Join Us for A Colossal Workshop on Embroidered Botanical Sculptures with Amanda McCavour

December 7, 2022


A photo of a hand holding an embroidered botanical

All images © Amanda McCavour

We’re thrilled to welcome Canadian artist Amanda McCavour (previously) for our next Colossal Workshop. During our live two-hour session, McCavour will teach students her process for creating delicately embroidered sculptures using one of her own botanical drawings. Attendees will work with water-soluble stabilizers and learn to hand-embroider texture, pattern, and line with running stitches, chain stitches, couching stitches, french knots, and seed stitches to create a vibrant textile work with collaged threads.

Register here and gather your supplies for the January 14, 2023, session, and if you’re a Colossal Member, be sure to use the code in your account for $5 off. Ten percent of the proceeds for this workshop will benefit Plant Chicago.


A photo of a hand holding an embroidered botanical




Art History

Urban Landscapes Merge with Intricately Rendered Figures in Ed Fairburn’s Portraits on Vintage Maps

December 7, 2022

Kate Mothes

A cross-hatched portrait drawing on a historical map of Plymouth.

“Plymouth.” All images © Ed Fairburn, shared with permission

Along the contours of roads, property boundaries, and shorelines, English artist Ed Fairburn draws inspiration for his detailed cross-hatched portraits. As an avid map collector, he is fascinated by the urban landscape and cartographic design. “The more maps I collect, the more I want to create,” he tells Colossal, sharing that transportation routes like roads and bridges can be likened to the veins or arteries of the body.

Fairburn’s intricate drawings directly respond to the layout of the original map. “I allow the composition of each map to inform the composition of each portrait,” he explains. An interest in the body as metaphorical landscape and vice versa also informs how he approaches each piece. “In a wider sense, I hope that my work pushes viewers to think about those similarities, and perhaps offers a reminder that we’re shaped by the landscape around us, which we in turn are also shaping.”

You can find more of Fairburn’s work on his website, and follow updates on Instagram, where he often shares videos of his process.


A cross-hatched portrait drawing on a historical map of the Thames.

“River Thames; Staines to Richmond”

A cross-hatched portrait drawing on a historical map of Singapore.


A cross-hatched portrait drawing on a historical map of Aberdeen Harbor.

“Aberdeen Harbour”

A cross-hatched portrait drawing on a historical map of Paris.

“Paris II”

A cross-hatched portrait drawing on a historical map of Paris.


A detail of a cross-hatched portrait drawing on a historical map.

Detail of “Plymouth”

A detail of a cross-hatched portrait drawing on a historical map.

Detail of “River Thames; Staines to Richmond” 




The Design Stories Colossal Readers Loved Most in 2022

December 7, 2022


A collage of three images of designs

This year on Colossal, we published hundreds of articles across disciplines, and as we look back at those in the design world, we’re finding that readers gravitated toward stories about the world’s largest sheet of chainmail, geometric pastries, and tiny homes for bees. Be sure to take a look at 2022’s top articles across art and craft, and check out our favorite books of the year. You can always take a trip back in time by diving into the Colossal archive.


A still showing a chainmail structure covering a building

A Massive Chainmail Shelter Prevents a Renowned Scottish Mansion from Dissolving in the Rain

English YouTuber and educator Tom Scott visits the largest sheet of chainmail in the world in a short documentary that reveals how the uniquely designed mesh structure has become a landmark of sustainability.


A photo of a round cake covered in a vibrant gradient of spheres

Image © Dinara Kasko

Impeccably Precise Geometries Are Baked into Dinara Kasko’s Bold Cakes and Tarts

Ukrainian pastry chef Dinara Kasko brings a healthy dose of geometry to her meticulously designed cakes.


A photo of a barn with a slice out of the side to allow sky to peek through

Image © Catie Newell

Reimagining an Iconic Midwestern Structure, Catie Newell Cuts a Slice of Sky Out of a Michigan Barn

Conceived by Detroit-based architect and educator Catie Newell, this project reworks the iconic framework of an aging farm building to allow light through an unexpected aperture.


A still of a two shells in a planter

Image courtesy of A24

Production Designer Liz Toonkel Describes Creating the Adorable Universe Behind the New ‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes On’

A tiny mollusk with a big personality, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On captivated audiences more than a decade ago with his quirky antics and endlessly entertaining use of human-sized objects. The adorable character returned this summer for a feature-length mockumentary with brilliant world-building by Liz Toonkel.


A photo of a colorful glass structure over a landscape and brick structures

Image © Vertical Panorama Pavilion at the Donum Estate (2022), Studio Other Spaces, Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann, by Adam Potts

Studio Other Spaces Designs a Conical Structure with 832 Vibrant Glass Panels That Reflect Sonoma’s Weather

A bold, conical structure by the studio of artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann casts a vibrant kaleidoscope of 24 colors underneath its canopy.


A photo of a woven structure around a tree

Image © Ulf Mejergren and Antti Laitinen

In a Remote Swedish Forest, A Nest of Branches and Hay Encircles a Tree with a Cozy Hideout

In April of this year, Swedish architect and artist Ulf Mejergren and Finnish artist Antti Laitinen gathered fallen branches from a forested area outside of Nykvarn and wove a structure around a tree, building a cozy refuge among the thawing spring landscape.


A photo of a latticed bamboo building that's lit by soft light

Image by Hiroyuki Oki, courtesy of Vo Trong Nghia Architects

42,000 Bamboo Shoots Construct an Illuminated, Latticed Welcome Center in Vietnam

The project of Vo Trong Nghia Architects, a glowing welcome center of interlaced bamboo stands at the entrance of the resort Grand World Phu Quoc in Vietnam.


A photo of a brick with round holes and a bee hovering in front of it

Image © Green&Blue

Tiny Holes Drilled into Bricks Provide Miniature Homes for Solitary Bees

An innovative creation of Cornwall-based Green&Blue, Bee Bricks are designed to establish homes for fuzzy, winged insects.


A photo of a person wearing a costume of shells with grass

Image © World of WearableArt

In the World of WearableArt, 88 Dramatic Garments Grace the Stage in a Spectacular Performance

Every year in Wellington, dozens of extravagant garments explode onto the stage for three weeks as part of the World of WearableArt competition.


A photo of a bed in front of a round window

All images © Noritaka Minami

Photos by Noritaka Minami Document the Famed Nakagin Capsule Tower Prior to Demolition

Artist Noritaka Minami documented the icon of Japanese Metabolism, the Nakagin Capsule Tower, that stood in the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo from 1972 until it was demolished earlier this year.



Animation History

In ‘Home,’ Animator Anita Bruvere Weaves a Poetic Story of Immigration through Stop-Motion Scenes

December 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

19 Princelet Street in London’s East End boasts a richly diverse history that’s emblematic of the neighborhood. The modest brick building once housed Huguenot silk merchants, Irish weavers, and Jewish tailors who fled persecution and struggles within their home countries. Today, the Museum of Immigration and Diversity inhabits the space, securing its legacy as a welcoming, communal environment for people in need.

A profound, meditative short film by Anita Bruvere reflects on this history through intimately crafted stop-motion scenes. Aptly titled “Home,” the animation peers in on the families who occupied the Princelet Street rooms, portraying the two-dimensional figures on acetate. Weaving and sewing practices occupy much of their time and connect each group as the textiles seamlessly flow from one to the next, which Bruvere describes in an interview:

I was interested in how people of different times and generations, coming from different cultures and backgrounds, are connected through the places they occupy and the experiences they share. I wanted the film to be quite poetic, telling the story from the perspective of the house using fabric: the common trade shared by the area’s many immigrant communities.

An immigrant herself, Bruvere conveys a heartbreaking relevancy to such a historic narrative. “It was startling to discover that the public discourse around the issue of immigration hasn’t really changed that much over the last 300 years,” she says.

Watch the film above, and find more of Bruvere’s projects on Vimeo.


A still of a building in a suitcase

An animated image of a figure sewing a dress

A still of a figure being measured for tailoring




Georgian Culture and Ukrainian Pride Highlight the 2022 Tbilisi Mural Fest

December 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a mural portrait of a woman holding a bouquet of flowers

By Sasha Korban. All images by Tiku Kobiashvili, courtesy of Tbilisi Mural Fest, shared with permission

For the last four years, Tbilisi Mural Fest has facilitated more than 40 public artworks around the Georgian capitol, and the 2022 event brought a spate of new projects to the city. Given the nation’s proximity to Russia and that country’s groundless war against Ukraine, festival organizers highlighted renowned Ukrainian muralist Sasha Korban who painted a large-scale portrait of a woman in customary clothing facing the Russian embassy. Other works include celebrations of Georgian culture and history, like a large-scale tablecloth with traditional motifs by Chertova Tina and Mohamed l’Ghacham’s dreamlike rendering of the living room of Georgian thinker and author Ilia Chavchavadze.

See some of the 2022 additions below and those from previous years on Instagram.


A photo of a large blue mural with ornamental white motifs

By Chertova Tina

A photo of a black and white portrait mural of a woman with colorful doodles on her face

“Circus” by Luis Gomez de Teran

A photo of a mural of a dreamlike living room

“Illia’s Room” by Mohamed l’Ghacham

A photo of a mural with two women and a plant, repeated three times vertically

“Growth” by Artez

A photo of an abstract mural on an urban building

By Kera

A photo of a mural with two figures and a portal

“M3D3A” by Vesod

A photo of a mural with two regal figures and city

By Dato Machavariani and Irakli Qadeishvili




The Craft Stories Colossal Readers Loved Most in 2022

December 6, 2022


A collage of four photos

We’re wrapping up 2022 and revisiting some of the craft projects we wrote about this year. From a 2,000-year-old Roman glass bowl to a menagerie of paper bats, the stories Colossal readers loved most are diverse in medium and subject matter and show a vast array of creativity around the globe.

If you want even more of 2022’s highlights, check out the top art stories and our favorite books of the year. You can also dive into the Colossal archive.


A photo of a hand holding a blue glass bowl

Image courtesy of Marieke Mom

Archeologists Unearth a Roman Glass Bowl Dating Back 2,000 Years in Pristine Condition

A January archaeological dig in the city of Nijmegen, The Netherlands, unearthed a stunningly preserved bowl made of blue glass that’s estimated to be about 2,000 years old.


A photo of an embroidered moth sculpture

Image © Larysa Bernhardt

Vintage Tapestries Cloak the Wings of Larysa Bernhardt’s Plush Moths

Artist Larysa Bernhardt creates colorful moth sculptures embroidered with vintage tapestries, often portraying historical people, animals, and delicate botanical forms on their wings.


A photo of a paper bat

Image © Guardabosques

A Collection of Paper Sculptures Studies the Wild Diversity of 88 Different Bat Species

A project by Juan Nicolás Elizalde, who is half of the creative team behind the Buenos Aires-based studio Guardabosques, explores the incredible diversity of bats through geometric paper sculptures.


A photo of a patchwork quilt against racism

Image courtesy of SJSA

A Conversation with Social Justice Sewing Academy Explores Community Activism and the Power of Remembering Through Quilts

In a time when witnessing inequity is like digging into an already numb wound, the Social Justice Sewing Academy offers the power of touch. Program director Stephanie Valencia speaks about the work of honoring the victims of violence and their families through community art, supporting young entrepreneurs with creative or social justice-oriented businesses, and most importantly, giving people something to hold on to.


A photo of a hand holding a glass snake

Image © Ryan Eicher

Kaleidoscopic Patterns Coil Around Miniature Snakes Exquisitely Cast in Glass

Intricate linework and trippy, geometric motifs flow through the minuscule glass-blown serpents by Ryan Eicher.


A photo of a hand holding an embroidery hoop with colorful trees

Image © Sew Beautiful

Skies Peek Through Foliage in French Knots in Embroideries that Peer Up From the Forest Floor

The vibrant embroideries of Sew Beautiful capture the awe-inspiring breadth of the outdoors within a tiny wooden hoop.


A photo of a finger holding a tiny paper houseplant

Image © Raya Sader Bujana

Impossibly Small Houseplants and Basketry Crafted from Paper by Raya Sader Bujana

Barcelona-based artist Raya Sader Bujana defines her work as something between sculpture and illustration, creating impossibly tiny replicas of houseplants that rest atop a finger.


A photo of an embroidered human eye peering out from tree bark

Image © Diane Yevtukh

Vivid Compositions in Thread Enliven Hollow Spaces in Diana Yevtukh’s Striking Embroideries

Ukrainian artist Diana Yevtukh draws inspiration from her surroundings by carefully situating cornucopian floral arrangements made of thread in the hollows of trees.


A photo of mugs, cups, and vessels covered in drippy colorful glaze

Image © Brian Giniewski

Mottled, Marbled, and Speckled Glazes Ooze Over Ceramic Vessels in Thick Pastel Drips

Referencing a melty summertime ice cream cone or icing on a cake, Brian Giniewski’s Drippy Pots are covered in mottled pastels, speckles, or single colors that trickle down the exterior of mugs and cups.


A photo of a book opened to be a loom with hands on the shuttle

Image © Cai Wei Qun

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

Cai Wei Qun constructed an impressively immersive book on weaving, which opens to reveal a trove of history, techniques and tricks, and an entire loom tucked between its covers.