Design

Section



Craft Design

Construction Goes Small Scale with Mini Materials’s Tiny Building Supplies

February 3, 2023

Grace Ebert

An overhead photo of mini construction materials


All images © Mini Materials

Building a tiny home gains new meaning when working with Mini Materials. The U.S.-based company invites craftspeople and masons to think small for their next projects, offering pallets of cinder blocks and lumber ready to be slathered in mortar or nailed into position at either 1:6 or 1:12 scale. From construction supplies like road signs and barriers to kits for creating a backyard firepit, Mini Materials offers a vast array of products intended for minuscule fabrication, all of which are made of the same concrete or wood as their life-sized counterparts.

Shop the small supplies on the company’s site, and find a variety of projects and how-to guides on its blog and YouTube.

 

A photo of a mini wheelbarrow and cinder blocks

A photo of a mini trowel, bricks, and mortar

A photo of a mini forklift and cinder blocks

A photo of a mini forklift

A photo of a mini cinder blocks

A photo of a mini dolly

A photo of mini pallets

A photo of a mini mold and concrete blocks

 

 

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Design Food

Savor These Decadent Cakes, Pastries, and Other Sweet Treats in the Soft Glow of Candlelight

February 1, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of a cake candle

Photos by Julie Purpura, all images © Center of Order and Experimentation, shared with permission

Just like recipes are passed from one generation to the next, so are the methods behind the decadent cakes and pastries of Cereria Introna. Piped with thick pink frosting or dusted with sugar, the confections are handmade in Italy by a family that’s been whipping up creations since the mid-1800s. What differentiates their sweets from the bakery down the street, though, is how they’re consumed: rather than melt in your mouth, Cereria Introna’s desserts are candles made of paraffin wax. In addition to slices of cake and banana splits drizzled with chocolate, the company also crafts fruits, loaves of bread, and even garnished plates of spaghetti for savoring at home.

If you’re in Chicago, stop by the Center of Order and Experimentation to find an impeccably curated selection of the candles. Otherwise, check out the company’s site.

 

A photo of a cake candle

A photo of a cake candle

A photo of cake candles

Photo by Paul Octavious

A photo of a cake candle

A photo of a banana split candle

A photo of a catbcandle

 

 



Art Craft Design

Danielle Clough Reimagines Sportswear and Athletic Gear in Vibrantly Expressive Embroideries

January 24, 2023

Kate Mothes

Am embroidered portrait of eyes surrounded by colorful, loose threads.

All images © Danielle Clough, shared with permission

Utilizing vintage tennis rackets, T-shirts, and tie-dyed fabrics as canvases, Danielle Clough’s expressive embroideries (previously) sport summery motifs like flamingo pool floats, bright citrus, and bucket hats. The artist continues to expand upon the traditional hoop as the framing device and considers how the medium translates to unexpected surfaces like surfboards or apparel. And she isn’t afraid to experiment: her design for a surfboard—a bird perched on a large flower with a stem that trails into loose threads—didn’t go as planned when the time came to apply the piece to the physical board. However, the learning experience shaped the way she approaches future projects.

A recent series of vibrant human eyes stitched onto Adidas shirts comprise a collaboration with the brand to produce limited-edition wearable artworks. “The brief was broad: to create a sense of individual expression through the community,” Clough explains. “This collection of ‘expressions’ looks out from the wearer’s chest. Standing alone, but all together; a part of a group, like a bouquet.” She has also been experimenting with different threads and watercolor, focusing on the fabric background as an important part of the overall composition.

Clough says, “I’m currently working with a South African clothing brand called Poetry on creating a collection for spring using a variety of techniques to translate my work onto apparel,” and shares that she is also collaborating with Florida-based boxing glove maker 1V1 to create embellished mitts. Toward the end of this year, Clough will also present a series of workshops at Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia. Find more of her work on her website, and follow the latest updates on Instagram.

 

A series of tennis and badminton rackets that have embroidered flowers in the nets.

A series of tennis and badminton rackets that have embroidered flowers in the nets.

Am embroidered portrait of eyes surrounded by colorful, loose threads.

Embroidered flowers in the net of a vintage tennis racket.

A series of portraits of eyes embroidered onto t-shirts which are rolled up to display all of the portraits.

Two images of embroidered flowers in the nets of vintage tennis rackets.

An embroidered portrait of a young woman wearing a bucket hat in profile, on a blue and purple watercolor base.

Embroidered lemons on a colorful watercolor base.

Am embroidered portrait of eyes surrounded by colorful, loose threads.

A pink flamingo embroidered on a blue fabric.

An embroidery of a bird perched on a large flower, on a blue background.

A detail of an embroidered bird.

An embroidery of a bird perched on a large flower, on a blue background.

 

 



Art Design

Shantell Martin’s Signature Lines Grace a Meditative Limited-Edition Candle Collection

January 23, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of a cande and line drawings on a table

Photo by Eli Schmidt. All images courtesy of Shantell Martin, shared with permission

The ever-optimistic artist Shantell Martin (previously) brings her meditative, joyful line drawings to a collection of limited-editions candles. Minimal faces, birds, flowers, fish, and pithy affirmations like “You Time” and “Relax” grace the glass and ceramic vessels made in collaboration with Joya Studio. With burn times of 3,000 and 8,7000 minutes respectively, the candles release uplifting, stimulating scents with notes of shaded green tea, ocean air, heliotrope petals, and vanilla flowers.

Both designs are hand-poured in Joya’s Brooklyn studio, and the porcelain edition contains layers that emit different fragrances after 10, 30, or 60 minutes, making each piece both a timekeeper and a source of warm light. “My wish is that these candles can burn in the background during your creative process, much like a playlist, invigorating your senses and bringing you back to self,” the artist says.

Shop the collection on Joya’s site, and follow Martin’s latest collaborations on Instagram.

 

Two photos of a candle with black-and-white line drawings

Photo by Joya Studio

A detail photo of a candle with black-and-white line drawings

Photo by Joya Studio

A detail photo of a candle with black-and-white line drawings

Photo by Joya Studio

A detail photo of a candle with black-and-white line drawings

Photo by Joya Studio

Two photos of a candle with black-and-white line drawings

Photo by Joya Studio

A detail photo of a candle with black-and-white line drawings

Photo by Joya Studio

A photo of a cande and line drawings on a table

Photo by Eli Schmidt

A detail photo of the bottom of a candle with black-and-white line drawings

Photo by Joya Studio

 

 



Design

Sisyphus Eternally Pushes a Boulder Up a Mechanical Incline in Ross McSweeney’s Nimble Automata

January 20, 2023

Kate Mothes

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

All images © Ross McSweeney

More than one version of the Greek myth of Sisyphus chronicles the king’s slew of misdeeds on Earth, which amount to cheating death not once but twice. This earned him an infamous punishment from Hades, the god of death and ruler of the underworld, who sentenced the legendary figure to roll a boulder up the side of a mountain only for it to roll back down again as soon as it nears the top—for eternity. Glimpsing the mythical inner machinations, artist Ross McSweeney designed an intricately detailed, laser-cut wood automata that animates the classic tale.

McSweeney’s kinetic sculpture features a laboring Sisyphus pushing the stone up an incline as he is eyed by a (perpetually patient!) vulture. Beneath the surface, a cross-section of classical columns reveals a devilish figure who cranks an elaborate set of gears. The device is operated by turning a dial on the lower right side, and McSweeney demonstrates the mechanism in a video in which he also showcases different operating speeds.

The artist designed additional do-it-yourself kinetic constructions of a tiger, a running horse, and the surface of water that undulates with droplet rings. McSweeney shares videos of the automata on YouTube, and you can find detailed patterns to construct your own sculpture—which he takes great care to avoid being a Sisyphean task!—in his Etsy shop. (via Laughing Squid)

 

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

 

 



Design

A Detailed Documentary Traces the Process of Making Artistic Manhole Covers in Japan

January 19, 2023

Kate Mothes

There are myriad structures and objects in the built environment that many of us rarely give a second thought to, like the materials that make sidewalks and streets, the pipe systems below the pavement, or the manhole covers that keep those networks secure and provide essential access. In Japan, though, form follows function in a recent tradition of creating manhole covers that feature bold and colorful designs.

Video creators Process X visited the Hinode factory to document the manufacture of the ubiquitous lids from start to finish. Workers first melt metal and stamp the molten material into a form that produces a distinctive raised outline. The covers are then cooled and transported to a station where others hand-paint the details, heat the pigments to create a durable finish, and ready them for installation.

Japan’s aesthetic solution to an otherwise banal infrastructural object is thought to have originated back in the mid-1980s when municipalities were invited to design their own manhole covers, making costly sewerage updates more palatable. Following a handful of local contests and documentation by photographers and publications, the phenomenon continues to add vivid, unexpected designs to everyday surfaces.

Process X documents a wide range of manufacturing systems around Japan and publishes videos regularly on YouTube. (via Kottke)

 

A still from a short documentary about the making of manhole covers, which are colored and painted.

All images © Process X

A still from a short documentary about the making of manhole covers, which are colored and painted.

A still from a short documentary about the making of manhole covers, which are colored and painted.

A still from a short documentary about the making of manhole covers, which are colored and painted.

A still from a short documentary about the making of manhole covers, which are colored and painted.

A still from a short documentary about the making of manhole covers, which are colored and painted.

 

 

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