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Art Craft

Six Years In the Making, the Elaborate ‘Grand Jardin’ by Lisa Nilsson Pushes the Boundaries of Paper

May 16, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Grand Jardin” detail (2016-2022). Image © Lisa Nilsson. All images courtesy of the artist, shared with permission

Lisa Nilsson (previously) has spent years perfecting a technique known as quilling in which thin strips of paper are rolled into coils and then pinched and nudged into shape in a process she likens to completing a puzzle. With a history thought to extend back to Ancient Egypt, the practice rose to more recent popularity in 18th century Europe. Narrow edges of gilt book pages were a popular material, creating metallic surfaces when rolled into place. In her most recent work, “Grand Jardin,” Nilsson has expanded upon this traditional method by building up more dense applications of the medium and assembling on a much bigger scale. Combining shimmering gold pieces with vivid hues of Japanese mulberry paper across the surface, the ubiquitous material transforms into a remarkable topography.

Taking several years to complete, she paid painstaking attention to the complexities and details of the design, balancing intricate organic shapes with precise geometric patterns, all while preserving the composition’s overall symmetry. “The phases of my creative process—as it progressed from the initial spark of inspiration to settling in to work, to decision-making and problem solving, to finding flow, losing flow and finding it again, to commitment and renewal of commitment—were repeated many times over the six years and within the context of widely varying moods,” she tells Colossal.

Brimming with floral motifs and butterflies and contained within an ornate border, the lush details of “Grand Jardin” emerge in the textures of each group of coils and in the intricate shapes of the flowers and foliage. Inspired by the patterns and process of making Persian rugs, Nilsson sees parallels between weaving and quilling, and is amused by the nature of improvisation in a process that is so slow-moving and meticulous. “Having a working relationship with one piece for such a long period of time brought novel thoughts and emotions and required new things of me as an artist and as a person,” she says.

You can find more information on Nilsson’s website.

 

“Grand Jardin” (2016-2022), quilled Japanese mulberry paper and gilt-edged paper, 38″ x 50″ x 1/4″. Image © Matthew Hamilton

Image © Lisa Nilsson

Image © Lisa Nilsson

Image © Lisa Nilsson

Image © Matthew Hamilton

Image © Matthew Hamilton

 

 



Craft Illustration

Impossibly Small Houseplants and Basketry Crafted from Paper by Raya Sader Bujana

April 25, 2022

Christopher Jobson

All images © Raya Sader Bujana. Photography by Leo García Méndez, shared with permission

Barcelona-based artist Raya Sader Bujana (previously) defines her work as something between sculpture and illustration, creating impossibly tiny replicas of houseplants that rest atop a finger. From leaves to blooms and thorns to branches, even the delicate woven baskets that contain the plants are constructed from paper with the aid of tweezers and scalpels in a process more akin to surgery than origami. Her background in architecture translates to an exacting quality of “composition, use of color, texture, volume, light and sometimes subject matter,” she shares. In addition to selling original works and prints on Etsy and Society6, Bujana also has a wide range of corporate clients like Coca Cola, Swarovski, and HP. You can follow more of her process and updates to her online shops on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Paper Sculptures by Roberto Benavidez Reenvision Common Birds and Fantastical Creatures as Metallic Piñatas

April 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

‘”Javelina Girl (Illumianted Piñata No. 14).” All images © Roberto Benavidez, shared with permission

At once fantastically imaginative and embedded in tradition, the shimmering piñatas that comprise Roberto Benavidez’s body of work expand the boundaries of the conventionally festive object. The Los Angeles-based artist (previously) cuts skinny, triangular strips of material that he attaches to paper mache forms in the shape of birds, hybrid animals, and otherworldly creatures. His metallic works often address questions of identity—the artist speaks about this further in a Colossal interview—particularly considerations of gender and sexuality through the lens of his layered forms.

Benavidez’s gynandromorphs series, for example, reenvisions the phenomenon in common bird species by splicing male and female bodies together into a mirrored sculpture—three of these pieces will be on view through June 14 at The Loft at Liz’s in Los Angeles. He’s also continuing his renditions of Hieronymous Bosch characters and illuminated manuscripts, the latter of which includes the polka-dotted wildcat and portly, tusked “Javelina Girl” shown above. While drawing on centuries-old works, narratives, and myths in these series, each piñata is the artist’s reinterpretation of the classic iconography and themes into an inventive, contemporary form.

In the coming months, a few of Benavidez’s birds will be on view at Heron Arts, and the group exhibition devoted to piñatas that opened last fall at Craft in America will be traveling to the Mingei International Museum in San Diego. Follow news about upcoming opportunities to see his sculptures in person on Instagram.

 

“Illuminated Piñata No. 19”

“Scarlet Glossy Ibis (Halfbreed No. 1)”

“Spotted Wildcat Piñata (Illuminated Piñata No. 17)”

“Pug on Pig”

“Gynandromorph Phainopepla”

“Oyster or Snail? (Birdr No. 1)”

Detail of ‘”Javelina Girl (Illuminated Piñata No. 14)”

“California Quail”

 

 



Craft

A Collection of Paper Sculptures Studies the Wild Diversity of 88 Different Bat Species

April 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Guardabosques, shared with permission

Evoking the biological illustrations of Ernst Haeckel (previously) and photographic portraits of Merlin Tuttle, an ongoing project explores the incredible diversity of bats through geometric paper sculptures. Juan Nicolás Elizalde, who is half of the creative team behind the Buenos Aires-based studio Guardabosques (previously), began the series in 2019 after discovering variances in the animals’ ear shapes, fur patterns, and other distinctive characteristics. He’s since crafted 88 different species with scored and folded paper and is currently in the process of photographing each piece, from the wide-eyed flying fox to the speckled Cuban flower bat.

Titled Amiguitos de la Oscuridad, the collection has a dedicated Instagram account, where Elizalde is in the process of sharing every portrait and additional information about the species. “The project is called Little Friends of Darkness because they are nocturnal animals that I want to be friends with,” he writes, “but also because they helped me to spend the nights of the last few strange and dark years, with a little anxiety about what was happening.”

 

 

 



Art

Vibrant Centimeter-Wide Paper Cranes by Artist Naoki Onogawa Engulf Bonsai Trees

March 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Naoki Onogawa, shared with permission

Tokyo-based artist Naoki Onogawa (previously) continues his meditative practice involving thousands of minuscule paper cranes. Attached in clusters to the branches of bonsai trees, the tiny birds perch in place of leaves and top the sculptural specimens with fantastically colored canopies. Onogawa painstakingly folds a square, centimeter-wide piece of paper into the origami cranes, which once amassed in large groups, symbolize eternal good fortune.

The artist is currently preparing for shows this fall at Picaresque Art Gallery in Shibuya, Tokyo, and TENMAYA in both Okayama and Fukuyama and recently opened his books for international commissions. Head to Instagram to dive into his process and stay up-to-date on new works.

 

 

 



Craft

Vibrant Paper Strips Swirl into Energetic Circles of Scales and Feathers by Lisa Lloyd

March 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Abel.” All images © Lisa Lloyd, shared with permission

Streaming from a beak or bodily mass, the thin paper strips that compose a new series of sculptures by Lisa Lloyd (previously) are infused with movement. The U.K.-based artist shapes the individual pieces into wide curves, mixing a variety of materials and hues from flat graphic colors to shimmering metallic. Abstract and energetic, the resulting sculptures contain a chaotic blend of emotion within circles of feathers and protective scales.

Lloyd shares that the pieces respond to personal and political strife, which manifests in the lively nature of each creature. She explains about the antagonistic avians in “Ritual”:

When I looked at birds being aggressive with each other, I noticed that a lot of the pictures I was looking at were actually of birds mating, or fighting for territory to mate. I was fascinated by how similar they are in nature. Aggression and fighting, passion and pain. I think our mating rituals are not that different.

Prints of Lloyd’s creations are available in her shop, and she documents much of her process on Instagram.

 

“Ritual”

“Heron”

“Ukraine”

“Pangolin”

Detail of “Pangolin”