Craft

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Art Craft

An Exhibition of 50 Piñatas Explores the Cultural Significance of the Festive Object

October 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

Installation view of Roberto Benavidez’s sculptures (front) and Isaias Rodriguez, “resilience” (2021) (back). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America. All images courtesy of Craft in America, shared with permission

A ubiquitous decoration at birthdays and family celebrations, piñatas are conventionally associated with fun, festivity, and of course, their potential to split open and release candy and other treats. Now on view at Craft in America, a group exhibition re-envisions the party staple by connecting it with contemporary practices that extend the playful artform’s capacity for social and political commentary.

Piñatas: The High Art of Celebration features approximately 50 works from Mexico- and U.S.-based artists and collectives, who explore the evolution of traditional construction techniques and the object’s broad cultural significance that reaches beyond its Mexican heritage. The fantastical creatures of Roberto Benavidez’s illuminated manuscript series, for example, encapsulate questions about race and sin, while Justin Favela (previously) translates the confrontation between American pop culture and Latinx experiences into fringed, abstract landscapes. Other works include a massive COVID-19 vaccine bottle by Lisbeth Palacios, Diana Benavidez’s motorized cars that speak to issues at the San Diego/Tijuana border, and a swarm of tiny suspended monarchs by Isaias Rodriguez.

If you’re in Los Angeles, stop by Craft in America before December 4 to see the exhibition in person or take a virtual tour on the nonprofit’s site.  (via Hyperallergic)

 

Roberto Benavidez, “Illuminated Hybrid No. 3” (2019). Photo by the artist

Detail of Isaias Rodriguez, “resilience” (2021). Photo by Matthew Hermosillo

Justin Favela, “Baño de los Pescaditos (after José María Velasco)” (2019). Photo courtesy of the artist

Left: Lorena Robletto (Amazing Piñatas), “Alebrije Installation” (2021). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America. Right: Lorena Robletto (Amazing Piñatas), “Seven Point Star Installation” (2021). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America

Roberto Benavidez, “Illuminated Hybrid No. 5” (2018). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America

Left: Giovanni Valderas, “No Hay Pedo (Canary)”  (2016). Photo by Giovanni Valderas. Right: Lisbeth Palacios (All Party Art), “COVID Vaccine” (2021). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America

Diana Benavidez, installation view of “Border Crosser” and “La Pinche Migra” (from Vehículos Transfronterizos series) (2021). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America

 

 



Craft

Fiber-Based Wall Hangings Blend Weaving, Macramé, and Crochet into Striking Bouquets

October 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Alyssa Ki, shared with permission

Opting for yarn and rovings of raw wool dyed in natural pigments, Korean-American artist Alyssa Ki crafts fiber-based wall hangings reminiscent of bouquets and overgrown patches of wildflowers. The perpetually blooming pieces blend multiple textile techniques and are teeming with macramé, needle-felted, and crocheted botanicals that sprout from a thick, woven foundation. Hanging from a knotty branch or bound by a ribbon, the floral works are ripe with color and texture.

Currently based in New York, Ki has a background in photojournalism and first started working with fiber in 2018. She’s since crafted innumerable flowers, leaves, and fibrous vines for a variety of commissions, and you can dive into her process on Instagram. (via The Jealous Curator)

 

 

 



Art Craft

Circular Masses of Coral and Leaves Form Sculptural Embroideries by Meredith Woolnough

October 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

From swirls of eucalyptus leaves to perfectly round bodies of coral, the sculptural pieces by Newcastle-based artist Meredith Woolnough (previously) depict a range of textured, organic shapes. Each elaborately crafted work is drawn through free-motion embroidery, which involves using the most basic stitches on a sewing machine and moving a swath of water-soluble material around the needle. Once the form is complete, Woolnough dissolves the fabric base to expose the delicate, mesh-like structure, a process filmmaker Flore Vallery-Radot follows in the studio visit above.

The resulting works either stand alone as sprawling clusters of veins and branches or are strung into larger displays, like the “carpet of embroidery” Woolnough is working on currently that involves more than 1,000 small pieces threaded together. No matter the size, each piece contrasts thick lines with fine, sparse patches to give the leaves or rocky formations shape, and the artist describes the balance between the two methods:

Often when I depict solid subject matter, like coral which is often quite hard, I will stitch my design with dense areas of stitching. I like to put lots of small overlapping stitches very close together to form a solid structure where you can’t clearly see the individual stitches. This dense structure is needed to help the final embroidery hold its shape once I remove the water-soluble base material I stitch onto. With this dense stitching, I can also achieve subtle colour blending as I change thread colours.

Alongside her practice, Woolnough teaches a variety of workshops and released a book back in 2018 titled Organic Embroidery that details her processes. Some of her smaller works will be included in a group exhibition at The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, which opens online on October 16. You also can find her available pieces on her site and watch for updates on Instagram. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

Eucalyptus leaves. All images © Meredith Woolnough, shared with permission

Corallite

Red coral

Eucalyptus leaf

Coral

Corallimorph

Coral

 

 



Craft

An Origami Knight Equipped with a Sword and Shield Materializes from a Single Sheet of Paper

September 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Juho Könkkölä, shared with permission

Earlier this year, Finnish artist Juho Könkkölä folded an incredibly elaborate samurai from a single sheet of paper, and now he’s crafted another intricate warrior of his own design. Standing 18 centimeters tall, the sword- and shield-toting figure demanded 41 hours of work using wet and dry origami techniques.

Könkkölä started with a 68 x 68-centimeter sheet of Wenzhou rice paper that he scored and folded to capture the protective bands on the shoulders and hips and the exact placement of individual plates. “One of the greatest challenges in this figure was the stark contrast between the shield and the sword; the sword has over 50(!) layers inside the palm of the figure, whereas the shield has only one layer on a large surface,” he writes on Instagram.

Könkkölä also filmed his entire process, so you can watch the knight take shape in the timelapse video below.

 

 

 



Craft

Elaborately Constructed Figures by 'People Too' Create a Cast of Quintessential Characters in Paper

September 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Nitro.” All images © People Too, shared with permission

If you ran into Nitro, Lotto, Sully, or the rest of their troupe on the street, it’d be easy enough to imagine their respective personalities and lifestyles: Nitro is the lax skateboarder who’s always in some state of disarray, Lotto the eccentric and elusive creative, and Sully the file-toting employee who spends her days sitting in meetings, optimizing her schedule, and adding tasks to her to-do list. Easily recognizable and maybe even uncomfortably relatable, the archetypal characters are the creations of artists Alexey Lyapunov and Lena Erlich, who are known for their illustrations and elaborate constructions made from paper.

The Novosibirsk, Russia-based duo works as People Too (previously), and originally designed the figurative sculptures for a now-postponed commission that would turn the paper models into animated characters. Head to Behance to see more of the series and to Society6 to shop prints of their illustrated works.

 

“Bills”

“Bills”

“Sully”

“Lotto”

“Ninka”

“Ninka”

“Ninka”

Left: “Esc.” Right: “André”

 

 



Art Craft Design

Imaginative Cartoon Characters by Yen Jui-Lin Express Playful Moods in Carved Wood

September 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images ©Yen Jui-Lin

Sporting waggish smiles or wide grimaces, Yen Jui-Lin’s wooden carvings are expressive characters that appear straight from a storybook. The Taiwanese craftsman (previously) stretches quirky figures, slices their bodies in half, and sprouts plant-like growths from their heads, exaggerating their cartoonish qualities in a playful and whimsical manner. Whether a character or plant, each work is evidence of his imaginative style and skillful process, which starts with a pencil sketch and gnarly hunk of wood—he shares more about his technique on Instagram—before becoming fully realized form. Although Yen originally began carving the smooth designs for his children, they’ve become collaborators on some of his pieces, like this wide-eyed monster.

 

 

 

A Colossal

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Sailing Ship Kite