Whimsical Illustrations and Motifs Dyed with a Traditional Wax-Resist Method Cover Caroline Södergren’s Eggshells
Formally trained in glassblowing, Stockholm-based artist Caroline Södergren transfers her experience working with a delicate, fragile material to an ornately illustrated collection of eggshells. She adapts the traditional Ukrainian craft called pysanka, a wax-resist method that involves drawing a design on a clean, empty chicken, turkey, goose, or ostrich egg with hot beeswax. The shell is then dipped in multiple baths of dye and the seal washed away with oil to reveal the colorful, layered design—you can watch the entire process in the video below.
The technique often is combined with folk art, although Södergren illustrates her own botanical motifs, beetles, and mythical creatures that stray from traditional designs. “You have to think before you start a pattern as the different color layers must come in the right order,” she says. “If you make a mistake with the wax, it is not possible to change, and a written line is where it is. A constant challenge that makes it so fun to work with!”
Konsthantverkets Vänner, an organization dedicated to supporting Swedish arts and crafts, just awarded Södergren a scholarship for her batik designs. Browse available eggs in her shop, and find a larger collection on Instagram. (via Lustik)
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Metallic Specimens by Dr. Allan Drummond Perfectly Replicate Prehistoric and Modern Insects in Bronze and Silver
Dr. Allan Drummond works at the intersection of art, design, and science with his metallic replicas of wide-eyed spiders, ants, and other winged insects. He buoys his research in the departments of Medicine and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago into a creative practice that casts biologically realistic specimens with a focus on anatomical elements of prehistoric organisms most likely to be lost in the fossil record, including underbellies.
Each creature starts with a digital rendering created in Blender that’s 3D-printed in individual pieces—you can see examples of these initial models on Instagram. Drummond then casts the replica in bronze or silver with the help of jewelry designers in his current city of Chicago and later assembles and finishes the metallic components, which results in a meticulous copy of the actual insect whether life-sized or enlarged to magnify its features.
In a note to Colossal, he writes that the body of work shown here utilizes more advanced techniques than his previous models and came together with the help of two mentors, sculptor Jessica Joslin and the jewelry designer Heather Oleari. “Feeling the pieces for the thorn bug snap together in my hands—a total rush—was less a relief from stress and more a confirmation that, at least when it comes to building giant metal arthropods, I know what I’m doing,” he says.
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Although busy hives filled with honeybees tend to dominate mainstream imagery and conversations about bee populations, 90 percent of the insects are actually solitary creatures that prefer to live outside of a colony. This majority, which is comprised of tens of thousands of species, are also superior pollinators in comparison to their social counterparts because they’re polylectic, meaning they collect the sticky substance from multiple sources, making them even more crucial to maintaining crops and biodiversity.
“Whilst bee numbers, on the whole, are increasing, this is almost exclusively due to the increase in beekeeping, specifically honey bees,” wildlife photographer Josh Forwood tells Colossal. “Due to the artificially boosted populations in concentrated areas, honey bees are becoming too much competition for many solitary bee species. This, in turn, is driving almost a monoculture of bees in some areas, which has huge knock-on effects on the surrounding ecosystem.”
The U.K. alone boasts 250 solitary species, a few of which Forwood photographed in a series of portraits that reveal just how unique each individual is. To capture the creatures up-close, he constructed a log-and-bamboo bee hotel while bound to his home in Bristol during quarantine—Forwood frequently travels around the globe to document wildlife for clients including Netflix, Disney, BBC, National Geographic, and PBS.
After about a month, the hotel was in a buzz of activity, prompting Forwood to attach a camera to the end of the lengthy tubes and photograph the creatures as they crawled inside. The resulting portraits demonstrate just how incredibly unique each insect is with wildly differing body forms, color, eye shapes, and hair patterns. Every bee is in a nearly identical pose and its facial features dramatically framed in a ring of natural light for comparison, revealing how each insect truly has its own identity. Because the images only capture them from the front, Forwood says it’s difficult to estimate how many different species visited the structure considering most are identified by the shape and color of their bodies.
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New Articulate Cardboard Sculptures by Greg Olijnyk Populate Miniature Worlds of Fantasy and Science Fiction
An eerie pair of buildings, a jet-powered dragonfly, and a sci-fi-inspired retelling of David and Goliath complete with an oversized robot and samurai comprise the latest cardboard sculptures by Greg Olijnyk (previously). Fully articulate and outfitted with LED lights and glass where necessary, the extraordinarily detailed works are futuristic, slightly dystopic, and part of larger world-building narratives. The architectural constructions, for example, are “the start of a series of pieces exploring the fear, fascination, and curiosity aroused by the stranger in our midst. The weird presence out of place. The building of unknown purpose with no windows and with lights flickering at night,” he says. “What’s going on in there?”
Olijnyk is based in Melbourne and shares works-in-progress and more photos of the machine-like sculptures shown here on his Instagram.
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An enchanting series by Russian photographer Daniel Kordan (previously) frames a sea of flickering fireflies as they populate a dense bamboo forest. Captured in pockets and trails of light, the insects radiate across the thick vegetation on Japan’s Kyushu Island, which Kordan visited back in 2019 during their mating season.
The beetles search for partners from about May to July, with the males first producing the flashes of light and the females generating responses. Generally swarmed together, the exchanges have a twinkling effect that emits a continuous soft glow across the area. “Fireflies are very sensitive. They need clean water nearby, warm humid air (but not rain), and no lights,” Kordan says. “Not a single photo can show how beautiful it is—shimmering and blinking forest full of little stars.”
Kordan shares technical details about his equipment and timing for the magical shoot on Instagram, and if you’re interested in adding the radiant images to your collection, pick up a print in his shop. (via designboom)
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Worn copies of World Books, agricultural texts, and classic novels become canvases for Rose Sanderson’s insect studies. Now a few years old, the expansive series boasts more than 100 paintings featuring beetles, moths, and butterflies that splay across the printed material. Each specimen is enlarged to showcase the details of their bodies as they wrap around the tattered spines.
In a note to Colossal, Sanderson shares that her process is more cyclical than linear as she’s constantly resurfacing themes, materials, and methods from earlier works or those she previously set aside. While her focus currently is on abstract interpretations of the lichens found near her home in West Wales, she draws a connection between the intricacies of the organisms she paints today and the insects of her book series.
Keep an eye out for Sanderson’s work in Issue #24 of Create! Magazine that’s curated by Colossal’s Editor-in-Chief Christopher Jobson. You can follow her specimen-centric projects, which include forays into miniature and 3-D, on Instagram.
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Editor's Picks: Design
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