Carved the size of a palm or smaller, these miniature boxwood carvings featuring religious iconography from the early 16th century have long been a mystery to researchers in the field. It is believed that the entire body of work was created during a 30-year window between 1500 and 1530, somewhere in Flanders or the Netherlands.
Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures will showcase AGO’s collection along with 50 other loaned pieces from other museums and private collections, including some rare carvings that have never been seen in North America. One work, the eleven-bead Chatsworth Rosary (c. 1509-1526), was owned by King Henry VIII and his wife Catherine of Aragon. You can tour the full exhibition yourself at the AGO through January 22, at the Met Cloisters on February 21, 2017, or when the exhibition makes its last stop at the Rijksmuseum on June 15, 2017.
You can also follow AGO on their journey to discovering the mystery behind the boxwood miniatures in the video below, as well as see detailed images from the entire collection on AGO’s website. (via The History Blog)
Full Grown’s prototype willow chair now in the permanent collection at the National Museum of Scotland.
The most common way of producing wooden furniture is fairly straightforward: grow the proper trees for a few decades, chop ’em down, cut them into smaller pieces and assemble the pieces into a chair. Derbyshire-based furniture designer Gavin Munro wondered if he could try a wholly different approach: what if he could just grow chairs? What if trees could be forced to grow in chair-like shapes and through strategic sculpting and grafting result in an annual “chair harvest.” After a lengthy years-long trial in his mother’s garden and a sturdy proof-of-concept, Full Grown was born.
Munro points out that the idea of growing furniture actually dates back millennia. The Chinese were known to dig holes to fill with chair-shaped rocks and had tree roots grow through the gaps, while the Egyptians and Greeks had a method for growing small stools. But Full Grown appears to be on a scale entirely of its own, with an entire farm destined to be harvested into chairs, assorted light fixtures, and other unusual objects. He shares a bit about the process which can take between 4 to 8 years:
In essence it’s an incredibly simple art. You start by training and pruning young tree branches as they grow over specially made formers. At certain points we then graft them together so that the object grows into one solid piece – I’m interested in the way that this is like an organic 3D printing that uses air, soil and sunshine as its source materials. After it’s grown into the shape we want, we continue to care for and nurture the tree, while it thickens and matures, before harvesting it in the winter and then letting it season and dry. It’s then a matter of planing and finishing to show off the wood and grain inside.
Full Grown’s first prototype willow chair has already found its way into the permanent collection at the National Museum of Scotland, and Munro and his team just launched a Kickstarter to help them bridge the gap in the final year before their first harvest, nearly 11 years in the making. You can learn more on their website.
As part of his new series titled Ouroborus, Barcelona-based artist Vasco Mourao (aka Mister Mourao) drew intricate buildings that flow in a continuous loop on pieces of cut plywood. He refers to himself as “an architect turned into an illustrator with a tendency for obsessive drawing,” and such a description couldn’t be more accurate. Mourao’s dense structural designs have also been executed on walls, paper, and other canvases and just barely seem contained on these wooden circuits.
The Ouroborus series was recently on view at Espacio 88 in Barcelona, and a few of the original works are still available in his online shop. (via Hi-Fructose)
Greek illustrator Meni Chatzipanagiotou has been producing an ongoing series of wood cut illustrations painted with acrylic, gouache, and pens. Her vignettes of animals and starry mountainscapes are inspired by her various interests in science, fantasy, fiction and surrealism. You can explore more work on her website, and some of the wood pieces are available in her shop. (via Culture N Lifestyle)
Sculptor Xavier Puente Vilardell (previously) carves blocks of pine wood into twisted screws and ribbons, redefining the solid material into one that appears both light and pliable. Some of the final works are varnished with a deep, glossy coat, while others are left to look more natural. Despite this differentiation in finish, all of Vilardell’s works showcase the natural grain of the original blocks of wood, at once expressing their similarity and originality. You can see more of Vilardell’s recent sculptures on both his Behance and website.
“Tail Chair” (2005), wood chair and lacquered wood, 100x150x200 cm, images courtesy of Tatiana Blass
In an installation titled Tails from 2006, Tatiana Blass (previously), presented several wooden chairs and other sculptural objects that seem to melt into the ground. The works merge with the floor through additions of specifically cut lacquered wood or fiber glass, solid forms that give the illusion of both brightly colored and woodgrain patterned liquid. The Brazilian artist is represented by Galeria Millan in Sao Paulo. You can see more of her past and present works on her website.
“Tail Chair” (2005), wood chair and lacquered wood, 100x150x200 cm
“Sofia” (2006), wood and lacquered painting, 200x180x150 cm
“Golden Cashew” (2006), wood chair and lacquered wood, 100x150x200 cm
“Tail #2” (2005), acrylic ball, lacquered wood, and fiber glass, 40x180x150 cm