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Friday, January 27, 2017

Pillow Art

Rock hard Pillows or pillowy soft rocks?
Pillow art? After having written exactly 2363 different postings on (it would seem) almost that many different art topics, my wife accused me of having wrung the subject dry. "Getting kind of hard-up for content, aren't you?" she commented. The answer to that is a resounding: "yes and no." The answer is "yes" if you're talking about "easy" content, but "no" if you consider the broad history of creative endeavors artists have pursued over the course of human existence. Once survival of the species became a foredrawn conclusion, art evolved, becoming a big part of that which made such survival worthwhile. But...pillow art? That's an important enough human creative pursuit to be worth writing (and reading) about? Well, on the surface, maybe not, but as with all such types of art, once you scratch the surface, once you dig deeper, once you probe the depths, it turns out that there's a lot more to this art form than meets the tush.
The pillow has long been a device for supporting
the head while sleeping on ones side.
Did you know that the first pillows were not at all soft and cushiony? If you have read the Bible in any depth, you will recall that Jacob's pillow, in Genesis 28:18, was a stone. I'm not sure where that fits in the history of pillows but the designer of the "stone" pillows (top) seems to have had such a model in mind. They're apparently much softer than they look. The "pillows" of the ancient Egyptians and Chinese (above), in fact, look nothing at all like pillows today, or even that of Jacob. They're more on the order of neck braces.

A 400-year-old Italian silk-velvet fragment
pillow with silver metal thread, 1550-1600.
The earliest traditional pillow as we know them today dates back only to the 16th-century. It would seem that pillows, as works of art, are not very archival. Before that, it's pro-bable that soft pillows existed and they very likely were decorated with needlepoint or tapestries; but it would seem that none have survived the ravages of time and the heavy use such nighttime luxuries provided. Ancient civilizations have slept on straw mat-tresses and were probably aware of feather pillows, but four or five hundred years has a tendency to take its toll on such items.

The Jim Lane Collection at
My own interest in pillows has taken on a special significance this past year as has allowed me to market my own line of decorator pillows (sometimes called "throw" pillows) featuring reproductions of several of my more colorful paintings (above). Each pillow is approximately 18-inches square and is available at

This gorgeous tufted masterpiece is probably less than fifty years old.

For those who prefer "bling" over bland.
I should caution those int-erested in antique pillows. Most of those to be found on the Internet are not all that old...they just look that way, as with the beautiful tufted example at left. Keep in mind, if a pillow is a true antique, it's likely on display in a glass case, and probably doesn't belong on a couch in any case. For those too young to appreciate the "old" the seq-uined abstract pixel art pillow (above) features metallic seq-uin glitter, and is available from Zazzle.

"You should see the girls I slept with last night."
Today, pillows come in all sizes and shapes, and are no longer simply a means to comfortably support the head before, during, and after sleeping hours. The full body pillow (above) in one example said to be important for improving posture. It takes little imagination to guess what some pillow artists have done with this item. Fun with pillows has gone far beyond merely reproducing paintings in a fat, rectangular format. What's come to be called the "novelty" pillow has allowed the imaginations of pillow artist to soar to new heights, or plunge to new depths (depending on your point of view).

It's almost enough to make you give up painting on canvas.

Kute Kittie pillows by Chocoloverx3


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