23 December 2009

It's Coming On Christmas


I'm starting work on the central area now. This will be an enlarged view of a smallpox virus (variola). I'll be doing this area with the reduction method using a single block for three different impressions.

Smallpox is a highly contagious disease that killed an estimated 400,000 Europeans per year during the 18th century and an unknown number in the centuries before. Even as recently as the 20th century, it is estimated that smallpox was responsible for 300–500 million deaths worldwide. After successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 20th century, the WHO certified the eradication of smallpox in December 1979. To this day, smallpox is the only human infectious disease to have been completely eradicated.

In later posts I'll touch on the role smallpox played in the colonization of America. But for today, I'll simply note that this print continues to have a kind of Christmas-y feel to it. The latest additions make it look kind of like a scary wreath:


If you like Joni Mitchell, then you probably noticed that the title of this post is from her song "River." Here's a YouTube video of Joni singing "River" in a live performance at the Royal Albert Hall, nine years before the eradication of smallpox.

Merry Christmas, everyone.


kit said...

Merry Christmas, Annie! I'm a huge Joni fan - did you know she suffered from polio as a young child? Thinking of diseases that have been eradicated. I was born in '56 and remember drinking the polio vaccine. Your print is coming along beautifully.

Magic Cochin said...

Merry Christmas! Your print does have a look of a festive wreath with holly berries and mistletoe - but with a sinister edge!

Good wishes for 2010

PS Yes, Andy English's studio is about 25 miles away as the crow flies over the fen ;-)

Katka said...

This print is looking much too beautiful for what it really is. Kind of like Amenita (sp?) mushrooms (red with white spots) which are beautiful and deadly.

I love Joni M. and have always been partial to "The River"...

Merry Christmas Annie.

Kathy said...

I just happened on your blog accidentally - happy accidents are the best!
Your work has such a beautiful etherial quality, I'll definately be back to see more!
Merry Christmas

Leslie Moore said...

Still more lovely. Still more deadly.