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Design

Inexpensive Toys Fashioned into Unique Action Figures by Artist Tomohiro Yasui

March 8, 2020

Andrew LaSane

All images © Tomohiro Yasui

Tomohiro Yasui is best known as the creator of the paper robot wrestlers called kami-robo, but that’s not the only medium his imagination has conquered. Using wire and cheap rubber duckies, squirting frogs, and plastic hammers, the Japanese artist builds posable action figures that deserve their own Saturday morning cartoons and comic books.

Having spent the past 35 years designing paper robots and plastic toys, Yasui is an expert when it comes to humanoid anatomy in dynamic poses. Multiples of the same donor toys were used to create the chiseled physiques, which means that all of the pieces match in texture and color and did not have to be repainted. If the fantasy figures were packaged and displayed on a shelf in the toy section, no one would be able to guess that they were cut, reconfigured, and assembled by hand.

To see more of these unlikely heroes come to life, follow Yasui on Twitter.

 

 



Art

Ceramic Head Sculptures by En Iwamura Explore Philosophies of Movement and Space

December 29, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All images © En Iwamura

Japanese artist En Iwamura creates large ceramic sculptures of heads with minimalist facial features. Holes and slits reference eyes and mouths on the oddly-shaped forms, while uniform grooves traverse the clay surfaces in complex patterns. With site-responsive installations, the artist introduces viewers to the Japanese philosophy of Ma⁠—the relationship between viewers, objects, and negative space⁠—and gives them the opportunity to experience it first-hand.

Born in Kyoto to artist parents, Iwamura studied at Kanazawa College of Craft and Art where he earned MFA and BFA in Crafts/Ceramics. In 2013, he traveled to the United States to study at Clemson University and was later invited to give artist talks and lead workshops in New Hampshire and Montana. Through lectures, his artistic practice, and exhibitions with New York-based Ross + Kramer Gallery, Iwamura has explored ways of altering audience experiences while introducing them to the uniquely Japanese concept of Ma. “People constantly read and measure different Ma between themselves,” the artist said in a statement, “and finding the proper or comfortable Ma between people or places can provide a specific relationship at a given moment.”

Watch a video of Iwamura’s texturing technique here and follow the artist on Instagram to see more expressive characters in various stages of the creation process.

 

 



Craft

Clay Shapes Bound to Fabric Create Multi-Layered Embroidered Works by Justyna Wolodkiewicz

December 18, 2019

Grace Ebert

All images © Justyna Wolodkiewicz, shared with permission

Using small polymer clay shapes, Justyna Wołodkiewicz (previously) creates embroidered works that extend beyond the fabric within the hoop. The Poland-based artist molds clay into tiny colorful pieces that she punctures with holes, positions at various angles, and binds with multi-colored thread. “What you see in my embroideries is highly filtered visual and sonic information'” Wolodkiewicz tells Colossal. “It travels through my eyes, brain, and hands, landing in the physical world again, this time in the shape of my hand-stitched pieces.”

The artist’s choice of color, composition, and texture are crucial components in her “micro-worlds” because “they convey a strong emotional message innate to human beings. They suggest very complicated nets of relationships. The upward stitches symbolize the way people are bonded with all that surrounds them,” she says.

Many of Wolodkiewicz’s three-dimensional creations are available for purchase, and you can stay connected with the artist on Instagram.

 

 



Art

Human Anatomy and Oozing Black Glazes Cover Ceramics by Canopic Studio

October 13, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All images courtesy of Canopic Studio

Los Angeles-based ceramic artist Curran Wedner of Canopic Studio creates sculptures and tableware inspired by nature and the human body. Disembodied fingers, toes, and faces wrap around the outside of glazed porcelain cups and bowls to form unique and functional works of art.

After studying Illustration at ArtCenter College of Design in California, Wedner spent nine years fabricating art for other artists. He opened Canopic Studio in 2017 and decided to focus on ceramics as his full-time practice. “Clay has always been a friendly medium to me since I have worked with it my whole life,”the artist tells Colossal. Detailing his process, Wedner says that each sculpture begins with throwing and trimming on a wheel. He then makes castings and applies them to the leather-hard clay before bisque firing the work. Each sculpture is then glazed and fired a second time. “From start to finish this process takes weeks,” the artist says. “Each individual piece has at least a dozen hours in it before it’s up for sale.”

Wedner credits his drawing and painting experience for informing his sculptural compositions and his focus on human anatomy. He also cites life cycles in nature and ancient history as influences, namely the bog bodies of northwest Europe and Bell-Beaker culture.

Wedner’s unusual creations will be exhibited for the first time as a part of the upcoming Blood & Fire II show at The Raven & The Wolves gallery in Long Beach, CA. Those hoping to take home one of the pieces should check out the Canopic Studio Etsy shop and fans of ceramics can follow @canopicstudio on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Banal Moments Contorted into Surreal Stoneware Sculptures by Genesis Belanger

August 5, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Genesis Belanger twists and stretches familiar objects into surreal scenarios with her stoneware, porcelain, and concrete sculptures. The Brooklyn-based artist frequently depicts detached limbs, misplaced teeth, and unusually located food in her work. One sculpture shows a mustard-topped hot dog disappearing into a handbag with a mouth-like zipper; another series dispenses rocks from dysfunctional quarter candy machines. This spring, a stoneware desk topped with flaccid pens, a tape-like tongue dispenser, and a drawer full of coping mechanisms was on view in the New Museum’s store window gallery. Belanger earned an MFA at Hunter College and a BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Explore more of her unusual sculptures on her website and Instagram.

 

 



Art

Dream Worlds Imagined in Contorted Clay Portraits by Johnson Tsang

February 5, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Remembrance”

Johnson Tsang (previously) continues to create spectacularly emotive ceramic sculptures of the human face. The Hong Kong-based artist’s latest series, Lucid Dream II, features surreal contortions that squish, wring, melt, and stretch. Titles like “Remembrance,” “Extrication,” and “Unveiled” suggest an exploration of the liminal space between the conscious and subconscious, in addition to the self and other. Tsang uses plain, unglazed clay, eschewing typical lifelike details such as color, hair, and apparel, to focus the viewer’s attention on the universally-relatable expressions of each of his imagined subjects. You can see more of the sculptor’s completed and in-progress work on Instagram and Facebook.

“Here and There”

“Here and There” detail

“Work in Progress”

“Under the Skin”

“Love in Progress”

“Falling in Love”

“Unveiled”

“Lawful Custody”

“Extrication”

 

 



Animation

Wide-Mouthed Heads Consume and Absorb a Range of Mutable Forms in the Short Film “Distortion”

February 4, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Swedish animator and sculptor Alexander Unger (previously here and here) creates stop motion animations and tutorials on his Youtube channel titled Guldies. His most recent claymation, Distortion, follows the transformation of eight dice-sized blue cubes into a series of limbs, puddles, and wide-mouthed heads that consume and absorb the previous clay form in rapid succession. Although captivating to watch, the sound effects add another dimension to the short film. Each metallic ting or watery bloop tricks the eye into believing the clay is harder or softer than it appears on screen. Watch out for a twist ending that ties the whole piece together as a beautiful looping narrative. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

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