13 April 2010

Dante's Wardrobe Revisited

What is Dante's Wardrobe?  Best to say what it was.  In the mid-1990s I had a small mail order business for artist rubber stamps.  I named it Dante's Wardrobe.*

Dante after one of my favorite authors: Dante Alighieri (May/June c.1265 – September 14, 1321), the Italian poet.  (The image of Dante in the header of this blog is from the Mural of Dante in the Uffizi Gallery, by Andrea del Castagno, c. 1450.) His best known work, La Divina Commedia, was a mythic journey into the afterlife of the soul (as framed by the Medieval Christian worldview). 

Wardrobe comes from the C.S. Lewis work The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first book in his Narnia series.  I chose the name long before the Disney movie came out.  The notion of exploring unknown worlds as represented by the magical armoire was captivating.

My company was less literary than its namesake inspirations. The purpose of the business of Dante's Wardrobe was simple: fun, silliness, and creativity.  The stamps were mostly of my own design and focused on imaginary lands, fictional letters, and fanciful clothing.  The Anne Herbert quotation at the top of this blog was its mantra.  The company lasted only a year.  The current rage of scrapbooking and journaling hadn't hit yet. There was no real market then for my images and my ideas. 

Enter the 21st-century, and Dante's Wardrobe was reborn as a blog, twice in fact.  The original blog was a journal of my personal reconnection with art and its making.  This new incarnation is a return to my original intent: entertaining the world, encouraging others to entertain the world, and simply, to have fun.  Future posts will explore such things as decorated letterboxes, imaginary correspondences, mail art, letter writing, the sewing and design of clothing, and whatever else of a creative nature that comes to mind. 

As with any creative experience, it will ebb and flow.  My posts will be of a myriad rather than focused nature.  Images that intrigue, books I've read, people I find of interest, created and made things . . . whatever comes to mind.  It will be a microcosm of what makes the Internet such a fascinating world, a virtual cabinet of curiosities.

I welcome you to play.


* Brief info on the Dante's Wardrobe rubber stamp catalog can be seen on my website

Image credits:  The portrait of Dante is by Sandro Botticelli. The image is in the public domain.  The Narnia wardrobe is a photo from Barry Wallis' Flickr photostream.  It is of the armoire created for the Disney movie.
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