Delicate Vessels Sculpted with Pressed Flowers by Ignacio Canales Aracil

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Spanish artist Ignacio Canales Aracil creates vessels reminiscent of upside-down baskets using nothing but pressed flowers. The art of flower pressing dates back thousands of years; pressed flowers were reportedly discovered in a 3,000-year-old coffin of Tutankhamun’s mother in Egypt, and both Greek and Roman botanists were known to preserve plants using techniques that continue today. But Aracil’s method is a bit different, relying on large cone-shaped molds into which carefully woven patches of hand-picked flower stems are placed. The pieces dry for up to a month without the aid of adhesives and are sprayed with a light varnish to protect the sculpture from moisture. The final pieces, which could be crushed with even the slightest weight, are rigid enough to stand without support.

Aracil currently has work as part of a group show at Lucia Mendoza gallery in Madrid through the end of February, and you can see much more over on his website.

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Mushroom Book Installations by Melissa Jay Craig

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Cast and hand-shaped abaca, embellished with cotton rag; each copy 14-18″H x 15″W x 16-18″D. Edition of 99.

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(S)Edition is an installation of 99 books made to look like common Amanita Muscaria mushrooms by Chicago artist Melissa Jay Craig. The installation has been shown in a various configurations the last few years, and only once in its entirety at the Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland, Ohio back in 2010. From her statement about the installation:

Fungus is an agent of change. I’m fascinated with its myriad forms, and I love to go in search of it. I can become more excited by discovering a beautiful fungal growth than by perusing artwork ‘discovered’ for us by curators in contemporary museums. When I was a child, the first time I had the intriguing feeling that the planet carried messages (texts, if you will) for those who were curious enough to look, was when I came upon a group of Amanita Muscaria, huddled together in a dark, secret space under tall pines.

You can see more views of these fungal books on her website. (via Green Chair Press)

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Chocolatexture: A Series of Chocolates to Represent Japanese Words For Texture Created by Nendo

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Japanese design office Nendo has created 9 different types of chocolate. While each are the same size, not a single piece from the Chocolatexture collection look alike. That’s because Oki Sato, who leads the Tokyo and Milan-based firm, rethought the concept of chocolate by focusing on texture. “There are many factors that determine a chocolate’s taste,” says Sato, referring to factors like the origin of cocoa, the percentage used, and the various different flavors. But by instead turning his attention to attributes like pointy, smooth and rough, the designer has created distinctive chocolates that all use identical ingredients but taste completely different due to the various textures.

Each of the 9 chocolates were inspired by an onomatopoeic word from the Japanese language that describes texture. The chocolates correspond with words like “toge toge” (sharp pointy tips), “sube sube” (smooth edges and corners) and “zara zara” (granular, like a file). Chocolatexture was created for the Maison & Objet trade fair currently taking place this week in Paris. 400 limited edition Chocolatexture sets were created and will be sold during the event in Paris at what’s being dubbed the “Chocolatexture lounge.” (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

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Scientists Develop Hydrophobic Metal That Causes Water to Bounce

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Researchers at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics led by professor Chunlei Guo have developed a new type of hydrophobic surface that is so highly water repellent, it causes water droplets to bounce off like magic. Unlike earlier hydrophobic surfaces that rely on temporary (and slowly degrading) chemical coatings such as teflon, this new super-hydrophobic surface is created by etching microscopic structures into metal with the help of lasers. Potential applications include airplane wings that resist icing, a whole new type of rust proofing, or even a toilet that wouldn’t require water. Watch the video above to see the surface in action, and you can read Guo’s research paper here. (via Sploid)

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New in the Colossal Shop

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Over the last few weeks we’ve added tons of fun new stuff to the Colossal Shop including Karina Eibatova’s illustrated Aves Playing Cards, a whole line of novel die-cut flipbooks from Seigensha Art Publishing, our favorite Field Notes memo pads, and a fun pair of mugs lettered by Hallie Bateman. Stop by and take a look.

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Intricate Modular Paper Sculptures by Richard Sweeney

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Inspired by the organic forms of nature like mounds of snow and clouds, English artist Richard Sweeney creates delicate modular sculptures out of paper. It’s hard to believe that some of these 3D sculptures came to life from just from paper, but the Wakefield, England-based artist works primarily with a ruler and cutter to bend fold and glue together his complex sculptures, which range from table-top size to floor-to-ceiling installations. Especially impressive are his pleated sculptures, which often don’t even use glue to achieve their three-dimensional terrain look.

Sweeney is currently part of a touring show titled Above the Fold. And for those lucky folks in the Netherlands, he’ll be showing his work at the CODA Museum in Apeldoorn this summer. (via Cross Connect Magazine)

Update: Along with 2 other artists, Sweeney has just launched a kickstarter campaign to fund an exhibition in New York.

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Surreal Portraiture and Cubism Combine in Beautiful New Illustrated Tattoos by Artist Duo ‘Expanded Eye’

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The work of artist duo Jade Tomlinson and Kev James of Expanded Eye (previously) spans paintings, installations, street art, sculptures and most importantly tattoos that blend line work, typography, and geometry. Based in London, the pair approaches each tattoo as a piece of art, firmly establishing a narrative and purpose behind each design before making a commitment. They even go as far as asking potential customers to not “overly concern yourself with the aesthetics,” and instead let the piece evolve organically based on their own discoveries. You can see many more of their tattoos on Facebook (nsfw), they have several new giclée prints available through Vaults Gallery, and you can have a peek in their online shop.

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