject matter of Art Deco that embraced everything from motor cars to jewellery, presents to artists an amazingly rich legacy, with wide present day application and adaptability.
I have sourced the motifs in this book from this varied expression. Some of these sources are architecture, machinery, fabric, ornaments, advertisements, sculptures and household appliances. It is this breadth that explains why the style lends itself to all modern day crafts, hobbies and pursuits. If you are an Embroiderer, Quilter, Wood Carver, Fabric Painter or Scrap Booker (to name a few) this publication will supply you with a wellspring of inspiring images. I know that from within this collection of motifs, borders and patterns from around the world, you will find the precise image you are looking for to complete your project.
So too the creative professions – Cabinet Makers, Architects, Illustrators, Advertisers and Teachers of the Arts, who are always looking for inspiration or the right design. You will be able to take full advantage and benefit from Art Deco’s generous endowment.
Graham Leslie McCallum