Even the simplest things had a glorious pointlessness to them. When buttons came in, about 1650, people couldn't get enough of them and arrayed them in decorative profusion on the backs and collars and sleeves of coats, where they didn't actually do anything. One relic of this is the short row of pointless buttons that are still placed on the underside of jacket sleeves near the cuff. These have been purely decorative and have never had a purpose, yet 350 years later on we continue to attach them as if they are the most earnest necessity.
The overscaled compositions being produced by so many abstract painters, which are full of movement and use of color, are ideal example, ideal transformations of an entire wall and entire room.... There is no denying that one of the major attractions of these successful large compositions is their structural decorative use in the contemporary scene... That these large canvases can be superbly decorative may not be considered complimentary by some of the artists involved...
Van Day Truex
I was doing something that the officials or art commission probably didn't consider important... I was experimenting with different kinds of realistic art, impressionism and the more decorative compositions of different forms of painting, which took away from the earlier photographic realism that I was doing.
E. J. Hughes
For me, music is in no way ornamental or decorative, it's constitutive of who I am. And that's why, when I say I'm a blues man, that's a very serious vocation - to muster the courage to find your own unique voice, to forge your distinctive style in the world, to leave your imprint in the sands of time in such a way that your singularity, your individuality, remains something that people have to come to terms with.
Beloved, we are always in the wrong, Handling so clumsily our stupid lives, Suffering too little or too long, Too careful even in our selfish loves: The decorative manias we obey Die in grimaces round us every day, Yet through their tohu-bohu comes a voice Which utters an absurd command - Rejoice.
W. H. Auden
If you feel your value lies in being merely decorative, I fear that someday you might find yourself believing that's all that you really are. Time erodes all such beauty, but what it cannot diminish is the wonderful workings of your mind: Your humor, your kindness, and your moral courage. These are the things I cherish so in you. I so wish I could give my girls a more just world. But I know you'll make it a better place." -- Marmee, Little Women
Louisa May Alcott
I think there's a sort of agony with all intelligent and very creative designers that it's only fashion, that in the end it's only the decorative arts. I had a feeling towards the end that Saint Laurent and Berge were very keen to attain that immortality that a lot of designers long for. You know, those endless exhibitions.
What are plants doing? What are plants all about? They serve human beings by being decorative, but what is it from its own point of view? It's using up air; it's using up energy. It's really not doing anything except being ornamental. And yet here's this whole vegetable world, cactus plants, trees, roses, tulips, and edible vegetables, like cabbages, celery, lettuce - they're all doing this dance.
In a way, watching an attractive, potentially dangerous guy play guitar is a little like watching a tiger agree to do tricks for his trainer. You know that they could just turn and kill you. But you're so flattered and pleased that instead they agreed to stand on a decorative box and wave and count for the crowd that for a while you forget how big the scary part of them really is.
People think of me as a stereotype: muse, privileged, decorative. Classically, the muses were the inspiration. They'd come and go - they wouldn't actually make things, get their hands dirty. I don't think I'm a muse, although I think I can help pull a trigger. I really like getting my hands dirty.
To write or even speak English is not a science but an art. There are no reliable words. Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence. He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered up.
I detest my past, and anyone else's. I detest resignation, patience, professional heroism and obligatory beautiful feelings. I also detest the decorative arts, folklore, advertising, voices making announcements, aerodynamism, boy scouts, the smell of moth balls, events of the moment, and drunken people.
The difficulty with color is to go beyond the fact that it's color ? to have it be not just a colorful picture but really be a picture about something. It's difficult. So often color gets caught up in color, and it becomes merly decorative. Some photographers use it brilliantly to make visual statements combining color and content; otherwise it is empty.
Mary Ellen Mark
The magnificent lobby of the Chrysler Building - faced with rare marbles, aglitter with decorative metalwork, and surmounted by a ceiling painted with a totemic image of the tower itself - leads to elevator cabs inlaid with exotic woods in fanciful patterns. The entire route from street to office is invested with ceremony, dignity, and delight.
I really don't want to produce artwork that does not have meaning beyond simple decorative values. I want to use public space to create a public voice, and a public consciousness about the presence of people who are, in fact, the majority of the population but who are not represented in any visual way. By telling their stories we are giving voice to the voiceless and visualizing the whole of the American story.
He said that people who loved [animals] to excess were capable of the worst cruelties toward human beings. He said that dogs were not loyal but servile, that cats were opportunists and traitors, that peacocks were heralds of death, that macaws were simply decorative annoyances, that rabbits fomented greed, that monkeys carried the fever of lust, and that roosters were damned because they had been complicit in the three denials of Christ.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I hope martial artists are more interested in the root of martial arts and not the different decorative branches, flowers or leaves. It is futile to argue as to which leaf, which design of branches, or which attractive flower you like; when you understand the root, you understand all its blossoming.
Without a complex knowledge of one's place and without the faithfulness to one's place on which such knowledge depends, it is inevitable that the place will be used carelessly, and eventually destroyed. Without such knowledge and faithfulness, moreover, the culture of a country will be superficial and decorative, functional only insofar as it may be a symbol of prestige, the affectation of an elite or "in" group.
A vase of flowers or greens will bring even a dull hotel room to life in the most delightful way. The small amount of trouble or expense involved is honestly repaid in real decorative effect. If you find cut flowers too extravagant, stick to the greens. Laurel, rhododendron leaves, huckleberry or pine will all last many days, even weeks.
Its, the gum tree, main appeal to me has been its combination of mightiness and delicacy - mighty in its strength of limb and delicate in the colouring of its covering. Then it has distinctive qualities; in fact I know of no other tree which is more decorative, both as regards the flow of its limbs and the patterns the bark makes on its main trunk. In all its stages the gum tree is extremely beautiful.
The major asset in this category is gold, currently a huge favorite of investors who fear almost all other assets, especially paper money (of whose value, as noted, they are right to be fearful). Gold, however, has two significant shortcomings, being neither of much use nor procreative. True, gold has some industrial and decorative utility, but the demand for these purposes is both limited and incapable of soaking up new production. Meanwhile, if you own one ounce of gold for an eternity, you will still own one ounce at its end.
jewels have played a colorful part in the evolution of world affairs. Because precious stones tend to inspire both admiration and greed, leaders have found convenient excuses for seeking them and have used them to impress crowds, reward friends, deprive foes, forge alliances, and justify war. Jewels may find their highest expression in the decorative arts, but they have also earned a place in the art of the possible.
Iconic clothing has been secularized. . . . A guardsman in a dress uniform is ostensibly an icon of aggression; his coat is red as the blood he hopes to shed. Seen on a coat-hanger, with no man inside it, the uniform loses all its blustering significance and, to the innocent eye seduced by decorative colour and tactile braid, it is as abstract in symbolic information as a parasol to an Eskimo. It becomes simply magnificent.
I couldn't portray a women in all her natural loveliness.. I haven't the skill. No one has. I must, therefore, create a new sort of beauty, the beauty that appears to me in terms of volume of line, of mass, of weight, and through that beauty interpret my subjective impression. Nature is mere a pretext for decorative composition, plus sentiment. It suggests emotion, and I translate that emotion into art. I want to express the absolute, not merely the factitious woman.
Women have always collected things and saved and recycled them because leftovers yielded nourishment in new forms. The decorative functional objects women made often spoke in a secret language, bore a covert imagery. When we read these images in needlework, in paintings, in quilts, rugs and scrapbooks, we sometimes find a cry for help, sometimes an allusion to a secret political alignment, sometimes a moving symbol about the relationships between men and women.
Old English poetry also contained a wide range of conventional poetic diction, many of the words being created to allow alliterative patterns to be made. There are therefore numerous alternatives for key words like battle, warrior, horse, ship, the sea, prince, and so on. Some are decorative periphrases: a king can be a 'giver of rings' or a 'giver of treasure' (literally, a king was expected to provide his warriors with gifts after they had fought for him).
As a composer I might class myself as a Neo-Romantic, inasmuch as I have always regarded music as a highly personal and emotional form of expression. I like to write music which takes its inspiration from poetry, art and nature. I do not care for purely decorative music. Although I am in sympathy with modern idioms, I abhor music which attempts nothing more than the illustration of a stylistic fad. And in using modern techniques, I have tried at all times to subjugate them to a larger idea or a grander human feeling.
A pretty woman is a Christmas tree,' my mother told me in the airport. This fella is hanging things on my branches as his gaze sweeps from my face all the way down my body to my hips and then back to my face. Ideas fly from his widened eyes and land on me like teeny, decorative burdens. He is giving me shyness, maybe, some book smarts, and a certain yielding sweetness in bed. The oil-slick eyes get me, and I find myself hanging a few ornaments myself, giving him deft hands and a sense of humor.
I once held a belief that life made sense, that working toward a dream would birth substance. Nothing else mattered. I soon discovered that success is as long-lasting as any of life's novelties. We've all been happy with new things, only to be disappointed later. Dolls and soldiers our parents toiled to give us found their way to pedestals, then to the back of closets. I'd always dreamed of marrying a woman I loved and watching my children grow. I wonder if our lives should be filled with the pursuit of such dreams, those magical hopes interwoven into our story. Our stories are decorative shells for the crabs we really are, both protecting and exposing us to the manic outside.
It was likely her due, then, that a familiar voice halted her progress just as she started to ascend the staircase. 'You've certainly turned the afternoon on its head.' Lucas regarded her with a wry smile from the first landing, his thick brown hair blending into an exceptionally large portrait of Gravethorne's favorite hounds. 'How does it feel to be the most notorious debutante in London?' Sparring with Lucas Bellamy held little appeal to her at the moment, but Amy was incapable of letting a jab go unanswered. She gripped the decorative knob on the newel post and lifted her chin. 'Slightly inconvenienced yet decidedly more powerful, I think.
Your answer is the logical, coherent answer an absolutely normal person would give: It's a tie! A lunatic, however, would say that what I have around my neck is a ridiculous, useless bit of colored cloth tied in a very complicated way, which makes it harder to get air into your lungs and difficult to turn your neck. I have to be careful when I'm anywhere near a fan, or I could be strangled by this bit of cloth. If a lunatic were to ask me what this tie is for, I would have to say, absolutely nothing. It's not even purely decorative, since nowadays it's become a symbol of slavery, power, aloofness. The only really useful function a tie serves is the sense of relief when you get home and take it off; you feel as if you've freed yourself from something, though quite what you don't know.
Speech baffled my machine. Helen made all well-formed sentences. But they were hollow and stuffed-linguistic training bras. She sorted nouns from verbs, but, disembodied, she did not know the difference between thing and process, except as they functioned in clauses. Her predications were all shotgun weddings. Her ideas were as decorative as half-timber beams that bore no building load. She balked at metaphor. I felt the annoyance of her weighted vectors as they readjusted themselves, trying to accommodate my latest caprice. You're hungry enough to eat a horse. A word from a friend ties your stomach in knots. Embarrassment shrinks you, amazement strikes you dead. Wasn't the miracle enough? Why do humans need to say everything in speech's stockhouse except what they mean?
Jack was too absorbed in his work to hear the bell. He was mesmerized by the challenge of making soft, round shapes of hard rock. The stone had a will of its own, and if he tried to make it do something it did not want to do, it would fight him, and his chisel would slip, or dig in too deeply, spoiling the shapes. But once he had got to know the lump of rock in front of him he could transform it. The more difficult the task, the more fascinated he was. He was beginning to feel that the decorative carving demanded by Tom was too easy. Zigzags, lozenges, dogtooth, spirals and plain roll moldings bored him, and even these leaves were rather stiff and repetitive. He wanted to curve natural-looking foliage, pliable and irregular, and copy the different shapes of real leaves, oak and ash and birch.
Jace?" "Yeah?" "How did you know I had Shadowhunter blood? Was there some way you could tell?" The elevator arrived with a final groan. Jace unlatched the gate and slid it open. The inside reminded Clary of a birdcage, all black metal and decorative bits of gilt. "I guessed, " he said, latching the door behind them. "It seemed like the most likely explanation." "You guessed? You must have been pretty sure, considering you could have killed me." He pressed a button in the wall, and the elevator lurched into action with a vibrating groan that she felt all through the bones in her feet. "I was ninety percent sure." "I see, " Clary said. There must have been something in her voice, because he turned to look at her. Her hand cracked across his face, a slap that rocked him back on his heels. He put a hand to his cheek, more in surprise than pain. "What the hell was that for?" The other ten percent, " she said, and they rode the rest of the way down to the street in silence.
Metaphor isn't just decorative language. If it were, it wouldn't scare us so much... Colorful language threatens some people, who associate it, I think, with a kind of eroticism (playing with language in public = playing with yourself), and with extra expense (having to sense or feel more). I don't share that opinion. Why reduce life to a monotone? Is that truer to the experience of being alive? I don't think so. It robs us of life's many textures. Language provides an abundance of words to keep us company on our travels. But we're losing words at a reckless pace, the national vocabulary is shrinking. Most Americans use only several hundred words or so. Frugality has its place, but not in the larder of language. We rely on words to help us detail how we feel, what we once felt, what we can feel. When the blood drains out of language, one's experience of life weakens and grows pale. It's not simply a dumbing down, but a numbing.
I come to call you Home. Those who resonate with my words and follow them internally, will find that place and know It's completeness, its joy and fullness. I have come to call you away from suffering, from fear and from a life of sorrow and into your own, divine Being. I did not come here to give you decorative stories, to excite your imagination, or sign you up for some long program but to show you how available Truth is, and to remind you that you are never separate from It. No person on this planet is apart from the Truth in the Heart and yet the world is so vast and varied in expression. The greatest good and greatest evil is here. In this forest of duality and complexity you must find your way Home. You must win your Self back. Wisdom and trust will be your compass. Many voices came to call us but we are here today because we are freshly called by the voice of God, Love, Truth. Do not come half way home, but fully home. I know the voice that called you is true and Truth and that where you are being called to is also Real. It is inside your own Heart. It is what gives me the strength to be here. I love to see the beings being set free from the hypnosis of conditioning; from fears, false projection and the grip of ego. And I know that to be liberated is not difficult. It requires only openness and the sincere desire to be free. I don't need to hear anything about your past. Your stories are of no interest to me. That is not how I know you. I know you only through your Heart. That is my true connection with you - the living power of God. It is That which I respond to in you and it is only This that I know. I can only keep reminding you of It by pointing you again and again to the obvious in yourself. Now you must respond to my pointing. This will complete this yoga of seeing. Find and be one with That which is imperishable. Be merged in the Absolute. Don't go to sleep.
There is a story that Simonides was dining at the house of a wealthy nobleman named Scopas at Crannon in Thessaly, and chanted a lyric poem which he had composed in honor of his host, in which he followed the custom of the poets by including for decorative purposes a long passage referring to Castor and Pollux; whereupon Scopas with excessive meanness told him he would pay him half the fee agreed on for the poem, and if he liked he might apply for the balance to his sons of Tyndaraus, as they had gone halves in the panegyric. The story runs that a little later a message was brought to Simonides to go outside, as two young men were standing at the door who earnestly requested him to come out; so he rose from his seat and went out, and could not see anybody; but in the interval of his absence the roof of the hall where Scopas was giving the banquet fell in, crushing Scopas himself and his relations underneath the ruins and killing them; and when their friends wanted to bury them but were altogether unable to know them apart as they had been completely crushed, the story goes that Simonides was enabled by his recollection of the place in which each of them had been reclining at table to identify them for separate interment; and that this circumstance suggested to him the discovery of the truth that the best aid to clearness of memory consists in orderly arrangement. He inferred that persons desiring to train this faculty must select localities and form mental images of the facts they wish to remember and store those images in the localities, with the result that the arrangement of the localities will preserve the order of the facts, and the images of the facts will designate the facts themselves, and we shall employ the localities and images respectively as a wax writing tablet and the letters written on it.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
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