Craft

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Art Colossal Craft

Interview: Danielle Clough Discusses Embroidery’s Lengthy History and the Tenuous Distinction Between Art and Craft

November 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Danielle Clough, shared with permission

Through thickly layered thread, Cape Town-based artist Danielle Clough (previously) conveys joy, positivity, and moments of pure delight, themes she discusses in a new interview supported by Colossal Members. Clough positions herself in the worlds of both fiber-based craft and art by embroidering intimate portraits of pop culture icons and vivid floral works on found objects. Each piece is stitched in vibrant and bold hues that exaggerate existing tones or provide a playful interpretation of the subject.

I love the space I get to occupy as an embroiderer, which is between a crafter and an artist. Whether I’m seen by somebody else as a crafter or as an artist, it’s really none of my business. I love that space because it gives me room to create without necessarily having to evoke meaning.

In the interview, Clough spoke with managing editor Grace Ebert about her resilient optimism, the creative paths she pursued prior to embroidery, and the incredibly rich history of her chosen medium.

 

 

 



Craft Design

Rollerskating Poodles and Croissant Characters Form an Adorably Eccentric Cast of Felt Characters by Cat Rabbit

October 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Cat Rabbit, shared with permission

Working out of her studio in Melbourne, textile artist Cat Rabbit (previously) felts a quirky troupe of characters complete with distinctive garb and accessories. A croissant-headed figure dons a striped skirt and floral hat, Pomeranians carry pin cushions on their backs, and four swaggering poodles outfitted with roller skates appear ready to compete in the rink.

Some of the anthropomorphized creatures are particularly personal to the artist, like the blanket-enshrouded toad (shown below) that was inspired by a friend’s love for the children’s series, Frog and Toad. Similarly, the George Eliot-esque pug is a nod to writer Zadie Smith and her pup, Maud, who Cat Rabbit met last year. “I presented it to her when I went up to get my book signed. She was amazing and kind, and when the writer next to her at the table asked me, ’so what is it that you do, actually?’ Zadie immediately said, ‘this, obviously.’ Being validated by your hero! I was on a cloud for months,” she says.

Shop eccentric characters, prints, and wearables on Cat Rabbit’s site, and follow her work on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Oversized Spiders by Mister Finch Transform Vintage Textiles into Fairytale Sculptures

October 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Mister Finch, shared with permission

Leeds-based artist Mister Finch (previously) thrifts scraps of brocades and cottons to shape into fantastical creatures that are both whimsical and slightly unnerving. His recent pieces include a series of oversized spiders that the artist photographs suspended from the ceiling or scaling his workshop wall. “The past few years my work has become more sculpture-based with my creatures pretty much all stood up and attached to bases.” Finch writes. “I love the way this looks and enables me to dress and humanize them, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Although the ongoing pandemic has stifled the artist’s foraging of fabrics and other materials in recent months, Finch notes that he’s been pulling textiles from his home stash and occasionally visiting fairs and markets. He’s also been scaling down his sculptures so that they’re easier to handle without assistance.

Finch published two books filled with his fairytale-style sculptures and settings in recent years—and currently is working on a third—which you can purchase in his shop along with cards and totes. Dive further into his eccentric projects on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft Music

Bright Floral Crochet Wraps an Iconic Stratocaster Guitar in a Psychedelic Layer of Color

October 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Flower Power” (2020), crocheted wool and Fender Stratocaster, 106.7 x 12.7 x 38.1 centimeters. All images courtesy of The Big Art Auction, shared with permission

A new piece by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos (previously) envelops one of Fender’s Stratocaster guitars in a vibrant sheath of wool. Titled “Flower Power,” loosely crocheted petals cover the entirety of the instrument, wrapping the body, neck, and head in a kaleidoscopic bouquet. The fibrous webbing evokes the aesthetic of the 1960s when Fender’s model secured its legendary status.

Along with a diverse series of artist-customized Strats, “Flower Power” will be auctioned on Nov. 4 through The Big Art Auction, a collaborative event hosted by The Big Issue Group and Creative Giants. Proceeds from the sales will be donated to The Big Issue, a United Kingdom-based organization that creates economic opportunities for folks who are marginalized and in need. To follow Vasconcelos’s crocheted interventions, head to Instagram.

 

“Flower Power” (2020), crocheted wool and Fender Stratocaster, 106.7 x 12.7 x 38.1 centimeters

“Flower Power” (2020), crocheted wool and Fender Stratocaster, 106.7 x 12.7 x 38.1 centimeters

 

 



Craft

Quaint Campsites and Forests Populate Miniature Scenes of Carved Wood

October 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Thibaut Malet, shared with permission

Based in Montpellier, France, Thibaut Malet (previously) spent much of his childhood in his father’s workshop, which housed the family’s cabinetry business. At 10-years-old, the third-generation woodworker began sculpting the organic material, although his creations were infinitesimal compared to his dad’s counterparts. Malet carved miniature scenes spotted in everyday life, imagining new, small-scale worlds. “It was a way to work with wood without using the too dangerous machines of my father. My parents organized a tiny workshop in a small room, and it was perfect,” he shares with Colossal.

Although Malet never studied the trade in an official capacity, he now works as a designer and wood artist after a few years as an architect and furniture maker, a background that’s evident in his tiny scenes. Malet carves quaint cabins and outdoor equipment, including canoes, ladders, and seating areas, nestled among the trees or at the base of a ravine. Each structure is unique, whether built as a simple A-frame or a more complex, vaulted chalet. Intentionally minimal, the scenes reflect the artist’s commitment to “working with the least amount of material. It’s a reflection on saving material and space,” he says. “I’ve always liked the challenge of making things as small as I can.”

Many of Malet’s scenic wood carvings, which you can follow on Instagram and Behance, are available for purchase in his shop.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Miniature Mixed Media Lace Works Depict Pastoral Scenes in New Work by Ágnes Herczeg

October 2, 2020

Christopher Jobson

All photos © Ágnes Herczeg, shared with permission

Working within a scale of just a few inches, Hungarian artist Ágnes Herczeg (previously) threads together fragments of wood, seeds, and wire with delicate lace work to form pastoral scenes inspired in part by her surroundings in a small town near the river Danube. This year, Herczeg utilized more tree bark and golf leaf and developed her abilities with silk thread to create pieces even smaller than before. In a note to Colossal, she shares this challenge to work increasingly smaller is “a very good mind game.” You can see lots of her new work on her website, and several pieces are for sale in her online shop.