Craft

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Craft

Miniature Creatures Made of Felted Wool by Nastasya Shuljak

January 31, 2020

Andrew LaSane

Moscow-based artist Nastasya Shuljak transforms packs of wool into sculptures of small animals and other whimsical creatures. Plants sprout from the heads of smiling trees and other natural spirits. Polar bears, foxes, hares, and other critters stare through inquisitive eyes applied to their tiny woolen faces. Shuljak’s toys are an exercise in the flexibility of the material and also a way to bring joy to all who meet them.

Shuljak, a former theater artist and art teacher, tells Colossal that the practice of making creatures began when friends gifted her some wool. With that first bag she made a bear and a hare, and the menagerie has been growing ever since. “I saw children’s sonorous happiness in an adult man holding in his hands what I did,” says Shuljak. “Until now, it touches me, causes surprise and peace.” Commenting on the purpose of the figures, she added that her animals “do not aspire to the exhibition hall, do not claim to be art. These are just small lumps of joy, carefree second smiles.”

Shuljak teaches classes in Moscow on how to create the toys and also sells them via social media. For more information on upcoming workshops and to meet more of these adorable wool creatures, follow Shuljak on Instagram.

 

 



Craft Illustration Photography

Found Photographs and Book Pages Weave into Textured Collages by Hollie Chastain

January 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Psychopomp.” All images © Hollie Chastain, shared with permission

Paper artist and illustrator Hollie Chastain clips, layers, and stitches found photographs and scraps of paper ephemera to create her mixed-media collages. The Chattanooga, Tennessee-based artist repurposes old narratives and images⁠—in one piece, tuba players pop out of a library card pocket, and in another, two men tug on a string woven through a handwritten note⁠—providing a new story for each regenerated work.

Chastain tells Colossal she began working with the medium in 2008. “Vintage book covers became a favorite substrate,” she says. “I fell in love with the scribbles, stamps, library and school identification, water and ink marks and all the other visual history and how that added to and sometimes altered the composition of the piece. ” Today, she often cuts images from National Geographic copies printed in the 1960s and 70s, gravitating toward “strong characters and people in action.”

To share her appreciation of the versatile medium, Chastain published an instructional book detailing various techniques and methods. “What I adore about collage as a medium is the complete versatility and the allowances that it gives first time creators to play around with color and texture and composition without any ‘but I can’t draw’ and ‘I’m not an artist’ hang-ups,” she says. If you want to join Chastain and start your own textured project, order a copy of If You Can Cut, You Can Collage. Otherwise, check out her shop and follow her on Instagram.

“Band Stand”

“Harvest”

“Homework”

“Parade Day”

“Paradise Lost”

“The Delegate”

 

 



Craft

Oversized Paper Flowers Bloom in Lush Bunches by Marianne Eriksen Scott-Hansen

January 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Marianne Eriksen Scott-Hansen, shared with permission

Marianne Eriksen Scott-Hansen doesn’t have to worry about her flowers wilting. She constructs enormous bouquets of tissue paper blossoms featuring countless petals and leaves in color-coordinated bunches. The Copenhagen-based artist tells Colossal that she doesn’t keep track of the pieces of paper or number of hours she spends on her large-scale projects, preferring to focus on creating rather than the actual process of cutting and shaping. Each piece is crafted by hand and without patterns or templates, making every petal, stem, and bit of pollen unique.

Much of Scott-Hansen’s work reflects her childhood in the countryside, anchoring her style in nature and Danish folk art. Heavily rooted in craft, the artist says she works both artistically and intuitively. “It’s all in the hands so to speak. I want to enter into a dialogue with the material. Work my way into it. Exploring rather than ‘mere’ re-working and investigation. (Seeing) how far can you ‘stretch’ paper.” She enjoys using the same material to create various textures, contrasting durable, rough wood and delicate petals.

Thrift, hard work, and industry are required as well, in order for my artworks to grow into something other than the tissue they were. Something must be small before it can be big, humble before it can be flashy—it is the contrast of nature that carries opulence within it and triggers our imagination. In my reworking, the tissue paper roots of the triffid may also become that of the rose.

The artist graduated from The School of Design at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1995 with a degree in fashion design. Since then, she’s collaborated with a long list of clients including Elle Denmark, Karl Lagerfeld, and Hermès, to name a few. Currently, she’s working on an installation for an international summit planned in Copenhagen in May. See more of Scott-Hansen’s blooming projects on Instagram. (via The Jealous Curator)

 

 



Craft

A Fleet of Magnificent Paper Aircraft by Zim & Zou Heads for an Unknown World in ‘Exodus’

January 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Zim & Zou

These intricate paper ships crafted by Zim & Zou (previously) form a collective perpetually in search of alternate realities as part of “Exodus.” From their layered propellers to their waving pennants, the bright pink, blue, and purple aircraft are constructed entirely by hand. Each body displays multiple geometric patterns created with cut and stacked paper that match the rest of the fleet. The Dordogne, France-based artistic duo calls this personal project “an ode to travel. Thrown in an endless movement, the aircraft colony crosses time and space toward an unknown outcome. Like birds stuck in an eternal migration, they’re pursuing their dream of an elsewhere.”

In a statement, the pair said paper is their preferred medium because it “inspires them for its versatility, infinite range of colors and unique textures. The flat paper sheets turned into volume are giving an installation the poetry of ephemeral material.” Head to Instagram and Behance for more of Zim & Zou’s tangible pieces, and check out their shop to add a member of the paper fleet to your collection.

 

 



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