Craft

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Craft

Delicate Embroideries Feature Anatomically Accurate Lungs, Brain, and Facial Vessels

January 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Emmi Khan, shared with permission

The key to a healthy heart is a diet full of fiber, and Emmi Khan is ensuring her heart—and lungs and brain—don’t miss out. The Cardiff-based artist embroiders anatomically accurate organs and systems, from a multicolored double helix to a profile view of facial vessels. The artist often weaves in floral and natural elements, bolstering the connection between beauty, anatomy, and the environment.

Khan tells Colossal she began the craft while studying biomedical sciences and has continued creating throughout her graduate study in medicine. The further she delves into her education, the more precise her brightly colored stitches become. The artist says allowing science and art to converge is natural, and she compares the two as “different approaches towards observing, processing and presenting the world around us.”

Science looks to understand the world in an objective and empirical manner, often stumbling upon beauty along the way, and presents it intellectually. Art takes the world and lets the human imagination run wild with it, presenting a product of feeling and often beauty with this. I wouldn’t say they are one and the same thing, but they do go hand in hand with respect to the goals they set out to achieve.

Check out Khan’s Instagram and Etsy shop to see more of her biologically focused embroideries, including one piece that even outlines the telomere effect.

 

 



Craft

Countless Hand-Scored Notches Comprise Aquatic Sculptures by Lisa Stevens

January 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Lisa Stevens, shared with permission

From her home studio near Bristol, Lisa Stevens designs heavily detailed sculptures that mimic sea life and natural elements. Her small bowls are complete with ridges and plant-like protrusions, while her organ-shaped sculptures are teeming with seemingly endless dots and scores that imitate coral reefs, flowers, minerals, moss, and lichen. Formerly a sculptor for Aardman Animations, Stevens forgoes stamps, texture sheets, or molds to craft each mark with a small set of tools, ensuring no pieces are identical. Most of her works are made of high-fired porcelain clay that becomes translucent when light shines through it. The sculptor often uses stoneware glazes, underglaze, or melted glass to finish her pieces with vibrant pigments.

Stevens said in an artist’s statement that she intends “to highlight the issues that human activity has on the environment. Small differences in each of our behaviours can add up to make a big difference.” More of Steven’s geologically inspired sculptures can be found on Instagram, and some are even available for purchase on Etsy.

 

 



Craft

A New Book Compiles Work from 84 Contemporary Artists Who are Reinventing Embroidery

January 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

“The Height of Folly” (2017) by Michelle Kingdom, linen and embroidery thread. Images © Gingko Press, shared with permission

A new book by Charlotte Vannier considers how embroidery has evolved from a domestic task mostly done by women into an art. Comprised of the work of 84 contemporary artists from around the world⁠—including Elisabeth Bucht, Rossana Taormina, Diane Meyer, and Aline Brant⁠From Thread to Needle: Contemporary Embroidery Art features full-page illustrations of embroidered pieces utilizing cotton canvas, photographs, plastic, and wire mesh. The 368-page book highlights work that is particularly distant from the decorative needlework of previous generations and ranges from fully embroidered cloth to sparingly stitched images to threaded toast. Often, the artists reinvent the craft by altering the methods and materials they use and rejecting the outdated notion that embroidery is only a feminine past time.

In an interview with VC Projects, Vannier described her obsession with thread and embroidery. “I am fascinated by the idea that a simple thread becomes a piece of art completely, and how many artists use it. Thread is like a pencil,” the writer says.

From Thread to Needle is available now from Gingko Press, which publishes an assortment of visual culture projects. Keep up with the press’s upcoming releases on Instagram.

“Chirping Beauty” (2011) by Laura McKellar, digital collage and embroidery

“Angel” (2018) by Aline Brant, freehand embroidery on photographic print

“A Turncoat” (2014) by Raija Jokinen, fibre sculpture

“Carbs” (2011) by Dylan Chubb, toaster, embroidery, and silk thread

 

 



Art Craft Photography

Hand-Stitched Flowers and Landscapes Revitalize Found Photographs by Artist Han Cao

December 30, 2019

Grace Ebert

All images © Han Cao, shared with permission

Calligrapher and fiber artist Han Cao repurposes old photographs by stitching brightly colored flowers and landscapes directly onto each black and white image. Based in Palm Springs, the artist works with found photographs that are 5×7 inches or smaller, attaching multi-colored threads that she hopes alter the old narrative and give new meaning and life to each piece. Often, Cao covers people’s faces, adds tiny, repetitive details to their clothes, or blurs a landscape with her stitches.

Cao writes to Colossal that she purchases most photographs from the flea markets and antique shops she visits while she’s traveling.

There’s thousands upon thousands of vintage photos stuffed inside dusty boxes at these markets—long lost and forgotten by their families, so my work is an attempt to bring them back to life and renew their stories. I’m particularly drawn to images that offer a deeper story—photographs with haunting faces and figures, simple landscapes that can be magically transformed with added dimension and color.

The artist says her plans include creating larger-scale works that use “alternative photograph reproduction methods where I will have more space to explore texture and create extended narratives for these images.” You can follow her mixed-media projects on Instagram and purchase her work on her site.

 

 



Art Craft

Colorful Tapestries of Silk, Wool, and Cotton Hand Woven by Judit Just

December 28, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All images © Judit Just

Spanish artist Judit Just of jujujust (previously) crafts vibrant wall tapestries in improvised compositions using traditional and updated weaving techniques. Satin ribbons, viscose fringe tassels, silk threads, cord, and soft wool form unique color, texture, and shape combinations. While each piece is modeled after an original stored in the artist’s studio, the handmade nature of the process ensures that no two tapestries are the same.

These vertical works are hung from wooden dowels that are hand-painted to complement the neon colored textiles. Sizes vary, with some pieces measuring 25 x 25 inches and others stretching more than 3 feet. To witness Just’s weaving and cutting processes, follow her on Instagram. You can also add one of the wall tapestries to your personal collection by placing an order via the artist’s Etsy shop.

 

 



Animation Craft Illustration

Artist Nancy Liang Combines Illustration, Craft, and Digital Art to Create Playful Gifs of Nighttime Scenes

December 27, 2019

Grace Ebert

Sydney-based artist Nancy Liang (previously) takes an unusual and multidisciplinary approach to creating whimsical looping gifs of star-filled nights. Liang begins with kraft paper cutouts and hand-drawn illustrations in her sketchbook that she transfers to a digital platform like Photoshop or After Effects. She then arranges her work in a collage and animates it, creating darkly colored, moving scenes that often focus on the natural elements of cityscapes and suburban life in Australia.

Liang said in an interview with Paper Darts that much of her inspiration comes from her habit of working throughout the night, something she’s done since she was a child. “While most people are asleep, I find something very exciting about being awake. The night is quiet and still, and much like my thoughts, this inspires curious and mysterious urban stories out there,” Liang says.

You can learn more about the artist’s unconventional process that combines programming, craft, and illustration on Tumblr and Instagram.

 

 



Animation Craft

Wool Characters Share in Love’s Hardships in Stop-Motion Film by Anushka Naanayakkara

December 26, 2019

Grace Ebert

A new stop-motion film chronicles the excitement, messiness, and tragedy of love. Directed by BAFTA-winning animation director Anushka Naanayakkara, “A Love Story” depicts two characters who are made of wool, lace, and other fabric remnants as they navigate an entangled relationship. At the beginning, small pieces of string from each face weave into the other, altering their compositions with every interaction to demonstrate the relationship’s effects. Soon the two become so entwined that their faces exhibit completely different patterns and colors. Lastly, an ambiguous dark force appears to envelope the pair and ultimately severs their tangled bonds.

Although the film features love’s tribulations, the director said she wanted to “bring comfort to audiences who have been through a similar experience” in an interview with Short of the Week. The short film was produced by the National Film and Television School in the UK. More of Naanayakkara’s heartfelt projects can be found on Vimeo. (via Short of the Week)