Craft

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Craft

Gnarled Driftwood and Branches Swell from Tiny Carved Cabins in Jonah Meyer’s Sculptures

September 19, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Jonah Meyer, shared with permission

Evoking clouds and wispy trails of smoke, hunks of gnarled driftwood emerge from Jonah Meyer’s sculptures. The Hudson Valley-based artist carves small cabins with smooth siding and tiny doorways that directly contrast the twisted branches and knobby bark that appear to billow from their chimneys. Originally conceived in 2008, the works capture the relationship between the natural and human-made and comprise the artist’s Better Homes series, which he began while building a house in the Catskills.

In addition to his practice, Meyer is also behind the furniture brand Sawkille Co. You can find more of his sculptures on his site.

 

 

 



Art Craft History

A New Book Explores the Practices of 38 Black Ceramicists Working Across Generations to Define the Medium

September 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

Morel Doucet, “Skin Congregate on the Eve of Every Mountain” (2019), slip-cast porcelain with decals. Photo by David Gary Lloyd, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Myrtis

Ceramics is both versatile and enduring, allowing for myriad aesthetic sensibilities, degrees of functionality, and the ability to last lifetimes. A new book published by Schiffer Craft gathers the practices of 38 Black Americans who have harnessed the broad potential of clay as they explore various aspects of history, politics, craft, and culture.

Ranging from the colonial east coast and the Harlem Renaissance to the current century, Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists compiles interviews, photos, and short essays into an expansive, diverse survey. In addition to artists working today like Morel Doucet (previously), Chotsani Elaine Dean, and Danielle Carelock, the book also recounts earlier generations who used the medium as a catalyst for their creative practices. Augusta Savage (1892-1962), for example, is known for translating the humanity of her subjects into figurative clay forms. She also went on to found the Savage Studio for Arts and Crafts in 1930s New York and helped secure funding for her students as part of the Works Progress Administration.

The book also recognizes the contributions of nearly 200 ceramicists who were enslaved and working in commercial potteries in Edgefield, South Carolina. Among those is David Drake, who is thought to have produced more than 100,000 stoneware vessels throughout his lifetime.

Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists, written by donald a clark and Chotsani Elaine Dean, is currently available for pre-order on Bookshop.

 

Morel Doucet. Image © David Gary Lloyd

Paul S. Briggs, “Double Cuttle” (2011), stoneware, glaze, 12 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

Chotsani Elaine Dean, “Plantation Sugar Jar: ‘for Chloe Spears’ (1750-1815),” (2019), porcelain and paper clay, 5.5 x 3.5 x 3.75 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

Danielle Carelock, “Foliage Mugs,” earthenware, hand-painted luster overglaze, 2 × 4 inches. Photo courtesy of Saltstone Ceramics

Keith Wallace Smith, “Dream Dancer” (2009), porcelain, terra-cotta, and rope, 21 × 13 × 17 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

 

 



Art Craft

Ancient Design Motifs Meet Contemporary Ceramics in Maxwell Mustardo’s Glowing Sculptures

September 14, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Maxwell Mustardo, shared with permission, courtesy of Culture Object and Jody Kivort

Gadrooning, an ornamental motif consisting of a series of tapered convex or concave curves, is derived from the decorative exteriors of Roman sarcophagi and antiquities. Renaissance artisans revisited it in the 16th century, and it re-emerged in the neoclassical revival of the 18th and 19th centuries. Referencing ancient designs and what he describes in a statement as the “broad, reverential notions of the vessel,” Maxwell Mustardo playfully examines the function of containers and earthenware over time.

In his gourd-like Gadroons and pudgy Anthropophorae—a series of bulging amphorae—a range of stippled lava glazes complement shocking hues or shimmering PVC coatings. Vibrant colors and swollen forms resemble balloons or 3D renderings displayed on a bright screen, and the resulting perception-bending, flocked-like surfaces make the pieces appear to be floating, wobbling, and glowing.

You can see Mustardo’s work at Culture Object through October 28 in a solo exhibition titled The Substance of Style. More information can also be found on his website and Instagram.

 

 

 



Craft

Impressionistic Embroideries by Cassandra Dias Reflect Movement and Lush Landscapes in Thread

September 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Cassandra Dias, shared with permission

Cassandra Dias combines French knots, satin stitches, and various thread-painting techniques into impressionistic landscapes teeming with texture and organic color. Rugged mountains swell in neutral tones, the water’s surface hazily reflects the surrounding trees, and tiny pops of lavender and orange emerge through fields of green. The Camarillo, California-based artist began working with fiber in early 2020 and has since developed her distinctive style, which evokes movement and mimics the visible brushstrokes associated with painting.

For a glimpse into Dias’s process and to keep up with news about available pieces, follow her on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

A Cast of Articulate Cardboard Robots Populate a Growing Sci-Fi Universe Crafted by Greg Olijnyk

September 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Neil,” cardboard, LED lighting, and glass domes, 48 centimeters. All images by Griffin Simm, © Greg Olijnyk, shared with permission

Melbourne-based artist Greg Olijnyk continues to add to his troupe of sci-fi robots crafted from cardboard, LED lights, and glass details. The elaborately constructed characters are fully articulate and populate an ever-expanding futuristic world that’s slightly dystopic and always filled with adventure. His latest creations also include a nod to art history, with a sculptural interpretation of M.C. Escher’s stairs that features tiny robots within the mind-bending cube.

For a glimpse into Olijnyk’s process and to keep up with his works steeped in fantasy, head to Instagram.

 

“Neil,” cardboard, LED lighting, and glass domes, 48 centimeters

Detail of “Neil,” cardboard, LED lighting, and glass domes, 48 centimeters

“Escher Cube,” cardboard, 50 square centimeters

Detail of “Escher Cube,” cardboard, 50 square centimeters

Detail of “Escher Cube,” cardboard, 50 square centimeters

“Prototype 1,” cardboard, LED lighting, glass tubes and lenses, 45 centimeters

“Prototype 2,” cardboard, LED lighting, and glass lenses, 45 centimeters

“Prototype 2,” cardboard, LED lighting, and glass lenses, 45 centimeters

Detail of “Prototype 2,” cardboard, LED lighting, and glass lenses, 45 centimeters

 

 



Craft

Several Layers of Glaze Finish Mia Alajasko’s Ceramic Octopuses with Colorful Textures

August 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Mia Alajasko, shared with permission

Tentacles speckled with glaze and bulbous suckers support the bodies of Mia Alajasko’s ceramic mollusks. From her backyard workshop in Onsala, Sweden, the artist sculpts squids and octopuses that stand upwards of 40 centimeters. Each creature is cloaked in several layers of glaze that produce a diverse array of finishes from classic matte white and neutral-toned crackles to sleek rust and mottled shades of blue.

Alajasko makes about a dozen pieces each month, and her next shop release is on September 28. Keep an eye on her Instagram for updates.

 

 

 

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