Originally inspired by the form and function of a sea urchin, artist Jennifer Maestre constructs unwieldy organic forms using pencils and pencil shavings that bloom like unworldly flowers. Some of her latest pieces appear to have grown tentacles and rest atop pedestals like scaley octopi. The artworks are designed to simultaneously attract the viewer but also offer a certain aesthetic defense. She shares in her artist statement:
The spines of the urchin, so dangerous yet beautiful, serve as an explicit warning against contact. The alluring texture of the spines draws the touch in spite of the possible consequences. The tension unveiled, we feel push and pull, desire and repulsion. The sections of pencils present aspects of sharp and smooth for two very different textural and aesthetic experiences. Paradox and surprise are integral in my choice of materials.
Several pieces by Maestre were recently on view as part of an exhibition titled “Waste to Art” in Baku, Azerbaijan. You can see more of her works-in-progress on Facebook.
Artist Cindy Chinn (previously) recently created a commissioned work for the California-based Epiphany Elephant Museum, a miniature graphite carving of a family of elephants. The piece, titled “Elephant Walk,” features the animals on the tip of a carpenter’s pencil alongside trees that are dotted to imitate foliage. To accurately carve the minuscule materials, Chinn utilizes a magnifying lamp and trinocular microscope. If you are interested in commissioning a piece, or would like to see her other carvings, she has works for sale on her Etsy store.
You can see more images of her miniature carved works on her Facebook, blog, and website. (via Twisted Sifter)
Attracted to the shape of the shavings that were formed while sharpening her pencil, designer Haruka Misawa decided to explore how they could be formed into realistic flowers. Printing paper with a color gradation, she tightly wraps it in a pencil-like shape so the flowers blossom outward when scraped against the shaver. Each flower created in this method is completely unique, Misawa’s technique making it impossible to replicate the same design of each of her 15-40 mm flowers twice.
You can see more of Misawa’s designs on her Instagram. (via Faith is Torment and This Isn’t Happiness)
All photos courtesy Cindy Chinn
We’ve seen a number of artists working with pencil leads over the last few years, where the narrow dimensions of graphite are carved into minuscule objects. This recent piece by Nebraska-based artist Cindy Chinn is particularly ingenious, an entire carpenter’s pencil is turned into a tiny train, trestle, and bridge. “This piece was designed using straight lead pieces for the rails, with the tiny carved train placed and securely glued on top of the rails,” Chinn shares. “The train engine is only 3/16″ of an inch tall. The pencil is 5-5/8″ long and mounted in a wood shadowbox frame as shown in the photos.”
You can see more of Chinn’s pencil carving work on her website and on Etsy. See more pencil carving fun from Salavat Fidai, Diem Chau, and Dalton Ghetti. (via Laughing Squid)
Starting with carpenter and art pencils containing thick leads, Russian artist Salavat Fidai uses an X-ACTO knife to carve miniature renderings of hands, buildings, and various characters from pop culture. The delicate process requires a good understanding of how much pressure the lead can withstand, but even then mistakes are inevitable. The Ufa-based artist is fascinated by all things miniature, and also paints on seeds and matchboxes. Watch the timelapse below to see his process for carving an entire replica of the Eiffel Tower.
You can follow Fidai on Instagram, and some of his pieces occasionally end up in his shop. If you liked this, also check out pencil carvings by Diem Chau and Dalton Ghetti.
Amalgamated is a new series of vessels by studio markunpoika constructed from assembled pencils. Taking advantage of the pencil’s unique hexagon shape, the pencils are first tightly glued together at each facet to form a solid block. The final pieces are then carved on a machine lathe to reveal the insides of each pencil. Via studio markunpoika:
“Amalgamated” is a collection which explores the relationship of a mass produced ‘tool’ and its individual purpose. The beauty of the pencil as an object seems to go unnoticed if utilised only for their primary purpose. “Amalgamated” is a visual and tactile investigation by using pencils as a raw material. This holistic principle has been the fundament for creating this set of vases; let the pencils become a thing themselves.
The vessels are part of a collaboration between Gallery FUMI and Faber-Castell and were recently on view as part of Design Miami/Basel 2014. (via designboom)