Thursday, June 01, 2006

Beauty and Function

"Like medals struck by a great savage khan..."

Annielf posted about manhole covers the other day, so I looked for
Karl Shapiro's poem on the subject. Then I found this manhole "connection" to Quilts . The most ordinary and mundane objects can be beautiful, and I love the effort to make something purely functional into an object whose beauty can be admired each day.

And the fact that some cities commission artists for their "hatchcovers" (is "manhole cover" no longer pc?) is something I find endearing. Doesn't it say something about the personality of the city itself? Seattle decided to do this in the 1950's: "Seattle was one of the first places in the country to pass a law that sets aside funds to pay for art in public places....From manhole covers to electrical substations to the downtown Metro Bus Tunnel, public art is everywhere." Way to go, Seattle!

How about these from Japan? And here is a Japanese Manhole Cover Museum. This artist makes rubbings of manhole covers. What do you think? Aren't they wonderful? Maybe we should join those legions of folks taking pictures and post our own...

I just checked my Spam folder and discovered quite a few replies returned because of "no reply" comments. I always dash off a reply, and rarely manage to notice the "no reply" so they are all returned. Only, they go to the spam folder, and I never realize it. No matter how many times I say: "Mailer Daemon is NOT SpAm!" They still go into the Spam folder.


  1. I really like the manhole cover poem!

  2. Beautiful! Makes you want to take rubbings everywhere... I love it when functional things become art.

  3. Looking at street furniture in different places is delightful. I enjoyed this post a lot. Thanks

  4. Interseting post Jen. My DD lives in Seattle, & I'm always looking in every direction when we go there. The airport alone has bronze castings in the floor, of fish, leading you away from the plane. I love seeing art in everyday things. & places you don't expect.Loved the poem, & the links. You put a lot of thought into this. Thanks.

  5. rubbings of manhole covers sound like great fun... though I wonder what it would look like; someone doing a rubbing in the middle of the street!
    loved loved loved the self portrait of ella coming in the mail to eat cake!
    what a kick... that pollen picture!
    always fun to see what you have here!

  6. I just love that manhole cover and I should always carry a roll of paper and pastels to do rubbings of some of the things I see. I would not mind what people thought, but I expect DH would be embarassed :>)

  7. Isn't it amazing how something so completely trampled on, rolled over, and dumped on has become such a source of artistic inspiration? The Japanese manholes are stunning, not to mention the quilt connection. Thank you for linking my pictures to this series of beauties.

  8. Your blog is so good for me since I now live in a very small town and sometimes miss the interesting things to see and do in a larger place. I used to wish I could take home one of those old cast iron covers over coal chutes in the sidewalks in Boulder and Denver. They had old heavy glass inserts (I suppose to allow a little light into the area below the sidewalks)which had turned purple with time. They were gorgeous!

  9. Fantastic - wish there were some like that in my village!


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