found objects

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Art Craft

Vintage Fabrics Encase Ceramic Shards in Zoë Hillyard's Mended Pottery

December 2, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Spring Vase” (2017), silk, linen, ceramic, and thread, 28 x 17 centimeters. All images © Zoë Hillyard, shared with permission

Birmingham, U.K.-based artist Zoë Hillyard revitalizes shattered vases and bowls by melding traditional craft techniques. She wraps a mishmash of vintage silks and fabrics around individual ceramic shards, binding the broken pieces with tightly stitched thread. Appearing glazed with antique florals and other ornate motifs, the patchwork forms contrast the original shape of the pottery with the newly mended exterior, a reconfigured finish that’s commonly disrupted by missing pieces and jagged edges.

Gathering the source materials from ceramicists’ reject piles or by receiving broken family heirlooms for commissions, Hillyard works with the initial shape and purpose in mind. She says:

Like archaeological treasures, they display imperfections in the form of holes and irregularity, and all the more interesting for them. Each piece is unique in terms of the combinations of materials used, the pattern of breakage, the impact of colour and print and aesthetic decisions made during reconstruction.

Hillyard’s body of work is replete with metaphorical and physical tension and contrast between the old and new. Although the pieces appear delicate and light like the fabrics that envelop their sides, they retain the heftiness and weight of clay and are warmer to the touch than a porcelain vessel, for example. “Most surprisingly, they often have a subtle flex, disconcerting when contrasted with traditional ‘solid’ forms of ceramic repair,” the artist shares. “I enjoy these ambiguities, with the work challenging expectations and conventional definitions.”

In addition to her practice, Hillyard teaches textile design at Birmingham City University. She currently has pieces at Contemporary Applied Arts in London and will show new works in June 2022 at The Pool House Gallery in Gloucestershire. Until then, explore more of her process and mended projects on Instagram. (via Women’s Art)

 

“Shard Vase” (2016), silk, ceramic, and thread, 35 x 25 centimeters

Detail of “Spring Vase” (2017), silk, linen, ceramic, and thread, 28 x 17 centimeters

“Gestalt Vase” (2019), silk, ceramic, and thread

“White Patch Vase” (2017), silk, ceramic, and thread, 35 x 21centimeters

“Birdseye Vase” (2016), silk, ceramic, and thread, 45 x 27 centimeters

“Katharina Klug Kimono Bowl” (2017), 14.5 x 27 centimeters

“Stormy Vase” (2017), silk, ceramic, and thread, 25 x 20 centimeters

 

 



Art

Ornate Assemblages Cast Vintage Pressed Glass as Flourishing New Scenes in Amber Cowan's Sculptures

November 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Visions of the Night Muse in Jade” (2021), 20 x 15.5 x 7.5 inches. All images by Matthew Hollerbush, © Amber Cowan, shared with permission

Philadelphia-based artist Amber Cowan (previously) molds found and flameworked glass into narrative sculptures brimming with ornate flourishes and enchanting details. Her delicate works are often monochromatic and revitalize vintage elements, including a figure from a McKee Glass Company vase in “Visions of the Night Muse in Jade,” for example, or the baubles in varying shades of purple that comprise “Hummingbirds Feast on Helio and Lavender.” The pressed glass pieces pay homage to the once-thriving industry by recasting antique scenes and motifs in new tableaus.

Diverging slightly from the precisely sculpted forms that comprise much of her work, Cowan has started to incorporate long drips into her more recent sculptures. In her vertical cornucopia and fountain pieces, leaves and other botanicals hanging over the edges of the vessels appear malleable as they splash into small, circular drops.

In January, Cowan’s solo show will open at Brunnier Art Museum at Iowa State University, and if you’re in New York City, stop by the Museum of Arts and Design in February to see some of the artist’s work as part of Craft Front & Center. Otherwise, keep up with her latest sculptures on Instagram.

 

Detail of “Visions of the Night Muse in Jade” (2021), 20 x 15.5 x 7.5 inches

“Hummingbirds Feast on Helio and Lavender” (2021), 20 x 15.5 x 7.5 inches

Left: “Cornucopia in Shell” (2021), 8 x 5.5 x 4 inches. Right: “Fountain in Rosalene” (2021), 17 x 8.5 x 8.5 inches

Detail of “Hummingbirds Feast on Helio and Lavender” (2021), 20 x 15.5 x 7.5 inches

“Autumn Fan in Mandarin and Bittersweet Orange” (2021), 17.5 x 17.5 x 8 inches

“Garden Snail with Feather and Pearls”

 

 



Craft

Vintage Objects and Driftwood Form Minimal Animal Sculptures and Quaint Seaside Scenes

November 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Kirtsy Elson, shared with permission

From hunks of driftwood and tins with chipped paint, Kirsty Elson (previously) assembles minimal sculptures of animals, homes, and methods of transportation. The Cornwall-based artist highlights the raw simplicity of her found objects and lets the materials drive the works, manipulating cragged planks or bent hooks just slightly to achieve their intended forms. Presenting her sculptures as full scenes or single creatures, Elson transforms boxes displaying vintage logos into a fleet of trucks, an oil can into a friendly cat, and rusty nails into sailboat masts. She plans to release new pieces on Etsy on November 11, and you can follow future shop updates on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Coral and Plant Life Consume Discarded Objects in Post-Apocalyptic Sculptures by Stéphanie Kilgast

September 2, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Coral Royal” (2019), epoxy clay, acrylics on tin can, 14 x 15 x 11 centimeters. All images © Stéphanie Kilgast, shared with permission

Artist Stéphanie Kilgast (previously) envisions a vibrant, post-apocalyptic world overgrown with coral, fungi, and lush moss. Using cheap devices and disposable containers that tend to outlast their original function as her base, Kilgast creates painted-clay assemblages that are teeming with fantastical colors and texture: mushrooms sprout from an empty paint tube, sea creatures envelop a crushed can, and plant life cloaks a pair of headphones with whimsical botanicals.

Each of the works contrasts the enduring manufactured object with natural growth, imagining a universe that’s simultaneously devoid of humanity and still marred by its rampant consumption habits. “In that sense my work is joyous. I remove the root of the problem, us, and let all the other species just grow over our mistakes,” she shares. “Nature itself is full of bright colors. It’s inherently beautiful, and my work is an ode to all the living and existing species, (except) for us. Hope dies last, so I still hope my work opens up discussion, thinking, and eventually change.”

Currently based in Vannes, France, Kilgast has exhibitions at Comoedia in Brest, France, Modern Eden in San Francisco, and three at Melbourne’s Beinart Gallery slated for 2022. She also shares much of her process on YouTube and Instagram.

 

“Quinacridone Magenta” (2021), cold porcelain, epoxy clay, acrylics, wire on empty paint tube, 10 x 7 x 13 centimeters

“Cyltonic” (2018), polymer clay, acrylics, wire, thrifted can of cleaning agent, 17 x 9 x 19 centimeters

Top left: “Blue Boletus” (2020), polymer clay, acrylics, wire on tin can, 25 x 14 x 10 centimeters. Top right: “Serene” (2020), epoxy clay, polymer clay, acrylics, wire on empty acrylic plastic bottle, 25 x 12 x 17 centimeters. Bottom left: “Yellow Exploration (Octopus)” (2020), epoxy clay, polymer clay, acrylics on empty acrylic plastic bottle, 32 x 16 x 15 centimeters and “Blue Bottle (Coral Reef)” (2020), epoxy clay, polymer clay, acrylics on empty acrylic plastic bottle, 35 x 15 x 11 centimeters. Bottom right: “Mojito” (2019), poxy clay, polymer clay, acrylics on tin can, 17 x 17 x 7 centimeters

“Losing My Song Culture” (2021), epoxy clay, air-dry clay, cold porcelain, paper, watercolor, acrylics, on broken headphones, 28 x 18 x 17 centimeters

Detail of “Blue Bottle (Coral Reef)” (2020), epoxy clay, polymer clay, acrylics on empty acrylic plastic bottle, 35 x 15 x 11 centimeters

“Mother (Elephants)” (2019), epoxy clay, polymer clay, acrylics, wire, thrifted plastic canteen, 17 x 14 x 26 centimeters

 

 



Art Craft

Wrinkled Drapery and Speckled Orbs Disguise the Figures of Jessica Calderwood's Peculiar Sculptures

August 24, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Digging Heels,” copper, enamel, blown glass, porcelain, glass pins, and milk paint, 4 x 6 x 12 inches. All images © Jessica Calderwood, courtesy of Momentum Gallery, shared with permission

Indiana-based artist Jessica Calderwood imbues her whimsically camouflaged figures with questions about the female psyche. Whether covered by a polka-dotted orb or stuck in a ruffled tube of fabric, her nondescript women are temporarily trapped by their environments, their only defining features the sleek black pumps or striped kneesocks that stick out from their disguise. This concealment, Calderwood says, serves as “a negation, a censoring or denial of what lies beneath. These anthropomorphic beings are at once, powerful and powerless, beautiful and absurd, inflated, and amputated.”

Deftly melding historical techniques with contemporary themes of identity, each of the works is rooted in traditional craftsmanship. A focus on mixed media is at the center of Calderwood’s broad body of work, which spans metalsmithing, jewelry, and wall-based ceramics, and many of her projects blend materials like enamel, porcelain, polymer clay, and felted wool to further evoke craft forms.

Many of the pieces shown here are all on view at Asheville’s Momentum Gallery through September 7, and you can find more of Calderwood’s peculiar sculptures on her site and Instagram.

 

“Plop,” copper, enamel, porcelain, glass micro-beads, milk paint, and gold luster, 6 x 8 x 6 inches

“Ivory Tower,” copper, brass, polymer, blown glass, vintage plastic buttons, glass pinheads, porcelain, milk paint, and enamel, 5 x 10 x 10 inches

“Stacked,” aluminum, powder coating, cast bronze, brass, blown glass, ceramic decals, porcelain, and milk paint, 15 x 6 x 6 inches

“Shortcake” (2019), copper, enamel, porcelain, rayon flocking, glass head pins, and milk paint

Left: “Succulent” (2014), slip-cast vitreous china, brass, stainless steel, polymer clay, milk paint, 5 x 4 x 4 inches. Right: “Shade” (2017), slip-cast vitreous china, felted wool, head pins, milk paint, stainless steel, and sterling silver, 6 x 4 x 4 inches

“Public and Private,” copper, electroplated enamel, porcelain, milk paint, and steel, 7 x 13 x 4 inches

“Spout,” copper, enamel, glass microbeads, porcelain, pearls, sterling silver, and milk paint, 9 x 5 x 4 inches

“Twist,” copper, enamel, glass seed beads, powder coating, porcelain, milk paint, and brass, 9 x 9 x 5 inches

 

 



Art

Unruly Metals and Barbs Repair Broken Porcelain Dinnerware by Glen Taylor

July 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Glen Taylor, shared with permission

Ohio-based artist Glen Taylor (previously) mends porcelain dinnerware with brutal bits of metal and soldering that starkly contrast their smooth, delicate counterparts. Lengths of rusted barbed wire bind two halves of a teacup, sharp spikes border a saucer painted with flowers, and mangled silverware is piled in messy assemblages reminiscent of dinner-party aftermath. In recent months, Taylor’s repaired interventions have grown in size and scope, from single-serving dishes patched with a pair of jeans to full-scale tables set for eight.

In a note to Colossal, the artist shares that he’s in the midst of preparing for an exhibition this fall, and you can keep an eye out for details about that show on Instagram.