Looping Tendrils and Supple Petals Overflow From Lina Kusaite’s Ethereal Botanical Illustrations
“I love spending hours in the art shop, feeling the surfaces of different paper and making connections with all information that I carry with me about the project,” says Lina Kusaite, whose meticulous botanical illustrations range from book pages to expansive wall murals. Mostly focusing on commissions for clients like publishers and hospitality venues, the Brussels-based artist has a knack for collaborating with other designers to determine the scale and scope of an installation or a series of drawings. “I always choose projects that speak to me (and) in one or other way resonate with my point of view, philosophy, and it challenges me,” she says.
Kusaite begins by hand-drawing on paper, focusing on the lines and textures of different materials like graphite and ink. “I choose paper and pencil or watercolors—or both—based on the research and information gathered in the beginning of the process,” she says. “I start testing different combination, colors, lines. After having enough tests on paper, I scan everything and transfer it into Photoshop, where I start playing with digital tools.” Sometimes, one initial drawing can produce hundreds of versions resulting from experiments with color and style, which often spawn new ideas and techniques for future projects.
Flora features heavily in Kusaite’s practice, forming a basis for commissions that can vary greatly. “Coffee Plant,” for example, straightforwardly depicts the life cycle of the coffee cherry, while the “Lotus Land” pieces, which accompany piano music inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale “The Marsh King’s Daughter,” required a bit more research. “I spend hours online and in the books, researching different materials that helps me to first learn about the subject, (whether) it be about just plant illustration or storytelling or both,” she says.
From handmade drawing to digital edits, Kusaite’s illustrations are often translated into other handcrafted materials like ceramic tiles or textiles, and she enjoys seeing the work return to an analog presentation. Recently, she designed an extensive wall mural for the Xitan Hotel. She says, “Most of my botanical drawings for the Xitan Hotel project started as hand-drawn, then it went through a digital process, and came out as a fully handmade, 21-meter-long lobby wall embodied into vitreous enamel, or also called porcelain enamel technique. Some works are embroidered by hand.”
Kusaite is currently preparing a large project for the Georgia World Congress Center and adjacent Signia by Hilton hotel in downtown Atlanta. She is also working on designs for the Tazama African Tarot deck and a children’s book scheduled for publication in 2025. Find more on Behance.
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Lisa Stevens’ Ceramic Sculptures Capture Coral-Inspired Motifs in Vibrant Color
Ridges, florets, and spirals comprise the vibrant terrains of Bristol-based artist Lisa Stevens’ marine-inspired ceramics. On the surface of high-fired porcelain clay, she builds vivid hues using underglazes and stoneware glazes along with melted glass to achieve jewel-like details. During the past few years, she has expanded her coral-inspired designs, incorporating a wide range of shapes and emphasizing a spectrum of bright hues. “My work has become more extreme with more fans, spikes, and branches, and now many pieces can be displayed on the wall,” she tells Colossal.
Stevens enjoys working in series, including participating in The 100 Day Project, first with a series of skull-shaped tiles sprouting coral tentacles and currently making progress on a group of teardrop-shaped pieces. Using a range of tools, she spends a lot of time experimenting and learning new ways to employ them, so no two are the same. “I stick to one basic shape but make each one completely different,” she says. “I will never find an end to the possibilities and won’t get bored of looking for something new.”
If you’re in the U.K., you can see Stevens’ pieces on display at Independent Design Collective in Bristol and Katherine Richards Art Gallery in Brighton and Hove. Find more on the artist’s website, and follow updates on Instagram.
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Delicate Knots, Velvet, and Beads Entwine in Julia Shore’s Mossy Embroideries
Dappled with French knots, glinting materials, and pieces of moss, botanical embroideries by Julia Shore replicate the forest floor’s supple textures in fiber and beads. The Los Angeles-based artist also uses hand-dyed velvet, wool, felt, and sequins to add a variety of hues ranging from emerald green to golden yellow. “I tried to capture its intricacy—all the different shades and forms of moss; its soft and calming nature,” she says.
Shore’s next series of moss pieces will be released on Etsy in February. She shares embroidery tutorials on YouTube and has kits and downloadable patterns available for purchase on her website. You can also follow more updates on Instagram.
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Art Craft Design
Danielle Clough Reimagines Sportswear and Athletic Gear in Vibrantly Expressive Embroideries
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.
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Join Us for A Colossal Workshop on Embroidered Botanical Sculptures with 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.
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Delicate Spikes and Lush Petals Bloom from Avital Avital’s Voluptuous Porcelain Vessels
The diverse world of plants and flowers is a source of fascination for ceramic artist Avital Avital, who crafts delicately detailed vessels from porcelain. In her studio in Ramat Gan, Israel, the artist sculpts slender petals, fragile spikes, and orbs dabbed with confectionary-like dots. She is interested in the relationship between functionality and decoration, drawing on the rich history of clay as a medium and mingling technical skill with conceptual ideas.
Inspired by nature’s boundless variety of forms and colors, her choice of material complements her subject matter: “I am interested in balancing between the delicacy of the porcelain and its strength and to use its potential transparency by sculpting colorful petals that are skin-like when directed to a source of light.”
You can find more of Avital’s work on Instagram.
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