Craft

Section



Craft

Adorably Emotional Creatures Comprise Nosey Mungo’s Playful Ceramic Menagerie

July 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Helen Burgess, shared with permission

In the hands of Helen Burgess, goofy grins, bloated bellies, and eyes wide with surprise turn endangered or overlooked animals into endearing creatures with playfully exaggerated emotions. The British ceramicist, who works as nosey mungo (previously), sculpts quirky renditions of wildlife and other critters—she prefers to focus on conservation issues and species struggling to survive— crafting kooky pufferfish covered in spikes and chicks with tiny beaks poking out from their downy, yellow bodies.

Currently, Burgess is working on a collection of marine wall hangings, and you can follow her progress, along with shop updates and glimpses into her process, on Instagram.

 

 

 



Craft Design

An Elaborately Designed Book on Weaving Opens to Reveal a Fully Functional Loom

July 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Cai Wei Qun, shared with permission

The swish of a shuttle moving from left to right as it carries threads through the warp might be described as a “xui” sound. A Taiwanese onomatopoeia, the auditory word is also the title of Cai Wei Qun’s elaborately constructed book on the craft, which opens to reveal a trove of history, techniques and tricks, and an entire loom tucked between its covers.

The clever design is fully functional and able to produce tiny tapestries based on the patterns and practices described, making the book an immersive and accessible manual. “Traditional weaving tools are large and have complicated processes,” Wei Qun tells Colossal. “It is commonly difficult to experience. So we hope, by experiencing simple weaving processes, one can initiate ‘interest’ during the process (and) thoroughly understand the culture of weaving.”

Wei Qun was recently awarded a Red Dot Design Award for the conceptual project, and you can find much more on the designer’s website and Instagram. (via Yanko Design)

 

 

 



Art Craft

Realistic Bird Busts and Portraits Slot Pieces of Wood into Jigsaw-Like Sculptures

July 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © T.A.G. Smith, shared with permission

Similar to the decorative art of marquetry, intarsia involves compressing cut pieces of wood into a tight, solid structure. Because of the size of the components, the latter technique produces more three-dimensional forms that tend to be fastened with dabs of glue.

British artist T.A.G. Smith employs this assemblage method when sculpting his small bird busts, portraits, and single feathers encased in boxes. Each piece begins with a digital rendering, followed by Smith carving shapes from myriad types of wood, allowing the color and grain of the materials to determine its placement in the final form. The resulting sculptures, which Smith likens to a jigsaw puzzle, combine anywhere from six to more than 600 individual pieces into sleek, realistic depictions of eagles, hawfinches, and puffins.

Currently, the artist is adding to his series of bird portraits, and you can follow his progress on Instagram, where he also shares information about works available for purchase on Etsy.

 

 

 



Craft Illustration

Vivid Contours Conjure Hope and Resilience in Yulia Brodskaya’s Quilled Paper Compositions

July 12, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Phoenix” (2022). All images © Yulia Brodskaya, shared with permission

In Greek mythology, the sacred phoenix, with its characteristically striking plumage in flaming yellow, orange, and red, is known for its ability to resurrect. When the bird’s long life is nearing an end, flames engulf its body, and the being is reborn as a chick in the ashes of its predecessor, giving it the distinction of resilience, regeneration, and immortality. As Yulia Brodskaya began to apply the curled and crimped tendrils of paper to her latest work, she tells Colossal that the firebird portrait “started as a visual representation of a powerful feeling rising from the deep,” adding that “it felt like this portrait has been ‘channelled’ through me.”

Brodskaya captures the subtleties of individual expression and character in her elaborate portraits (previously) and depictions of flora and fauna. Through boldly colored papers that are rolled, folded, and layered, she reveals a flurry of feathers or the contours of a face in intricate detail, like the sense of serene contemplation that permeates “Samurai Dreams.” She wants every piece to send a message, suggesting viewers “pay attention to what emotion or feeling comes up for you in the first moments you see it—until the mind begins to dissect the details and offer loud opinions about why you like or dislike it. That initial quiet voice is the whisper of intuition. That’s the place I create my best work from.”

You can find more information about Brodskaya’s work on her website, and she regularly shares videos of her process on Instagram.

 

“Phoenix” (detail)

“Phoenix” (detail)

“Samurai Dreams” (2022)

“Samurai Dreams” (detail)

“Samurai Dreams” (detail)

“Parrots” (2022)

“Parrots” (detail)

“Butterflies” (2021)

“Butterflies” (detail)

 

 

 



Art Craft

Hundreds of Oblongs and Discs Undulate Across Marianne Huotari’s Ceramic Sculptures

July 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Ananasakäämä.” Photo by Anna Autio. All images © Marianne Huotari, shared with permission

Dating back to the Vikings, ryijy is a distinctly Finnish textile tradition that produces thick, high-pile tapestries and rugs. The heavily patterned works, which have shifted from functional to decorative, are made by hand-knotting wool and layering the yarn into lush, textured motifs.

Drawing on her background in textile design, Finnish artist Marianne Huotari translates this technique into ceramics, creating densely delicate reliefs that evoke the depth and dimension of fiber. Huotari begins every work with a color palette and surface, whether in the form of a wall-based piece or a freestanding sculpture. She then rolls and pinches clay into oblongs and small discs imprinted by her fingertips for added texture, each pierced to create a small hole for a bit of metal thread. Once glazed and fired, the individual components are sewn into undulating topographies layered lush with color and rippling shapes. Huotari shares with Colossal:

The process is super slow but very meditative thanks to its repetitive nature. Throughout the process, I attempt to take control of the material by dismantling and reassembling the parts, which is not very common when talking about ceramic art. That provides me the freedom to make changes on the go. The technique provides countless possibilities… In the near future, I’ll be focusing on developing the sculptural expression and searching for the limits of dimensions.

The Helsinki-based artist was recently named a finalist for this year’s Loewe Foundation Craft Prize, which is hosting an exhibition at Seoul Museum of Art through July 31. She also has pieces on view through August 19 at HB381 Gallery in New York and through the end of August at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center in Denmark, where she will be a resident this fall. Watch the video below and head to Instagram for a glimpse into Huotari’s process, and browse available pieces at Officine Saffi. (via Journal du Design)

 

“Tipsy and Dazzled by Festives.” Photo by Anna Autio

“Mandarin Garden.” Photo by Jefunne Gimpel

Detail of “Mandarin Garden.” Photo by Jefunne Gimpel

Detail of “Tipsy and Dazzled by Festives.” Photo by Anna Autio

Left: “Moment in the Shade.” Photo by Anna Autio. Right: “Eden’s Euphoria.” Photo by Anna Autio

“Shallows.” Photo by Anna Autio

“Wild as Lupine.” Photo by Hanna Kaketti

 

 



Art Craft

Beguiling Sculptures by Lana Crooks Fabricate Anatomical Parts from Wool and Silk

July 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Lana Crooks, shared with permission

Portland, Oregon-based artist Lana Crooks (previously) juxtaposes the softness of wool and silk with the solid, unyielding surfaces of bones. She stitches hand-dyed textiles into anatomical sculptures adorned with colorful florals or feathers that are both elegant and eerie. Often encased in glass domes, Crooks’s recent skeletal works include a hand wrapped in a loose bouquet, an ouroboros entwined with a blossoming vine, and a human ribcage suspended in an ornately carved wooden box.

Crooks has a few pieces available in her shop, in addition to Stranger Factory, where her work will be included in a few upcoming group shows. Explore a larger archive of her spectral sculptures on her site and Instagram.