In an ongoing series by Joana Vasconcelos, the Portuguese artist has been wrapping various animals—wasps, lizards, snakes, crabs, lobsters, frogs, bull-heads, donkey heads, horse heads, wolves and even cats—in five-needle lace, handmade cotton crochet. But these aren’t any old animals. Vasconcelos has appropriated the ceramic artwork of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (1846-1905), one of the most renowned Portuguese artists of the 19th century.
Each of the pieces “are ambiguously imprisoned/protected by a second-skin in crochet-work,” says Vasconcelos. At once both beautiful and strange, the work stands as a testament to the extraordinary craftsmanship of the artist but also as a one-upmanship of maternal femininity and domesticity. The use of crochet to mummify the ceramic animals “opens up a vast and rich field of interpretation” that challenges our preconceptions of femininity, as well as our notions of tradition and modernity. (via Trendland, Ghost in the Machine)
Artist Isaac Cordal (previously) is well-known for his creation and placement of miniature cement figures in public places around the world as part of an ongoing series called Cement Eclipses. While the meaning behind each tiny sculpture is intentionally ambiguous, it’s impossible to look at each piece without imagining a story. The pieces often appear in scenes of mourning or despair, as part of what Cordal says is commentary on humankind’s disregard for nature and as foreshadowing of potential consequences. From his artist statement:
Isaac Cordal is sympathetic toward his little people and you can empathize with their situations, their leisure time, their waiting for buses and even their more tragic moments such as accidental death, suicide or family funerals. The sculptures can be found in gutters, on top of buildings, on top of bus shelters; in many unusual and unlikely places.
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)
North Carolina-based artist Yumi Okita creates beautiful textile sculptures of months, butterflies, and other insects with various textiles and embroidery techniques. The pieces are quite large, measuring nearly a foot wide and contain other flourishes including painting, feathers, and artificial fur. You can many of her most recent pieces here. (via the Jealous Curator)
UK sculptor Robin Wight creates dramatic scenes of wind-blown fairies clutching dandelions, clinging to trees, and seemingly suspended in midair, all with densely wrapped forms of stainless steel wire. The artist currently has several pieces on view at the Trentham Gardens and sells a number of DIY wire sculpting kits from his website where he also discusses in great detail how each piece is built. See more over on Facebook. (via Reddit).
Artist and beekeeper Ren Ri employs bees in the construction of these amazing encapsulated sculptures. The artist first builds transparent polyhedrons and cubes with an inner framework of wooden dowels, at the center of which he places the queen. After introducing the rest of the hive, he then rotates the sculpture every seventh day based on the roll of a die, an act that he says references the biblical concept of creation. Not only does the dice roll create an element of randomness, but it also changes the effect of gravity, causing the bees to build in different directions resulting in more evenly dispersed forms.
While we’ve seen several artists using honeycomb as a medium such as Aganetha Dyck and Tomáš Libertiny, Ri seems to put slightly more emphasis on the beehive itself as being the primary form on display. You can see a few more photos over on his website. (via iGnant, Huffington Post)
If you visited Governor’s Island in New York last summer you most certainly saw the billowing, cloud-like structure that sits in the middle of the lawn. And if you’re anything like my kids you probably dashed up to it to see exactly what thing was. But it’s not until you get up close that you realize it’s made from many, many plastic bottles stringed together. “53,780 used plastic bottles,” says designer Jason Klimoski, “the number thrown away in NYC in just 1 hour.” Klimoski and his team at STUDIO KCA collected the bottles – a combination of milk jugs and water bottles – and lashed them together to create “Head in the Clouds,” a pavilion people can walk into, sit inside, and contemplate just how much plastic is thrown away every day.
The structure, however, was temporary and the team is now looking for its next home. If you’re interested in having this in your back yard get in touch with the designers.