Dutch multidisciplinary artist Vera van Wolferen (previously) produces miniature balsa wood sculptures, architectural objects that are either incorporated into animations or left motionless to tell their own stories. Her static works are often displayed beneath glass bell jars, leaving the audience to imagine that the tiny tree houses, cottages, and campers are neatly contained within their own universes. Van Wolferen also uses simple craft materials like cotton to enhance her sets, making it appear as if her sculpted homes are resting amongst the clouds.
Through his sculptural practice, artist Pontus Willfors says that he seeks to examine “aspects of nature that are viewed by our society as product, nuisance or waste.” One of his frequently recurring motifs is the form of tree branches and root systems that sprout from from everyday objects as seen in this collection of furniture pieces that remind us explicitly of the material’s origins.
Since 2011, Oregon-artist Darryl Cox (previously) has been making “Fusion Frames,” sculptural hybrids of picture frames and segments of tree roots. Each piece begins with a search to find a frame that closely matches the reclaimed roots he obtains from manzanita, juniper, and aspen trees, or even from grapevines. The pieces require extensive amounts of woodworking and painting to seamlessly fuse the two objects together, meaning Cox can only produce around 25 or so pieces each year.
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)