plants

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Photography Science

The Dynamic Details of Unusual Plants Captured in Singular Moments by Photographer Helene Schmitz

October 23, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Drosera stolonifera” part of the Carnivores series

Swedish artist Helene Schmitz focuses on the fascinating structural details of plants in her macro photographs. Throughout her long career, Schmitz has returned again and again to plants. By  centering her subjects—dramatically unfurling blossoms and carnivorous plants—on matte backgrounds that complement the tones of the specimen, viewers are able to study the unique shapes and structures of each plant. Schmitz titles each work with the plant’s Latin name, heightening the aura of scientific precision in her portraits.

“The focus of my work as a visual artist is how human kind has examined, described, and exploited elements of the natural world,” Schmitz tells Colossal. Blow Up was inspired by German photographer Karl Blossfeldt’s plant portraits, and resulted in Schmitz’s first book of plant macro photography. The artist notes that her second series, Linnaeus Project, drew from Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus’s pioneering work in creating order and categorization in the natural world, but also contributed to a pathway of modern exploitation of natural resources (Linnaeus also applied his hierarchical rankings, highly problematically, to humans). Schmitz’s showcase of the peculiar plants live on the edge of flora and fauna, Carnivores, was an assignment for National Geographic Magazine.

Helene Schmitz is represented by WILLAS Contemporary in Oslo, Galerie Maria Lund in Paris, and Turn Gallery in New York. See Schmitz’s work in person at Fotografiska, a photography-focused Swedish museum with locations in Stockholm and Tallinn, Estonia. The museum is opening its New York branch this winter.

“Nepenthes lowii” part of the Carnivores series

“Papaver orientalis” part of the Blow Up series

“Sálvia patens” part of the Linnaeus Project series

“Venus flytrap” part of the Carnivores series

“Cucurbita pepo 2” part of the Blow Up series

“Musa téxtilis” part of the Linnaeus Project series

“Astilboides tabularis” part of the Blow Up series

 

 



Design

Sprout Oak and Avocado Trees on Your Windowsill with Ilex Studio’s Specially Designed Glass Vases

September 23, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Ilex Studio’s avocado and acorn vases give new trees a head start while adding some greenery to your interior space. Riffing on the age-old technique of using crossed toothpicks or grilling skewers to balance sprouting plants over water, the uniquely shaped glass vessels are comprised of a large, flat-bottomed bulb topped with a smaller open-topped “cup”. The top holds the seed while keeping it dry, and the neck and water-filled base below allow roots to expand. Once the young tree has sufficiently sprouted and is ready to be planted in soil, the Ilex vase can help another one take root. The vases are available on Ilex’s website. (via Design Milk)

 

 



Art Craft

Lush Botanical Forms Translated Into Abstract Embroideries by Helen Wilde

August 28, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

U.K.-based embroidery artist Helen Wilde interprets oceanic landscapes in her three-dimensional hoop embroideries. Using tightly edited color palettes, often featuring teals and natural tones, Wilde layers stitches, knots, twists, and pom-poms. The organic shapes resemble commingled forms of plant life, and are built upon organza or hand-woven fabrics. Wilde’s most recent work was inspired by the tropical modernism of Sri Lanka. You can see more of her botanical embroidery on Instagram and purchase original works in her Etsy store. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Design

Wooden Detailing and Hanging Plants Provide a Modern Update for an Industrial Building From the 1950s

August 27, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

In 2014 Auckland and Los Angeles-based Fearon Hay Architects were asked to convert a dilapidated 1950s building in Taichung, Taiwan into a boutique hotel. After a site visit, the studio decided integrate as many of the existing elements of the building as possible, embracing the original character of the raw industrial building. The resulting SOF Hotel still has the charm of the seven-decade-old structure, with natural timber furniture elements, large glass enclosures, and sporadic gardens that provide a minimal and modern update. Hanging plants protect rooms from the busy streets below, while a large open atrium provides bright, central light. You can see more of Fearon Hay Architects projects on their website, and follow more images by the project photographer Andrès Gallardo Albajar on Instagram.

 

 



Art

Praying Mantises, Venus Fly Traps, and Autumn Leaves Crafted From Finely Molded Crepe Paper

July 22, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Illustrator and paper artist Tina Kraus sculpts realistic insects, plants, and reptiles out of textured crepe paper, adding colorful details with pastel chalk and paint. Kraus first began using the materials about two years ago, starting with common flowers and moving on to more nontraditional plants such as the Venus flytrap. Most recently she has has created a gecko and several different types of insects. When she is not building crepe paper objects, the Münster, Germany-based artist works on pop-up books, paper toys, and illustrations for children’s books and magazines. You can see more of her work on Instagram and Behance. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Art Craft

A 20 Foot-Wide Tapestry by Vanessa Barragão Recreates the World in Textural Yarn

July 19, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

In celebration of a partnership between London’s Heathrow Airport and Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, fiber artist Vanessa Barragão (previously) was commissioned to create a massive botanical tapestry. Using a range of techniques including latch hooking, felt needling, carving, crochet, Barragão mapped out and built up a textural surface that emulates a map of the world.

Earth’s diverse climates and topography are represented in yarn: the deserts of Australia and Africa are conveyed in warm, low-pile colors, whereas Barragão represented the lush rainforests of South America and the high peaks of central Asia with shaggy deep greens and coiling crocheted ridges. The artist also incorporated native plants like China’s Gingko biloba, European Cypripedium calceolus (lady’s slipper), and the coffee of Africa.

Barragão spent 520 hours on the piece, which is completely handcrafted and spans nearly 20 feet wide. The work is on view at Heathrow Airport’s departure area, echoing the diverse and globe-trotting guests who cross its path. To see more from the Porto, Portgual-based artist, follow Barragão on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Embroidered Women Adorned With Flower-Shaped Tattoos and Leaf-Covered Clothing by Giselle Quinto

July 15, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Amsterdam-based artist Giselle Quinto embroiders the quiet moments that occur as one finds solitude. Quinto presents subjects left alone with just a potted plant or floral background. The works are created with precise black lines that outline a range of hairstyles, from short pixie cuts to a cascade of curls being held casually by a woman’s hand. Color tends to be used sparingly in her designs, often only used as an accent for plants, flowers, lips, and cheeks.

Quinto explains in her bio that her practice “brings an anarchic view to classic embroidery, revisiting old traditions and transforming it in protest for equality, where all have the right to be and live whoever they are.” You can buy your own piece of Quinto’s through her online shop and follow her photo shoots behind-the-scenes on Instagram. (via Brown Paper Bag)