To commemorate the centennial of Britain’s involvement in the First World War, ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper conceived of a staggering installation of ceramic poppies planted in the famous dry moat around the Tower of London. Titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red,” the final work will consist of 888,246 red ceramic flowers—each representing a British or Colonial military fatality—that flow through grounds around the tower.
Volunteers began placing the poppies several weeks ago and the process will continue through the summer until a final flower is symbolically planted on November 11th. You can read more about the project over on the Historic Royal Palaces website, and see the volunteers’ progress by following the #TowerPoppies hashtag on Twitter.
Warsaw-based artist NeSpoon uses ornate lace patterns in her unique brand of street art that translates into ceramics, stencils, paintings, and crocheted webbing installed in public spaces. NeSpoon refers to her art as “public jewelry,” specifically as an act of beautification by turning abandoned and unadorned spaces into something aesthetically pleasing. You can see much more over on Behance. (via My Modern Met, Unurth)
Icheon Ceramics Village in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, is home to over 300 ceramics studios where artists use traditional techniques to produce a wide range of functional pottery and artwork. Nearly 40 of the studios still use wood-fired kilns. This video filmed by the American Museum of Ceramic Art shows five ceramic masters from Icheon at work in their studios. The process of creating is almost more beautiful than the finished pieces. (via Huffington Post)
Chinese artist Ah Xian lives and works in Sydney where for nearly two decades he has explored aspects of the human form using ancient Chinese craft methods including porcelain, lacquer, jase, bronze, and even concrete. The artist often uses busts of his own family members including his wife, brother, and father onto which he imprints traditional designs with a vivid cobalt blue glaze. Via Asia Society:
These sculptures by Ah Xian establish a series of multilayered oppositions. The most overt is the tension between the sculptural form of the bust and the painted surface designs, which the artist likens to the oppositions of West and East. The bust is part of a Western portraiture tradition dating back to the busts of ancient Roman times and the designs are derived from Chinese decorative traditions, unique to China and in some cases to the studio-kilns at Jingdezhen. Such an opposition can also be seen as the relationship between the personal (since many of the busts are of Ah Xian’s family, including his wife, brother, and father) and the political (a statement about the artist’s own Chinese heritage articulated outside China).
The works collected here are mostly from his Human Human and China China series, though you can see many more works on Craft Australia. (via I Need a Guide)
Parade is an interactive art installation concevied by ceramacist Laurent Craste and digital agency Dpt. for the Chromatic festival in Montreal. At first glance the piece looks rather mundane: two misshapen porcelain vases sit atop a pedestal inside a wood cube, lit from above by an industrial light. But move the light and suddenly the magic happens as shadows projected from the vases animate to life. What a fun piece.
Update: Of course things like this are never as simple as they appear. Dpt. explains further that the animated “shadows” are coming from a hidden projector which tracks the movements of the faux light source. We’ve been tricked! But I suppose that’s kind of the point.
For centuries artisans have been crafting white porcelain dishes and decorating them with intricate cobalt blue patterns, from floral designs to swirling landscapes. Enter graphic designer Don Moyer who is turning the tradition on its head with his wildly successful line of Calamityware dinner plates. Moyer expertly mimics several Eastern motifs in his plates with one major addition: flying monkeys, a UFO assault, and giant gurgling sea monsters.
Two plates have already been created and are available in his shop, while a third is currently doing quite well over on Kickstarter. He says next up is a bonafide pirate invasion plate which you can keep an eye out for (ba dum!) later this year.
Kintsugi (or kintsukuroi) is a Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics with a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy behind the technique is to recognize the history of the object and to visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it. The process usually results in something more beautiful than the original.