beads

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Craft

Anatomical Embroideries Use Precise Stitches and Beads to Portray Muscles, Organs, and Bodily Systems

August 2, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Ambroidering

A single skeletal muscle contains hundreds of thousands of individual fibers stretched in long rows, an anatomical fact that the textile artist behind Ambroidering recreates in an unusually fitting manner. Based in Shropshire, England, the artist stitches precise embroideries of the human body, defining circular systems with sinuous threads, conveying the distinct layers of skin with sparkling beads, and translating the brain’s spongy matter into thick, puffy pockets. You can find many of the biologically focused pieces shown here on Etsy, and for similarly scientific works, check out Amber Griffith’s punch-needle pieces and Emmi Khan’s bodily systems. (via So Super Awesome)

 

 

 



Art

A Monumental Bas-Relief Sculpture by Nick Cave Connects Senegalese and U.S. Cultures in a Web of Beadwork

March 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Nick Cave, by Michael JN Bowles, shared with permission

Innumerable pony beads, pipe cleaners, sequins, and objects gathered from two continents overlay a web of rainbow mesh that’s suspended in the U.S. Embassy atrium in Dakar. Installed in 2012, the expansive work by Chicago-based artist Nick Cave (previously) is composed of amorphous swells and circular patches of multicolor netting that stretch 20 x 25 feet. Physically connecting pieces of both U.S. and Senegalese culture, the webbed, bas-relief sculpture symbolically stands as “a unifier that brings people together,” Cave says in an interview.

Virginia Shore and Robert Soppelsa curated the project for Art in Embassies, a program led by the U.S. Department of State that fosters cross-cultural exchange through visual arts and spans more than 200 venues in 189 countries. “When you think about Art in Embassies and cultural diplomacy, what is interesting for me, as an artist, is, how can I facilitate that within the work that is developed? Yes, I will create the piece for the embassy, but I was also interested in ways to integrate the artists that live and work here,” he says.

Cave developed the structural portion of the work in his Chicago studio, and after meeting Sengalese artists, scholars, and students, he utilized pieces from three locals—Seni M’Baye, Loman Pawlitschek, and Daouda N’Diaye—once on site. The resulting installation, which weighs nearly 500 pounds, took Cave and ten assistants more than three months to complete.

Watch the interview below for more on the process behind the monumental project, and follow Cave’s work on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Arresting Sculptural Reliefs by Artist Anne Samat Layer Everyday Objects with Meticulously Woven Threads

November 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Follow Your Heart Wholeheartedly” (2020), rattan sticks, yarn, rakes, washers, plastic swords, toy soldiers, beads, metal and plastic ornaments, 131.5 x 141.75 x 11.75 inches. Installation view of Asia Society Triennial: “We Do Not Dream Alone” at Asia Society Museum, New York. Photograph by Bruce M. White. All images courtesy of Asia Society, shared with permission

In her fiber-based reliefs, Malaysian artist Anne Samat disrupts classic woven patterns with unusual objects: toy soldiers, rakes, and plastic swords are intertwined in the multi-color threads that fan outward and billow down onto the floor. Comprised of a trio of wall hangings and a free-standing sculpture, “Follow Your Heart Wholeheartedly” meticulously juxtaposes beadwork and traditional South Asian weaving techniques with common items, a project that questions the boundaries of craft and art.

Each section is incredibly complex and infused with references to Samat’s family, identity, and experiences with loss. The largest work, for example, features five sections, with the innermost piece paying homage to her late brother who recently died after a long illness. Flanking the central portion are two stately pillars with pink and blue details that represent her mother and father. The outermost layers that sprawl from floor to ceiling evoke the artist herself and her sister, who are the only two living members of her family. Even the title is derived from advice Samat received from her father before he died.

“Follow Your Heart Wholeheartedly” is on view through February 7, 2021, as part of the Asia Society Triennial.

 

“Follow Your Heart Wholeheartedly” (2020), rattan sticks, yarn, rakes, washers, plastic swords, toy soldiers, beads, metal and plastic ornaments, 98 x 48 x 7 inches

“Follow Your Heart Wholeheartedly” (2020), rattan sticks, yarn, rakes, washers, plastic swords, toy soldiers, beads, metal and plastic ornaments, 131.5 x 141.75 x 11.75 inches.

“Follow Your Heart Wholeheartedly” (2020), rattan sticks, yarn, rakes, washers, plastic swords, toy soldiers, beads, metal and plastic ornaments, 98 x 48 x 7 inches

“Follow Your Heart Wholeheartedly” (2020), rattan sticks, yarn, rakes, washers, plastic swords, toy soldiers, beads, metal and plastic ornaments, 98 x 48 x 7 inches (left) and 131.5 x 141.75 x 11.75 inches (center)

“Follow Your Heart Wholeheartedly” (2020), rattan sticks, yarn, rakes, washers, plastic swords, toy soldiers, beads, metal and plastic ornaments, 131.5 x 141.75 x 11.75 inches

“Follow Your Heart Wholeheartedly” (2020), rattan sticks, yarn, rakes, washers, plastic swords, toy soldiers, beads, metal and plastic ornaments, 131.5 x 141.75 x 11.75 inches (center) and 105 x 48 x 7 inches (right)

 

 



Craft

Precise Images of Human Anatomy Deftly Rendered in Punch Needle by Amber Griffiths

April 27, 2020

Vanessa Ruiz

All images © Amber Griffiths

UK-based embroidery artist Amber Griffiths is riding a wave of anatomical inspiration in her latest designs. Typically inspired by nature, Griffiths tells Colossal that her series kicked off when looking to put a non-traditional spin on the iconic Valentine’s Day heart. “I’m not particularly someone who’s into all the mushy classic love hearts, so I thought the anatomical route would be much more interesting,” Griffiths says. That set off an obsessive exploration of human anatomy through her primary embroidery technique—the punch needle. This method pushes yarn or thread through the fabric while staying on one side, in comparison to normal stitching during which the needle moves in and out of the fibers.

Griffiths finds the ways the organic shapes, layers, and textures fit together endlessly fascinating. While anatomy is an enjoyable yet challenging subject to dive into, she also finds it educational. She spends time researching the particular organ or system, finding at least 20 to 30 reference images before starting. The embroidery artist embellishes her anatomical pieces with various beads and even mimics a fused spine using real metal screws.

Although she learned how to sew at a young age, Griffiths took up embroidery as a way to relax while on holiday break during her final year at university and hasn’t put down the punch needle since. She’s also become a resource for those wanting to try the difficult punch needling technique and shares her process on YouTube.

View Griffiths evolving anatomical series, as well as her nature-inspired stitches, on Instagram. You can buy her one-of-a-kind pieces on Etsy.

 

 



Craft

Florals, Beads, and Lace Embellish Whimsical Faux Taxidermy and Anatomical Sculptures

April 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Natalia Lubieniecka, shared with permission

Based in Austria, Natalia Lubieniecka scours Vienna’s markets for antique objects, fabrics, and anatomical posters that eventually inform and meld into her peculiar sculptures. Whether it be a blush-colored heart enveloped in florals, a supine frog with exposed entrails, or a deceased bird covered in a lace bodice, her fantastical works speak to the fragile relationship between life and death.

The sculptor tells Colossal that her interest in organs and bodies began after a visit to Naturhistorische Museum Wien, where she encountered taxidermy of birds, insects, and other animals. Her favorite piece, though, is her faux anatomical heart because it pushed her to expand her source material. “I think that human and animal anatomy has something magical about it. Each organ is responsible not only for the functioning of the body, but also for feelings, thoughts, and emotions, and these transport us to another magical dimension,” she said.

Lubieniecka often posts her available pieces on Instagram, but be sure to check out her Etsy shop, too.

 

 



Art Craft

Innumerable Hand-Stitched Beads Form Narrative Vodou Flags by Myrlande Constant

November 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Beadwork artist Myrlande Constant has spent nearly three decades honing the craft of her intricate flag tableaux. Often spanning six or seven feet, the large-scale flags feature religious, historical, and mythological scenes, surrounded by a beaded “frame” of abstract patterns or symbolic objects. Constant hails from from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she continues to live and work. The artist learned the art form her mother, who was a factory worker at a local wedding dress manufacturer that created beaded garments. Apparently, several other women who were employed at the factory also created artwork in the Vodou flag tradition outside of work hours.

Constant was recently commissioned to create a new work, one of her largest to date, for Faena Hotel in Miami, Florida. It will be displayed, along with several of her other flags, during Faena Festival, a free series of events and installation running December 2 – 8, 2019, alongside Miami Art Week. Learn more about Constant’s work in a Huffington Post article by Wesleyan University.

The artist with one of her flags