Whether standing a few inches tall or reaching more than a foot, the metallic vessels that Sally Blake weaves are all inspired by a single, skeletonized seedpod the Canberra-based artist found herself in possession of. “It was given to me by someone who understood my grief after my mother died, and it represented much of what I was feeling and experiencing,” she says. “It was vulnerable and yet resilient, and gently held its seed—the source of potential new life and inspiration.”
That original pod has since spurred dozens of baskets in varying sizes that Blake molds from lengths of copper wire. She manipulates the pliable material with tight coils and twists that rely on pattern and sinuous lines, creating organic forms evocative of seeds, sea creatures, lungs, and other natural shapes. The metal’s durability juxtaposes with the ephemeral, delicate subject matter, a contrast the artist draws as a way to speak to life’s cycles.
Blake’s works are on view through September 11 at Craft ACT in Canberra for her solo show titled Place Markers. Find baskets, pen-and-ink vessel drawings, and printed cards in her shop, and keep up with her multi-media practice on Instagram.
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From a single dandelion or bindweed, Suzie Grieve weaves minuscule baskets, pouches, and other wearables that are smaller than the tip of her finger. The braided vessels are the result of a lengthy, holistic process that extends from foraging the wild fibers to twisting the processed cords into durable little containers. Whether striped, checkered, or coiled in rows, each basket is a testament to Grieve’s patience and ability to adapt a traditional craft into an unusually tiny form.
Attuned to the natural rhythms of the region, Grieve harvests materials from the woodlands and fields near her home in the Lake District, U.K., with a focus on the weeds and invasive species that are often regarded as nuisances. “One of the things I enjoy most about working with wild foraged materials is the awareness it gives you of the seasons and cycles of the plants and the land,” she says. “In spring, I gather willow bark and dandelions, in summer nettles and brambles. Autumn is a mad rush of harvesting long leafy things, and in the winter, I spend what little sunlight there is foraging vines such as honeysuckle and ivy.”
The plants undergo a painstaking process that involves splitting the stalk, peeling out the soft and spongy pith, drying the remaining fibers, and later rehydrating the strands, a method Grieve developed while working in central France where she was tasked with lining vegetable garden with hazel. “I felt an immediate connection to the craft, the simple meditative rhythm of the weaving, the beautiful tactile way in which it allows you to connect with the land, and the feeling of self-reliance,” she says. Today, her focus is on the most abundant and hearty species, which she twists into long cords to create wide, sloping bowls, handled baskets, or pouches just big enough to fit a pebble.
In addition to creating more goods to sell in her shop, Grieve is currently working on a book detailing her techniques. She also has an extensive archive of tutorials for processing the natural fibers on her site and Instagram, where you can see more of the miniatures, too. (via Lustik)
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A new, woven structure in the Jardins de l’Europe in Annecy, France, offers respite from direct sunlight without completely blocking out the light source. “The Wicker Pavilion” is comprised of pine planks that are formed into a shell, which is covered with 262 wicker baskets that are hand-woven by Latvian craftsmen. When the sun hits the structure, it casts intricate triangular patterns on the grass inside and nearby, allowing it to merge with the rest of the garden rather than blanket it in a shadow. As the pavilion ages, the natural materials will darken and further blend with the surrounding environment.
Designed by Didzis Jaunzems Architecture, the project is part of this year’s Annecy Passages festival. Check out this video that dives into how the structure was made, and follow the Latvian firm’s projects on Twitter. (via ArchDaily)
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Barcelona-based artist Raya Sader Bujana (previously) painstakingly cuts and scores tiny paper monsteras, ficuses, and philodendron that stand just a few inches tall. The life-like plants feature wrapped brown stalks and green leaves that are no bigger than a finger. Often sitting in miraculous hand-woven baskets, each plant takes between five and six weeks to complete. The artist tells Colossal that each project starts with a vague idea and evolves along the way. “I like applying techniques from other artistic disciplines or crafts, such as weaving or basketry and translating them to paper,” Bujana writes. These pieces are part of Tiny Big Paper House Plants, a series she began in 2017. Many of Bujana’s miniature creations can be found on Instagram and are available for purchase on Etsy.
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Spanish designer Alvaro Catalán de Ocón started the PET Lamp Project in 2011, collaborating with communities from all over the globe to transform plastic waste into unique and functional works. Over the past five years Catalán de Ocón has worked with artisans in Colombia, Chile, Japan, and Ethiopia to produce the collaborative lamps, most recently working with eight Yolngu weavers from Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory.
The collaboration was prompted by the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial who commissioned the designer to create woven lamps that express the craft traditions and visual languages of weavers from the Australian community. Catalán de Ocón worked with Lynette Birriran, Mary Dhapalany, Judith Djelirr, Joy Gaymula, Melinda Gedjen, Cecile Mopbarrmbrr, and Evonne Munuyngu from the Bula’Bula Arts Centre in Ramingining to produce a series of circular ceiling-mounted lamps. The works combine PET plastic bottles with naturally dyed pandanus fibers, and are inspired by patterns seen in traditional Yolngu mats.
A work from the project, PET Lamp Ramingining: Bukmukgu Guyananhawuy (Every family thinking forward), is currently on view as a part of the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial through April 15, 2018. You can see more of Catalán de Ocón’s past collaborations with artisan weavers on his website. (via Yellowtrace)
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Nathalie Miebach‘s colorful sculptures look like children’s toys gone awry, as if the designer included far too many twists and turns for a child to possibly follow. It would make sense that these twisted routes would throw one off course, as they are modeled from scientific data pulled from wind patterns, often from storms, gales or blizzards. Miebach translates this quantified data into physical forms that mimic the twirling motions of the invisible weather they aim to imitate.
“The method that I use is basket weaving because basket weaving is a very simple three dimensional grid that I can use to translate data with,” said Miebach. “Everything in the sculpture, whether it is a colorful bead, a string, whether it’s a dowel or reed, represents a different data point. Nothing is put on there for purely aesthetic reasons.”
The Boston artist discovered this process while simultaneously taking an astronomy class at Harvard and learning basket weaving as an extracurricular activity. She yearned for a way to physically display the data she was learning about in class, and thus her 3D scientific models were born. In a field where one is not able to see the data they collect, her sculptures give a form to that which was previously only able to be felt, tasted, and smelled.
Not only do her pieces serve as aesthetic objects, but readable sources of concrete data. “It is important for me that these pieces are actually very accurate because I want them to live in the science world as much as in the sculpture or craft world,” said Miebach. “I still want you to be able to read the weather off of these sculptures.”
You can learn more about Miebach’s process while taking a peak inside her studio in the video from Great Big Story below:
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