Art

An Annual 'Giant Letter' Installation Displays a Heartfelt Note from a 100-Foot-Tall Boy Named Bobby

January 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

2020 in Austin. All images © Giant Letter, shared with permission

Every year on December 12, a handwritten letter on oversized lined paper appears on a residential lawn in Chicago or Austin. The massive constructions, which stand between 8- and 12-feet high, are part of an ongoing project that shares heartfelt messages between an imaginary 100-foot-tall boy named Bobby and those who matter most in his life (aka his mother Lucinda, cat Mr. McFluffins, and Santa).

Chicago-based artists Caro D’Offay and Laura Gilmore began Giant Letter back in 2012 as a way to connect with their community following the tragic killings at Sandy Hook Elementary. Marj Wormald joined the pair a few years later, and together, they’ve installed 10 iterations. “We’re trying to create an atmosphere,” D’Offay said in an interview. “The person standing there can in a way feel very small but also have big emotions. It can be transformative for someone, and they’re just walking their dog.”

 

2021 in Chicago

During its decade-long run, Giant Letter displays have included microscopes and astronomy books, huge pencils and cups of tea, and of course, chocolate chip cookies and milk. Every piece also sets a “Bobby box” nearby that encourages visitors to drop in messages they’d like to share with the child. In the most recent version installed at the intersection of Glenwood and Albion avenues in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, a 35-foot tool stretches alongside a letter from Bobby’s mother detailing her cancer diagnosis. “I know this is a much bigger tape measure than you probably need but I want you to dream big and make giant magic!” it reads.

Organizers say the 2021 installation will stay in its current spot indefinitely, although they’re hoping to transfer the project to a museum or gallery in the future. You can follow their progress on Instagram.

 

2021 in Chicago

2019 in Austin

2016 in Austin

2016 in Chicago

2014 in Chicago

2013 in Chicago

2012 in Chicago

2012 in Chicago

 

 



Design

Temperature Textiles Translate Climate Crisis Data into Colorful, Graphic Knits

January 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Raw Color

Creating tangible records of weather patterns has been a long-running practice for crafters and designers interested in visually documenting the effects of the climate crisis over time. Daniera ter Haar and Christoph Brach, of the Eindhoven, The Netherlands-based studio Raw Color, join this endeavor with their new collection of knitted goods that embed data about temperature changes, the sea’s rising levels, and emissions directly within their products’ patterns.

In each design, the duo translates data from the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, into colorful, line graphics that represent four possible outcomes for the world through the year 2100. The titular Temperature Textiles rely on warm shades, sea level uses cool blues, purples, and greens, and emissions a combination of the two to visualize the changes.

Raw Color shares more specifics about the data behind Temperature Textiles on its site, where you can also shop the collection of flat and double knits. Follow the studio on Instagram to keep up with its latest designs. (via Design Milk)

 

 

 



Craft

Two Elaborately Armored Origami Knights Arise from a Single Sheet of Paper

January 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Juho Könkkölä, shared with permission

Origami marvel Juho Könkkölä continues to amaze us with his troop of intricately folded warriors of his own design. Following an elaborately armored samurai and sword-and-shield-toting knight, the Finnish artist just released his latest work featuring two characters as they prepare for a fight. Similar to his previous pieces, Könkkölä used a single sheet of 95 x 95 centimeter Wenzhou paper with wet and dry origami techniques—watch his entire process in the timelapse below—to fold the dueling figures. The finished work, which stands 25 x 20 x 20 centimeters, took more than two years to design and 100-plus hours to complete.

 

 

 



Art

Contemplative Works by Ali Cavanaugh Consider Vulnerability and the Sublime Through Watercolor

January 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Steep” (2017), 16 x 20 inches. All images © Ali Cavanaugh, shared with permission

Through delicate washes of peach, aqua, and smoky gray, St. Louis-based artist Ali Cavanaugh (previously) renders watercolor portraits that lay her subjects’ spirits bare. “I’m continually searching for something complex in human expression,” she tells Colossal. “Curiosity, sadness, wonder, hesitation, peace, and acceptance all in one glance.”

Cavanaugh paints her dreamlike works on wet clay panels, allowing the bright backdrops to illuminate the translucent pigments. The resulting works are introspective and intimate while simultaneously harnessing the universal experience of the sublime. “I want the viewer to look at one of my portraits and say, ‘What are they thinking?,’ and also at the same time say, ‘This is so familiar and is exactly how my loved one looks at me when they are vulnerable,'” she says.

If you’re in New York, you can see Cavanaugh’s portraits through January 28 at Salmagundi Club. Otherwise, shop available originals on her site, and keep an eye out for future print releases on Instagram. She also shares videos chronicling her process and tutorials on some of her techniques on Patreon.

 

“Above,” 12 x 12 inches

“Smolder” (2017), 12 x 12 inches

“Only Once” (2015), 18 x 18 inches

“Confidante” (2017), 12 x 16 inches

“One to Listen and One to Love”

“Rest on Water” (2017), 12 x 12 inches

 

 



Art

Sculptural Kinetic Lifeforms by Choe U-Ram Sway and Flutter in Hypnotic Motion

January 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

With assistance from embedded CPU motors, Seoul-based artist Choe U-Ram (previously) mimics the lithe movements of animals and plants with his mesmerizing kinetic sculptures. The large-scale pieces are often suspended from the ceiling and illuminated by LED lights that cast glimmering reflections on the metallic components.

Included in his most recent works is the frayed, Tyvek-coated sculpture titled “One,” which imitates the lifecycle of a flower as it opens to a bright, full bloom before retreating to a smaller, darker form associated with decay. “Orbis” and “Song of the Sun” conjure more animalistic motions that evoke long fins gliding through the water and flapping wings, respectively, although the latter’s petal-like elements produce shadows that fill the gallery space with silhouettes of thick foliage.

Watch more of the artist’s sculptural creatures in action on his site and YouTube.

 

 

 



Art

Tender Embroidered Portraits by Ruth Miller Are Tinged with Expressive Colors

January 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Congregants,” 20 x 35 inches. All images © Ruth Miller, shared with permission

Beginning with a line drawing in pencil, U.S.-based artist Ruth Miller renders hand-embroidered portraits based on photos. Her wool tapestries and thread drawings layer stitches in yarns of both realistic and fanciful colors, creating expressive depictions that use the material’s texture to enhance light and shadow. “Coupled with realistic drawing, that tiny amount of physical depth brings the images closer, giving them a more immediate sense of presence… In the months that they’re still in my studio, the stories they tell become more concrete and nuanced in my mind, just as they would in a steadily lengthening conversation,” the artist writes.

Miller’s works are often life-sized and take months to complete, a process she details on her site. “At work, I spend a good deal of time simply looking; first seeing, then wondering,” she shares. “Each of the pieces you see on this page changed me as the narratives within them took form within me.” (via Women’s Art)

 

“The Impossible Dream is the Gateway to Self-Love”

Left: “Teacup Fishing,” hand-embroidered wool on fabric, 58 x 31 inches. Right: “Our Lady of Unassailable Well-being,” hand-embroidered wool on fabric, 19 x 21 inches

Detail of “Teacup Fishing,” hand-embroidered wool on fabric, 58 x 31 inches

“Duafe”

Detail of “Unspoken Truths”

Photo by Ann Madden