Category Archives: Christmas

Celebrating Over 100 Years of Christmas Lights

Celebrating Over 100 Years of Christmas LightsCan you imagine celebrating the holiday season without Christmas lights? In North America, it is expected that festive strings will illuminate trees, homes, and city centers throughout the month of December. But the Christmas lights we have today have been a long time coming. Its evolution began in 18th century Germany and continues to progress each year.

Candles in Germany

It is said that Christmas trees were reserved for wealthy citizens of Germany in the 1700s. Those with exorbitant amounts of money would lavish their trees with candles – an expensive and hazardous decoration.

Thomas Edison and his String of Lights

Some time after Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he strung together a series of electric lights. In 1880, during the holiday season, he hung the strand outside his laboratory near a railroad line. Those traveling by train could see the first illuminated Christmas display.

Celebrating Over 100 Years of Christmas Lights 1Edward Johnson Introduces Colored Lights

Shortly after Edison began stringing lights together, a partner of his, Edward H. Johnson, wound a strand around his Christmas tree. He also colored the electric bulbs red, white, and blue.

General Electric Brings Lights to the People

Still, Christmas lights were reserved for wealthy families. It is estimated that lighting a Christmas tree in 1903 would have “cost $2000 in today’s dollars”. This prompted General Electric to offer Christmas light kits that contained strings of colorful lights.

Christmas Aglow for Everyone

In 1917, making Christmas lights common and accessible was a priority for the Sadacca family. They owned a novelty lighting company and began offering colorful stands of Christmas lights at their store. They became known as NOMA Electric Co., a popular name in Christmas lights that dominated the market for over four decades.

Today’s Christmas Lights

Today, Christmas Lights come in all shapes and sizes. People in North America, and throughout the world, choose to don their homes with festive lights. Now a days, it seems the holiday season officially begins when houses are aglow. Millions of Americans celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza and other holidays with creative lighting. They take holiday decorations to a new level, becoming inventive with one of the world’s greatest inventions.

Read more Segmation blog posts about Art and Atmosphere:

Norman Rockwell’s Artwork Inspired by the Christmas Holiday

The Stories Behind Holiday Colors

Christmas Time

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All About the Color Red – Sensational Color!

www.segmation.comHow do you feel when you gaze at a large red Rothko painting, spend time in a room with regal red wallpaper, or see a stop sign? While the color red carries different meanings depending on its context, the body’s biological response is the same: red can raise both your pulse and your blood pressure. Additionally, red can even make you feel hungry by increasing your body’s metabolism – which is why many restaurants use the color red in their logos and decor!

Red is the longest visible light wave, ranging from light pinks to deep crimsons that have a wavelength between 610 and 780 nm. Our modern word “red” comes from the Old English word rēad. This warm, eye-catching color has strong meanings that tap into the heart of various human emotions and experiences, depending on the specific context in which it is found.

www.segmation.comFor instance, in Western culture, red can signify anger and aggression (as in “blood red” or “a face that turns red with anger”), but it can also denote love, lust and passion (from red roses to the red-light district). It also functions as a strong warning color that represents danger or emergencies.

On the other hand, the color red in China is related to happiness and good fortune. In both China and India, red is the traditional color for wedding dresses. In Africa however, red is associated with death and mourning.

Red is one of the earliest pigments used by our prehistoric ancestors, who made red ochre pigment from clay to paint the walls of caves. Red pigments have been created from several surprising sources, such as crushed cochineal insects used to make carmine red. Madder lake derives from the roots of the madder plant, while vermilion was made from powdered mineral cinnabar, which is a red mercury ore. These days, most red artists’ pigments are created synthetically in factories, including hues such as poppy red, cadmium red, rose, alizarin crimson, and quinacridrone magenta.

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Read more Segmation blog posts about Art:

Light Creates Space, Color, and Perception

Red and Green are an Unlikely Pair

Green Represents Saint Patrick’s Day

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Norman Rockwell’s Artwork Inspired by the Christmas Holiday

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Christmas is a holiday that is special to hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world. This holiday is celebrated in many different countries with numerous traditions. Time with family, gifts under the Christmas tree, and contemplation of the important things in life are hallmarks of this wonderful time of year. What is your favorite aspect of Christmas?

Throughout history many artists have been inspired by the Christmas season to create seasonally themed works of art — Norman Rockwell is one of those individuals. Perhaps more so than any other American artist, Norman Rockwell truly was a master at capturing the spirit of Christmas in his art. As ABC news states it, “Norman Rockwell and the Christmas holiday had a deep and lasting relationship.”

Normal Rockwell was born in New York City on February 3, 1894. He was a student at the New York School of Art. Interestingly, Rockwell’s first commissioned art was for Christmas cards when he was only 15 years old. The Christmas card art was just the beginning of the American artist’s journey into holiday themed artwork.

An issue of the Saturday Evening Post that was released on December 25, 1948, featured one of Norman Rockwell’s famed Christmas pictures known as “Christmas Homecoming”.  The image displays over a dozen individuals standing in front of a Christmas tree; two of the people in the image are embracing enthusiastically. While there are “minimal references to Christmas” in this picture, the season is still somehow clearly represented.

Another of Rockwell’s Christmas themed pieces of art is titled “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas”. The Unknownoilpainting was finished in 1967, 10 years after it was begun. It was painted for McCall’s magazine and displays a quaint, picturesque street that is lined by snow-covered automobiles, a church, and other buildings. This image is just another example of the amazing way Norman Rockwell captured the Christmas holiday in his artwork.

Make this Christmas season more memorable by creating your own seasonally themed works of art. Segmation offers a SegPlayPC Christmas pattern “paint-by-numbers” collection that makes it easy and fast to uniquely celebrate your favorite time of year. Learn more about Segmation’s Christmas pattern collection by visiting http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternsets.asp#CHR

Sources:

http://www.arthistory.net/artists/normanrockwell/normanrockwell1.html

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/slideshow?id=9321605

Coming soon: Thinking about re-painting the exterior of your home? If so, you won’t want to miss our next post!

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The Stories Behind Holiday Colors

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December is here, and that means individuals all around the world will be celebrating holidays like Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, just to name a few. The December season is a favored time of year that is associated with excellent food, gifts, and time spent with family. Not only that, holiday seasons are often represented by unique, symbolic colors. Have you ever wondered why certain colors are designated to different holiday seasons? Let’s find out…

What do Kwanzaa’s shades symbolize?

Kwanzaa, established in 1966, is one of the most recent holidays to be founded. The colors used in Kwanzaa celebrations are red, black, and yellow. Related to Kwanzaa, green stands for “the land of Africa and hope for the future.” Red symbolizes the blood of Africans who have passed away, whereas black represents the skin shade of Africans. Kwanzaa, which is a holiday that honors African-American culture, centers on creativity, faith, self-determination, and togetherness.

Blue and white are significant to Jewish culture.

 Most people are aware of the fact that the blue and white shades represented in Hanukkah décor are the colors of the Israeli flag. But what do these shades symbolize? According to a rabbinical interpretation, blue represents divine revelation as well as heaven. Better than any other color, white symbolizes cleanliness and purity. These colors that are so prominent in the design of the Israeli flag are also displayed on the Jewish prayer shawl (tallit), making them an integral part of Jewish culture.

Why red and green for Christmas?

The famed shades for Christmas are, without a doubt, green and red. But what do these colors represent? Green is representative of the evergreen tree, which symbolizes eternal life and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Red may represent the blood of Christ, but researchers are unsure of the exact symbolic meaning of this shade. What they do know, though, is that the combination of red and green likely stems from holly Christmas decorations that were used in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Make this Holiday season more memorable by creating your own seasonally themed works of art. Segmation offers a SegPlayPC Christmas Time pattern “paint-by-numbers” collection that makes it easy and fast to enjoy the Christmas Time celebration and more. Learn more about Segmation’s Christmas Time pattern collection by visiting http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternsets.asp#CHR.

Sources:

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/what-color-is-your-holiday-chr-104238

Coming Soon: Read Segmation’s exclusive article about the season that inspired so much of famed artist Norman Rockwell’s timeless works.

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Make Artist Famous with Hole-Punch Portraits

There are many different mediums with which to create art. Some of those art constituents include various types of paint, chalk pastels, charcoal pencils, mosaic fragments, metals, and the like. But would you ever imagine that hole punch dots could be used to craft incredible portraits? An artist from the United Kingdom is proving to the world that these dots are definitely a worthy art medium.

Artist Nikki Douthwaite has made a practice of collecting hole punch dots for the past three years. After sorting them by shade, she uses the dots to create portraits, which are “inspired by magazine photos,” of pop icons. The artist was led to use this particular medium after studying Gorges Seurat (pointalist artist) in school.

How exactly does one craft a large portrait out of hole punch dots? The answer is, with patience and very carefully. Douthwaite uses tweezers to place the dots onto her canvas. She commented, “I use the dots like paint. I do different colors for the feel of the picture, and there are thousands of colors in each piece.”

According to the artist, the most time-consuming aspect of the portrait process is composing subjects’ hair. Facial features are reportedly “easy.” Oddly, Nikki Douthwaite admitted that “the younger and prettier (a subject is), the harder I seem to find it, as there seems to be less distinguishing features.” Douthwaite reported that each of her works of art takes 6 to 15 weeks to complete.

Some of Nikki Douthwaite’s portrait subjects include Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Jemi Hendrix, and Simon
Cowell. Monroe’s portrait required about 100,000 dots, whereas Cowell’s took an amazing 189,000 dots. The artist spent a liberal amount of time on all her pieces, include the portrait on John Lennon, which demanded 140,000 hole punch dots.

More and more artists are bringing art out of the box and demonstrating that the sky is truly the limit when it comes to art mediums. If hole punch dots are being used to create attention-grabbing art, imagine what other elements could be used to compose art that makes the world turn its head.

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Learn to Make a Custom Paint by Number Pillow

Have you been keeping up with Segmation’s paint by number blog posts this month? If so, you are aware of the impact this art form has had on American culture. Do you love paint by number? We hope so, because this post outlines how to make your very own paint by number pillow.

The first step in creating your paint by number pillow is to obtain the supplies you need: paintbrushes, a fabric marker, masking tape, paint pot strips, paint by number guide, fabric paint, “heavyweight” cotton (to be used for back of the pillow), hand sewing needle, thread, “plain, light colored utility fabric for pillow front,” scissors, and Poly-fil. Once you have gathered your supplies, you are ready to move into the crafting stage of the project.

Next, you will print a paint by number guide (you can download the right side of the guide at http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/files/rightside.pdf, and the left side at http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/files/leftside.pdf). Once each side of your guide is printed, you will tape the sheets together to make a whole guide. Place the guide atop your fabric (intended for use as the front of the pillow) and cut the fabric to fit the size of the guide.

Now for the fun part! Trace the paint by number guide onto your pillow fabric. You can do this by hanging/taping the paint by number guide with the fabric ontop to a window. The sunlight coming through the window will help you to see the paint by number lines. Use your fabric marker to trace the guide onto the fabric as carefully as possible. (Don’t forget to include the numbers.) Make sure you do this on a sunny day!

Next, you will number your paints and begin to add color to your pillow front. Paint your picture by simply matching up the numbers of paint with the numbers on the pillow guide. This will result in a beautiful paint by number pillow front!

How much do you enjoy paint by number and Segmation? Whether you like being a perfect painter, great digital artist, or have fond childhood memories of coloring inside the lines, your experience is unique. We want to hear your story in the comment section below. What does paint by number mean to you?

Note: this project was adapted from http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2012/07/make-your-own-paint-by-numbers-pillow.htmlhere you will find more in-depth instructions for this project as well as directions for putting a back on the pillow, etc.

Coming soon: Read Segmation’s exclusive article about the unique ways many professionals have incorporated paint by number into their careers.

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Childhood Stories of Paint by Number

Do you recall your favorite childhood pastime? For many people, art making was perhaps their most loved activity. Some individuals have fond memories of drawing, molding play dough, and finger painting. More specifically, creating amazing paintings using paint by number kits ranks high on the list of favorite childhood activities for scores of people. Are you one of those individuals who has cherished memories of paint by number?

Amy, a woman from Indianapolis, holds her paint by number recollections close to her heart. She remembers growing up admiring two paintings of beautiful women that were displayed in her bedroom. “I remember staring at them so often and dreaming about their lives,” Amy commented. When she was older, Amy discovered that her mother had painted those pictures using paint by number kits. Though she was not as talented at paint by number as her mother, Amy still treasured those paintings that brought joy and life to her imagination.

Audrey, an individual who grew up in a farmhouse in Minnesota, recalls sitting at her kitchen table while painting ballerinas as a child. Audrey admitted that she is not necessarily an artist, but said that paint by number gave her the opportunity to become one. Her experience with paint by number was unforgettable as it allowed her to “escape into the world” of the ballerinas she painted. Audrey is grateful to have these priceless memories.

Another childhood paint by number artist, Karen, remembers with love the time her parents gifted her with a paint by number kit, the theme of which was covered bridges. Karen noted that the covered bridges she painted were only recognizable from a distance. In her own words, this was her “first awareness of how Impressionist paintings were made.”

How much do you enjoy paint by number and Segmation? Whether you love being a perfect painter, great digital artist, or have fond childhood memories of coloring inside the lines, your experience is unique. We want to hear your story in the comment section below. What does paint by number mean to you?

Sources:

Retrorenovation.com

mnpraireroots.wordpress.com

childrensmuseum.org

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