nature

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Art Craft

Vivid Hues and Intricate Embroidery Bring Yumi Okita’s Remarkably Tactile Moths to Life

November 30, 2022

Kate Mothes

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

All images © Yumi Okita

In vividly colored thread and textiles, Yumi Okita imbues remarkably tactile moths and butterflies with lifelike features. The North Carolina-based artist designs each specimen to perch on its own delicate wire legs, and some of the larger creatures boast wing spans nearly 10 inches wide. Long fascinated by the natural world, she portrays the insects’ intricate detail, innate fragility, and sublime patterns in embroidery thread, faux fur, feathers, and layers of dyed fabric.

Okita often sells her sculptures in her Etsy shop and is currently exploring the theme of nature further in a series of botanical designs, which she has begun sharing on Instagram.

 

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth held in a hand.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

 

 

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Photography

Vital Impacts Launches a Winter Print Sale with Photos from Jane Goodall, David Doubilet, and Beth Moon to Raise Money for Conservation

November 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a fox

Konsta Punkka, “Intensity.” All images © the artists, courtesy of Vital Impacts, shared with permission

Within its first year, the woman-led nonprofit Vital Impacts raised $1,500,000 for conservation and humanitarian efforts through print sales from dozens of lauded photographers. The organization, which is led by Ami Vitale and Eileen Mignoni, just announced its latest initiative that features 145 stunning images and composites capturing the stunning breadth of the natural world. Included in this collection are hand-signed portraits from Jane Goodall and works from multiple artists previously featured on Colossal, including the dramatic and intimate glimpses of foxes captured by Konsta Punkka, David Doubilet’s underwater vistas, Beth Moon’s famous documentation of ancient Baobab trees, and Mitch Dobrowner’s sinister storms.

Sixty percent of the proceeds will be donated to Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots and Shoots and Vital Impacts’ own grants and initiatives. Shop the collection on the Vital Impacts site.

 

A composite photo of gorillas in the wild

Jim Naughten, “Gorillas”

A black and white photo of lions

Anup Shah, “Morani and Friend”

A photo of chimpanzees and two people

Vanne Goodall, “Jane and Hugo with the F-Family of Chimpanzees”

A photo of a baby owl

Javier Aznar, “Athene Noctua”

A photo of lighting striking above water occupied by cranes

Randy Olson, “Sandhill Crane Migration”

An underwater photo of a whale tail

Shawn Heinrichs, “Whale Tail”

A photo of a snow covered landscape

Francisco Javier Munuera Gonzalez, “Mount Adi”

 

 



Art Craft

Metal Sculptor Shota Suzuki Crafts Exquisitely Detailed Blooms That Express the Passing of Time

November 25, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Shota Suzuki, shared with permission

Tender stems bear lush blooms and windswept leaves gather around new growth in artist Shota Suzuki’s delicate metal sculptures. Rendered in painstaking detail, the forms are inspired by flora around his home and studio in Kyoto, such as Japanese maple trees and dandelions that have gone to seed. “Recently, I have been adding rain and wind to my work,” he tells Colossal, sharing that he’s inspired by the way nature demonstrates the passing of time. He adds silvery water droplets to ginkgo leaves, ruffles the petals of flowers, or portrays a branch of cherry blossoms as if it has blown from a tree.

An early interest in jewelry led Suzuki to study metalworking, and the exquisite detail of florals and foliage suited his ability to work on a small scale. A wide range of patinas create a life-like appearance, achieved by combining an array of chemicals that produce specific hues and textures, including traditional Japanese copper coloration methods such as niiro. “I don’t want to create works in which time stands still,” he says. “I want to express a moment in time.”

Suzuki’s work is included in Natural Mastery: Lacquer and Silver Works from Japan at Stuart Lochhead Sculpture in London from December 1 to 9. You can find more work on his website and Instagram.

 

A realistic sculpture of a tree sapling growing from dead leaves, made from metal.

 A realistic sculpture of flowers made from metal, photographed on a table.

A realistic sculpture of flowers made from metal.

A realistic sculpture of ginkgo leaves made from metal.

A realistic sculpture of a stem of cherry blossoms made from metal.

A realistic sculpture of dried leaves made from metal.

A realistic sculpture of gold ginkgo leaves with silver droplets, made from metal.

 

 



Art

Harmonious Drawings and Sculptural Renderings by Louise Despont Conjure Balance in Nature

November 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Taraxacum,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches. All images courtesy of Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, NYC, and Galerie Isa, Mumbai, shared with permission

Balance, symmetry, and the geometries of proportion create a distinct visual lexicon for Louise Despont. Working in graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger paper, the French American artist practices an alchemy of pattern and color, fusing the two into intricate, contemplative renderings that evoke natural elements. “I think my work has always attempted to bridge the worlds of plant wisdom and healing with a language of architecture,” Despont tells Colossal. “I’m interested in drawing the invisible, in attempting to represent the unseen but nonetheless powerful forces and systems that surround and inhabit us. I’m interested in art-making as a co-creative experience, a bit like gardening. I plant the seeds and tend to the work, but what grows comes from its own source.”

Inspired by the homeopathy and alternative medicine practiced by the artist’s mother, Despont’s works often hearken back to botanical forms as she renders petals and writhing stems in pastel hues. Her sculptural drawings utilize bamboo and string to perfectly mirror the sweeping lines and circular shapes on each side of a three-dimensional form, and this desire for engineered precision is a nod to her grandfather, father, and partner who all have backgrounds in architecture. Whether on paper or dyed fabric, her works illuminate nature’s organic harmonies and are tinged with a reverence for its more mystical properties, focusing on the energies and expressions of the world around us.

Before moving to her current home in Mallorca, Despont was featured in three Art21 films in New York and Bali that offer insight into her earlier practice. The artist’s drawings will be on view at Art Basel in Miami this December with Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, and she is currently working on a book slated for release next year. For glimpses into her studio and process, head to Instagram.

 

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Mercurius,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A detail of a colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

Detail of “Mercurius,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Aconite,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A photo of a bamboo sculptural drawings on pink cotton

“Ignatia,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Vital Force IV,” graphite, colored pencil, and pure gold leaf on antique ledger book page, 18 3/4 x 23 1/2 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Arsenicum Album Constitution,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 56 1/4 x 48 inches

Four photos of bamboo sculptural drawings on dark dyed cotton

Top left: “Arsenicum,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches. Top right: “Veratrum Album,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches. Bottom left: “Silicia,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 73 x 59 inches. Bottom right: “Conium,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Calc Fluor,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 53 x 67 1/4 inches

A detail of a colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

Detail of “Taraxacum,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

 

 



Art Craft

Delicate Spikes and Lush Petals Bloom from Avital Avital’s Voluptuous Porcelain Vessels

November 15, 2022

Kate Mothes

Botanic-inspired porcelain vessels by Avital Avital.

All images © Avital Avital, shared with permission

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.

 

A botanic-inspired porcelain sculpture by Avital Avital.

A botanic-inspired porcelain sculpture by Avital Avital.

A botanic-inspired porcelain sculpture by Avital Avital.

A botanic-inspired porcelain sculpture by Avital Avital.

A botanic-inspired porcelain sculpture by Avital Avital.

Botanic-inspired porcelain sculptures by Avital Avital.

A botanic-inspired porcelain sculpture by Avital Avital.

 

 

 



Art Design

In a Remote Swedish Forest, A Nest of Branches and Hay Encircles a Tree with a Cozy Hideout

November 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a branch structure around a tree

“Season II.” All images © Ulf Mejergren and Antti Laitinen, shared with permission

In April of this year, Swedish architect and artist Ulf Mejergren and Finnish artist Antti Laitinen gathered fallen branches from a forested area outside of Nykvarn, a small city southwest of Stockholm. The duo used those wooden scraps to weave a structure around a tree, building a cozy refuge among the thawing spring landscape.

That construction was the first part of an ongoing project titled One Tree Four Seasons, in which the artists gather natural materials from the surrounding area to create site-specific land art. Summer saw the inclusion of hay from a nearby field that insulated the walls and floor and created seating inside the enclosure, while the lush treetop served as roofing. In fall, those same leaves wrapped the facade in an upward swell and piled into a colorful path that led into the structure’s round opening.

Mejergren tells Colossal that the fourth and final iteration is slated for completion in December, although that, of course, depends on the weather. Keep an eye on his and Laitinen’s Instagrams for updates. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

A photo of people inside hay walls with a tree at the center

“Season II”

A photo looking upward at the tree's canopy

“Season II”

A photo of a branch structure around a tree with leaves pouring from the opening

“Season III”

A photo of a branch structure around a tree

“Season I”

A photo of a child approaching a branch structure around a tree

“Season I”

A photo of leavings pouring form a branch structure around a tree

“Season III”

 

 

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Artist Cat Enamel Pins