Miniature Figures Carved in Wood Cradle Colorful Silk Lace in Ágnes Herczeg’s Tender Sculptures
Delicate silk threads laced around tiny wooden armatures compose intricate scenes in Ágnes Herczeg’s sculptures. Using branches from fruit trees like wild cherry or pear or foraged driftwood from the banks of the Danube River near where she lives, the Hungary-based artist (previously) meticulously carves the gentle curves of figures, animals, and domestic objects to tell stories about home, traditions, and daily life.
Throughout the past year, Herczeg has focused on woodcarving, enjoying the process as she learns along the way. “I really tried to make as thin and intricate pieces as I can by hand… I really love this process,” she says, sharing that the details provide “even more opportunities to show new stories and compositions.”
Find more on Herczeg’s website, where she also regularly updates her shop with available pieces, and you can follow her work on Instagram.
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Delicate Lace Patterns Overlay Facades in Ornate Large-Scale Murals by NeSpoon
Polish artist NeSpoon (previously) continues to add to her expansive collection of murals that merge local craft traditions and street art. Having traveled around Europe in recent months, she’s completed pieces in France, Spain, and Italy, to name a few, and each oversized motif recreates a lace pattern sourced from a museum or resident at a massive scale. The resulting works, which are spray-painted in white, are intricate studies of the region’s florals, ornamental styles, and tatting methods and how they differ throughout cultures and eras.
NeSpoon, who is based in Warsaw, generously shares in-progress and production photos on her site, and you can follow her latest pieces on Instagram.
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Daily Activities Are Interwoven into Rural Landscapes in Ágnes Herczeg’s Lace Sculptures
Strands of silk thread are delicately intertwined to create inviting pastoral scenes in miniature needlework sculptures by Ágnes Herczeg (previously). The Hungarian artist has recently begun to incorporate found driftwood into her pieces, foraged from the shores of the nearby Danube River where floodplain trees dot the riverside. Drawing inspiration from her surroundings, Herczeg’s subjects include animals, trees, landscapes, and women performing tasks like pouring tea, weaving, or taking a walk.
Fascinated by natural materials and the process of embroidery, Herczeg carefully shapes the outline of each scene with metal wire, then builds up tiny webs of fiber using a needle lace technique. Once she has carved the wood and the mesh is complete, each is colored in earthy blues, greens, and browns and bound together with thread.
You can find more of Herczeg’s work on her website, and follow updates on Instagram. Pieces available for purchase can also be found in her online shop.
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Skeletal Lace Patterns Define the Copper Wire Vessels of Artist Suzanne Shafer-Wilson
At once malleable in material and secure in shape, the vessels that comprise Suzanne Shafer-Wilson’s body of work are intricate studies of texture, pattern, and space. The Illinois-based artist loops and twists lengths of wire into intricate baskets that range in size from 20 inches tall to the width of a fingertip. Using a technique similar to the one employed by sculptor Ruth Asawa to create her rounded, metallic forms, Shafer-Wilson works with an Italian needle lace method designed for fibers like wool and silk. She intertwines brass, copper, or sterling silver in place of textiles and fashions porous vessels with wide, gaping bodies and elaborately constructed outer walls.
If you’re in Chicago, you can see some of Shafer-Wilson’s sculptures at Vale Craft Gallery. Otherwise, head to her site to explore an archive of her works.
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Inscribed Lace Patterns Defy Expectations in Cal Lane’s Plasma-Cut Steel Tools and Industrial Objects
Using car hoods, shovels, and oil drums as her base, Canadian artist Cal Lane cuts generic lace motifs found on the shelves of mass-market retailers. Her quotidian designs adorn tools and commodities typically associated with masculinity, warping both assumptions about gender and the limits of construction and craft. “I am more interested in the dialog between the object and the image, not so much the lace pattern specifically. I didn’t want the work to necessarily be decorative but to be about decoration and the relationship we have with it,” she shares.
A former welder, Lane is broadly interested in the possibilities of materials, and it’s “the industrial, man-made structure, masculine, modernist quality of steel that I am attracted to. I see steel as a metaphor for confrontation, a thing that represents the walls put up by the society I was born into,” she shares. Her body of work, which includes a series of Industrial Doilies, is steeped in contradiction and an ability to defy expectations, which manifest as delicate filigree inscribed in sturdy hunks of metal. “Steel feels like the perfect material to carve into to create the contrasts and conflicts that I myself struggle with,” the artist says.
Many of the plasma-cut sculptures shown here are part of In Her Space, which is on view through March 3 at C24 Gallery in New York. The exhibition includes some of Lane’s more recent pieces, including the collection of shovels and “Astute Class.” A miniature marine vessel, the submarine features a pattern Lane designed that’s comprised of thale cress flowers, a species that “had been bioengineered by Canada and The Netherlands as a bomb-sniffing flower…the flowers grow, but if there is a landmine beneath, the color of the flower changes,” she says. “I thought it was so beautiful, brilliant, and poetic.”
In addition to In Her Space, Lane will show a new series of paintings on queen mattresses this fall at Art Mûr in Montreal. Until then, head to Instagram to see more of her process.
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Ornate Murals by Nespoon Cloak Blank Facades in Traditional Lace Patterns
Every inch of Nespoon’s elaborately designed murals is rooted in local history. Prior to sketching one of her large-scale lace patterns on a residential building or commercial facade, the Warsaw-based artist (previously) visits museums and meets with residents to learn more about the region’s culture and its ties to fiber arts. “I respect and commemorate the emotional bound between individual patterns and particular cities or even particular groups of lacemakers. If there is no tradition of lace making in the area where I work, I ask for laces in the homes of elderly people living nearby,” she tells Colossal. “I always find something.”
The resulting murals envelop concrete and brick structures in intricate webbing embellished with oversized florals or fringed edges. Often splaying across multiple levels and wrapping around corners, the massive works showcase the intricacies of the craft and bring the adornment traditionally associated with domestic life out into a public space.
Because women produced almost all of the decorative textiles for centuries, their stories remain at the forefront of Nespoon’s body of work, which ranges from stenciled graffiti pieces to smaller ceramic installations imprinted with patterns. Still today, lace museums and makers tend to be women, the artist says, veiling each of her site-specific projects within a broader, global context of feminine art, craft, and tradition.
While many of her projects are celebratory and honor the local customs that manifest in the lace pieces, others, like humble motif painted in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, necessarily confront a community’s struggles. “For the first time in my life, my wall had such clear traces of war, dozens of bullet holes all over the facade,” Nespoon writes, explaining further:
While working, I thought about the fate of women who are victims of wars all over the world. Here, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, it had an extraordinary dimension. Institutionalized sexual violence and mass rape were a cruel instrument of terror used in this conflict, in front of the whole world. I wanted to not think about it, but I did. The bullet holes became part of my mural.
Next week, Nespoon will be installing a lace web at the Triennale di Maroggia in Switzerland. She’s also preparing for a solo exhibition next May in Brescia, Italy, and working on a book compiling her works from the last 12 years, many of which you can find on Behance and Instagram.
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