Saturday, October 13, 2012


The fragile work of Atsum Izumi. Read more about her process here.

I've enjoyed reading Neil Gaiman's thoughts on fragile things.

"Stories, like people and butterflies and songbirds' eggs and human hearts and dreams, are also fragile things, made up of nothing stronger or more lasting than twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks. Or they are words on the air, composed of sounds and ideas-abstract, invisible, gone once they've been spoken- and what would be more frail than that? But some stories, small, simple ones about setting out on adventures or people doing wonders, tales of miracles and monsters, have outlasted all the people who told them, and some of them have outlasted the lands in which they were created."  - Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things

Exquisite porcelain pieces by Atsum Izumi

"It occurs to me that the peculiarity of most things we think of as fragile is how tough they truly are. There were tricks we did with eggs, as children, to show how they were, in reality, tiny load-bearing marble halls ....."  -  Neil Gaiman

Atsum Izumi's porcelain pieces. See more here.

"Hearts may break, but hearts are the toughest of muscles, able to pump for a lifetime, seventy times a minute, and scarcely falter along the way. Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkably difficult to kill."  -  Neil Gaiman

An inspiring video peaked my curiosity about Neil Gaiman. If you have the time, watch it here from beginning to end.

Porcelain sculpture by Cheryl Ann Thomas. See website here.

Cheryl Ann Thomas constructs her intriguing pieces by building tall thin vessels of coiled porcelain which when fired collapse and fold in on themselves.

Leslie Avon Miller's exquisite self portrait series. See the rest of the series here.

"The self portrait eggs are fragile. 
They have cracked but not broken, 
have been mended, 
making them all the stronger 
yet remaining open to new experiences. 
Tucked into special places for safe keeping."
-  Leslie Avon Miller

Whitewash by Deeann Rieves. See website here.

Her Tattered Covering by Deeann Rieves ( embroidery, lace and acrylic). See website here.

 Detail of Her Tattered Covering
 No Longer Bound by Deeann Rieves. 

Lace by Laura J. Wellner. See blog here.

"Artists are not fragile, but we are delicate."  -  Julia Cameron


  1. beautiful post Robyn
    love these thoughts about fragility and strength...
    especially enjoy her tattered covering
    and whitewash
    you have inspired my Saturday...

  2. This was lovely, Robyn. Thank you for such a beautiful display and words.


  3. Gorgeous post. I love the quotes. Thanks. just what i needed today.

  4. oh these fragile words and images speak straight to my soul this morning thank you Robyn you put together the most beautiful inspiring posts!

  5. lovely, exquisite and breathtaking and all sorts of superlatives ......

  6. right from the heart Robyn, so beautiful, love Laura and Leslie's pieces... so lovely, thank you... again

  7. Love Gaiman and these pieces.. All breathtaking!

  8. wow beautiful that I can't catch my breath...

  9. R-this is so true about life really - it is all so fragile - we but have a misguided view of its substance. As you point out though there is such beauty in fragility. Thanks for sharing the beauty. B

  10. As usual Robyn, you have gathered together various examples of fragility to make us think about the word as well as the art form it has inspired. It has really made me think about words though - there is a fragility to them, in that they are so easily erased - the spoken word disappears instantly the moment it has been spoken - but then there are the words which are translated into writing - and much of this has been around for thousands of years. What an interesting topic.

  11. This made me think about why I don't have much fragile art in the house. I tend to break things. Then look here and see it is quite in fashion. Have a good week...

  12. I love your posts. This one especially touched my heart - love the balance of fragility and strength - the images - the words.

    Gaiman's speech to the art grads was great. I sent it on to my son.

    Thank you!

  13. Robyn, How I love all these pieces!
    Everything is wonderful. I will have to come back to check out the links.
    Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkably difficult to kill." - Neil Gaiman
    I relate to this as I have painted for more than 36 years and rarely sell my work, struggle to paint and work, even when I think I will stop painting, maybe go to school to be something else, I cannot bring myself to stop painting, ever :-).xoxo

  14. i love the paradox of fragility/strength. much to think on. beautiful work.

  15. Thank you so much for the beautiful post Robyn, and for including my work, I had never really considered my pieces from that perspective and it is very refreshing. Love love love the other work as well...

  16. I think nature regularly tests how fragile we are when see people and places destroyed by fire, floods, earthquakes and the like. People also show how strong we are too when they pick up the pieces and slowly put their lives back together. Fragility takes many forms. Love Leslie's work, I think her eggs describe the situation perfectly.

  17. I like very much the sketchbooks of Deeann Rieves. They are piece by piece beautiful treasures.
    Thanks for bringing them under my attention Robyn.

  18. Not to mention the cracked self portrait series of Leslie Avon Miller. Wow! Great stuff!!

  19. The quality of being fragile is such a unique way to thread all these pieces together, and and I am so pleased that you did Robyn!

    The delicate lace of Laura's leaf image just pulls at my heart, as do the edges and tatters of Deeann's work and the beautiful edges of Atsum Izumi's pieces. Thank you also for sharing Cheryl Ann Thomas' sculpture.

    Thank you Robyn, thank you.

  20. What a beautiful post to come across today, lovely words from Gaiman to complement the exquisite pieces from Izumi and others. Thank you.

  21. Love this . . . I'm a big fan of Leslie Miller's work.

  22. I am just a little ol piece a shoe leather. Tough n terrible. ;)

    Lovely philosophy here. Thanda.

  23. Your posts are illustrated poetry. So nice to be able to come back and take in a little at a time. There's so much in life to be reminded of.

  24. Wim, I'm glad you found Deeann's sketchbooks. Treasures indeed. Leslie's 'Cracked'series is exquisite, isn't it?! She takes such beautiful photographs too.

    Leslie, it's a joy to have such beautiful art on my blog. Thank you for being a part of it.

    Art, I'm so glad you enjoyed the post.

    Kathryn... me too :-) I love Leslie's work!

    Mansuetude, never terrible! ...tough on the one hand ... and fragile n sweet on the other. Thanda

    Thanks Robin, we humans do need constant reminding. Blogging helps me to remember the important things in life.

  25. I'm a recently-turned-on Neil Gaiman fan too. Now I'm off to get hooked on the work of some of these wonderful artists you've shared today. How ever do you find so many treasures? You are a treasure yourself, Robyn :)

  26. fragile but strong.. what a beautiful post Robyn.. the words by Neil Gaiman have made me a fan.

  27. What a thought filled moving post. Life does seem so fragile at times but what you have uncovered here is the strength that always lies underneath.

  28. ArtPropelled said...
    Thanks eb, 'Her Tattered Covering' is a particularly moving piece..... It makes me feel extremely vulnerable.

    Georgina, glad you enjoyed the post. I love the Neil Gaiman quote about stories.

    Thanks Annie, hope you're having a good week.

    Mo, I was inspired by the words and images myself :-)

    Kathy, exactly! Each piece is breathtaking.

    Cat, it was a joy to pull this post together.

    Gwen, did you watch the video? So inspiring.

    Lisa, I imagine Deeann's work really speaks to you.

    Barry, is extremely fragile and yet we have inner strength beyond belief.

    Weaver, I also think of the story tellers who have passed stories down from generation to generation and hope that the art of story telling is not dying out.

    Lisa at Greenbow, I must say I do worry about my terracotta artifacts from the Cameroon. They could break so easily.

    Judy, oh I'm so glad you watched the video! I hope your son is inspired.

    Annie C, painting is your passion and it shows in your work.

    Velma, the quotes gave me a lot of food for thought too.

    Deeann, I'm so happy that you like the post, especially since your work is a major part of it. 'Her Tattered Covering' is very moving.

    Ro, people do show amazing strength when faced with disaster. You mention the destruction caused by fires and I remember the letterbox project in Australia. Amazing how people find the silver lining.

  29. Donna, do you remember Neil Gaiman's christmas wishes a few years back. (Magic and good madness)

    Thanks Seth, there always seems to be underlying strength in human fragility.