Russian embroidery artist Vera Shimunia began her landscape embroidery practice in 2015. She tells Colossal that it is the perfect medium for her because it requires less patience than cross-stitch and is more exciting, in her opinion, than painting. The Saint Petersburg-based artist is self-taught (Shimunia studied economics in college) and she shares that she imagines the needle as a brush. Her richly-hued mountainscapes, sunrises, and skies are crafted on palm-sized embroidery hoops using a variety of textured threads. Although Shimunia uses a unified color palette over a small surface area, she distinguishes different landscape elements using various stitch and knot styles, as well as thin, thick, and even three-dimensional fibers. You can see more of her embroideries on Instagram, and purchase work in her Etsy store.
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India-based cut paper artists Nayan Shrimali and Vaishali Chudasama have set out to construct 365 miniature bird species by the end of 2018. To form each work, the pair begins by cutting feathers, beaks, and talons from layers of paper and then using watercolor to produce further detail. Despite the works’ small size (some of the tiniest pieces measuring only 3/4 of an inch from head to tail), each bird takes four to six hours to finish depending on the extent of the bird’s colorful plumage. You can stay updated with the artists’ miniature project on Instagram, and buy tiny avian artworks by the duo on their Etsy Shop.
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Designer Rosa de Jong produces micro homes that are built into the side of tiny cliffs constructed out of cork. Her miniature environments are covered in fake moss and dotted with modeling trees, which add an enchanting element to the small homes. Previously she has suspended her creations in glass tubes, which created the illusion that the works were floating in mid-air.
Her most recent pieces hang between two panes of glass and are secured with thin wires. De Jong collaborated with her father to create the wooden frames for the structures, which include tiny wheels that allow the owner to adjust the position of the floating islands. Two of her new works, Remembered and Imagined, will be shown simultaneously at an upcoming dual-city exhibition which opens on August 24, 2018 at Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia and August 30, 2018 at Antler Gallery in Portland, Oregon. You can see more of the Amsterdam-based designer’s miniature homes on Instagram and her Micro Matter website.
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After setting up shop in a London corner store and NYC-style bodega, Lucy Sparrow (previously) has grown her unusual art showing/selling technique into a full-blown ’80s-style supermarket. Taking up 2,800 square feet of the Standard Hotel in Downtown LA, the British artist’s fifth large-scale installation is quite literally stuffed with replicas of everyday products, each handmade from felt. The shelves are packed with different ramen and instant noodle soups, Reese’s Puffs, Frosted Flakes and other popular cereals, three different brands of peanut butter along with Smucker’s grape or strawberry jelly, a whole range of favorite snacks, chips, pasta or rice, and all the essential personal hygiene products.
In 2014 Sparrow successfully used Kickstarter to fund her first major project in London called The Corner Shop, which offered 4,000 hand-sewn felt products. Three years later she hopped across the pond to open 8 ‘Til Late, a bodega located in Manhattan at The Standard, High Line with 9,000 items that sold out a couple of days before the official closing date. Challenged by the demand for her plush groceries, the artist locked herself inside her Felt Cave studio for a year and produced her largest and most elaborate project to date — Sparrow Mart.
The retro shop has all the familiar selections of American comforts, including a videotape rental section with ’80s classics like Footloose, Dirty Dancing, and Short Circuit. She also has fresh hand-sewn seafood on ice, sushi, fruits and vegetables, a variety of meat cuts and other animal products, popular snacks, canned goods, cereals, candies, sodas, liquor and cleaning products. Each item is meticulously cloned from felt, a material that evokes childhood and play. The fact that the store offers 27 different types of sushi (each produced in 300 pieces), plus chopsticks, wasabi, pickled ginger, and even soy sauce packed inside iconic plastic fish containers, says a great deal about the amount of detail and determination that went into creating this overwhelming installation. Working alone until very recently, the artist ended up hiring four full-time assistants in her studio and outsourcing fifteen professionals to complete this immersive project.
Offering a felt ATM in between the isles, an exclusive gallery section in the back, and ending with three felt checkout stations, each of the 31,000 products on view is available for purchase with prices ranging from $5 for bubblegum to $73 for a kimchi Michelada. Sparrow Mart is open through the end of August 2018 from 11am-9pm (closed Mondays). The installation is accompanied with Sparrow To Go, a 24/7 restaurant in the lobby of the hotel, offering dishes inspired by the items in Sparrow Mart and prepared by the hotel’s executive chef Julio Palma. After this, the artist is considering creating a similar installation in Chicago, Dallas, Melbourne, or somewhere in Asia, like Hong Kong or Tokyo. You can see more from Sparrow on Instagram.
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Coral-Inspired Vessels Formed From Thousands of Individually-Applied Porcelain Fragments by Olivia Walker
London and Barcelona-based ceramicist Olivia Walker produces works in porcelain that address the ideas of growth and decay through additive and subtractive processes. After creating her initial shape on a potter’s wheel, Walker attaches thousands of individually-applied fragments that appear like organic growths. “I start from a set point on a bowl, and let these organic accretions spread out and grow – eating through, or growing over the form beneath,” she explains. “These make reference to organisms – fungus, coral, and bacteria – but are unidentifiable.”
Walker’s vessels are currently a part of the New Member Showcase at CAA Gallery in London through August 31, 2018. She will also be showing her sculptures at the British Craft Pavilion as a part of the London Design Festival from September 20-23, 2018. You can see more of her porcelain works on Instagram.
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Spanish textile artist Judit Just Anteló moved to Asheville, North Carolina in 2013 to further develop her textile brand Jujujust. Although she studied fashion design, sculpture, and textile art in her hometown of Barcelona, she first learned the standards of weaving from her mother as a small child. Anteló applies these more traditional techniques to her current practice, updating the old methods with splashes of neon color and engaging combinations of vibrant threads.
“Most of my tapestries are just an involuntary result of an improvisation, a dance with colors and materials,” Anteló tells Colossal. “I like to let myself flow and see what it transforms into afterwards. Once I finish and approve one design, I keep the original in my studio to reproduce it in different color variations. Then I redo them and make them evolve and metamorphose into other creations.”
Anteló weaves her tapestries with rye knots created on a lap loom or eight-harness table loom, depending on which type of wall hanging she is attempting to make. You can find a variety of her works for sale on her Etsy shop, and take a peek into her studio on Instagram.
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The most basic instrument in the hands of a master can produce awe-inspiring results. For Yorkshire-based artist and printmaker Pippa Dyrlaga (previously), that instrument is a common blade handle equipped with fine point blades. The resulting works of art are incredibly detailed paper cuts of plants, animals, and abstract designs with hand-replicated patterns and variations in line width that give them dimensionality and bring the flat images to life.
Pippa only began paper cutting in 2010, a year before completing her Masters degree in Art and Design and Curation at Leeds Metropolitan University. On finding inspiration and imagery that would work well for her style and craft, Pippa tells Colossal that ideas tend to flow from her surroundings and from other projects. “Most of the time one piece will lead to another, but I sometimes get an idea that I just want to try out, something I have been thinking of for a while. I have always lived in quite inspiring and green places, filled with local wildlife and flora, and much of my inspiration stems from being outside and enjoying it, and feeling like a part of it.”
While all of her pieces are meticulous, Pippa says that apart from a basic layout sketch, not a lot goes into the planning phase. “I prefer the pieces where I work on the design as I am cutting them out! I will have a detail or a general idea of what I want it to look like in my head, and I will create the full image whilst I am working on it, in smaller sections, so it develops quite organically.” For larger pieces that do require some planning, she will sometimes make smaller versions first to see how the details will work. “I quite like not knowing what it will look like until its finished,” she tells Colossal.
As for how those details are achieved, Pippa assured us that the blades and handle are the main weapons in her arsenal. “Papercutting doesn’t require anything fancy,” she said. “The tools are as simple as the medium. The rest is practice!” She does, however, have personal preferences when it comes to the paper she cuts (good quality, acid-free, and from sustainable sources), and there are a few measures taken to ensure that the works stay flat, dry, and away from the harsh sun. “Paper cuts are surprisingly strong,” Pippa said, “but they can’t take much damage so they do have to be handled and stored safely, just like any paper.”
To see more of Pippa Dyrlaga’s work, follow her on Instagram.
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Editor's Picks: Craft
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.