vessels

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Craft

Mushrooms Peek Out from Whimsical Vessels Crafted by Ceramicist Abby Dawson

July 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Abby Dawson, shared with permission

Based in southern Michigan where she runs Divine Pine Studios, ceramicist Abby Dawson creates sleek mugs and bowls sprouting with dense pockets of fungi. Adorned with three to four red-capped spores, each whimsical vessel is sculpted on a wheel or by hand, and very few are recreated. The ceramicist sees her fully functional vessels as both an intimate way to connect with others and as a reminder of environmental webs, describing her work as “inspired by repetitive patterns in nature and the commitment to art as a spiritual/therapeutic practice.”

Dawson is releasing a new collection of spore-laced vessels this weekend, and follow future releases on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Multi-Layered Ceramics by Artist Heesoo Lee Express the Movements of Land and Sea

July 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Heesoo Lee, shared with permission

Heesoo Lee has spent years carefully layering blades of grass, pine trees, and cherry blossoms to construct botanic entanglements that crawl across ceramic mugs and bowls. Inspired by seasonal woodlands and aspen forests, the Montana-based artist recreates bright pockets of landscapes that capture small motions, like falling fronds or rustling branches. “There is movement in trees, but it is slow and subtle, a leaf in wind, the slow growth of new leaves in spring,” she says.

While Lee has continued this tradition with many of her recent pieces, she’s expanded her source material to the ocean. For seven years, the artist lived in Maui, where she often surveyed the water. “I could sit on a beach all day and watch the waves, observe them, and feel calmed by them but also respectful of their energy and force,” she says. The memory has inspired a textured piece that swells upward to form a cavernous bowl. “Even in a small object, the waves are powerful and convey so much. For me, the waves connote freedom, the freedom to express myself and take risks,” the artist writes.

Diverging from land posed new challenges in Lee’s process. For landscapes, the artist repeats elements in layers to create a fully formed piece, but the same technique didn’t translate to water. “The first time I tried to make waves I failed. I failed over and over and over after that. There were cracks, pieces broke off,” she says. “I realized the feeling of making a wave is so much different from making a landscape.” Instead, Lee retrained her hands to follow the movement of the water, using slip casting, carving, and a series of manual techniques to capture its energy and force. Her color palette changed from amalgamations that evoked seasons to a precise set of blues.

Despite her forays into aquatic forms, Lee maintains an affinity for grassy fields and windswept boughs, which she explains:

My seasonal work, landscapes that focus on all four seasons, are still a mainstay of my practice. The memories that fuel the images are so powerful for me, and it gives me great pleasure to share my interpretation of those memories with people… I have heard from people that drinking from a cup I made helped them channel their own memories of the outdoors and the seasons, even during a time when they are stuck inside.

To purchase one of the artist’s organic works, follow her on Instagram, where she often shares shop updates, in addition to early looks into her process.

 

 

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Design Food

Gourds Grown in Vessel-Shaped Molds Become Reusable Cups and Flasks

April 27, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © CRÈME, shared with permission

With Jun Aizaki’s latest design, you could be picking up your morning latte poured into a dried gourd rather than a disposable adorned with a green siren. The Brooklyn-based designer, who owns CRÈME, recently launched a project to reduce single-use plastic waste by shaping the flowering fruit into simple drinking vessels. Heading The Gourd Project, Aizaki created both a cup and a flask that can hold hot and cold liquids and are an alternative to traditional products. After three to six uses, the containers can be composted with other food waste.

Aizaki “explored the century-old craft of drying plants to make receptacles, in order to find a way to reduce plastic and contribute to nature through design,” project organizers said. Each biodegradable vessel takes about six weeks to grow from its first planting at a Pennsylvania farm with six harvests each year. Because gourds have tough skin and fibrous insides, they’re shaped easily as they fill out. Each 3D mold is made of plastic right now, although the team hopes to switch to reusable materials once it expands production.

The sustainable project comes amid reports that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is increasing plastic consumption and affecting how, and if, the material is recycled, in addition to companies banning reusable cups and containers to stop the spread of the virus.

Follow the design firm’s waste-conscious products on Instagram, and stay tuned for the project’s upcoming launch on Kickstarter. You also might want to check out this lobster shell upcycle.

 

 



Art

Miniature Faces Add Three-Dimensional Personality to Ceramic Vessels and Tableware

July 1, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Rami Kim began making visual artwork as a stop-motion animator, crafting small head sculptures for her films’ puppets. These objects became the inspiration for her works in clay, eventually morphing into the face pots and mugs she creates today. Kim’s tiny three-dimensional faces range from monochrome noses and mouths to painted visages complete with lipstick-adorned mouths and perfectly perched eyebrows. Eventually the Los Angeles-based artist would like to close the production loop, letting her new cast of ceramic characters inspire a new set of short animated films. You can follow the evolution of her anthropomorphic dishes, mugs, pour over vessels on her website and Instagram.

 

 



Art Craft

Claws and Teeth Emerge From Otherworldly Ceramic Vessels by Gregory Knopp

April 25, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

While many designers focus on enhancing the cuteness of small air plants, ceramic artist Gregory Knopp highlights the otherworldly qualities of these popular plants. His hand-built clay vessels feature gaping mouth-like holes surrounded by curling claws or winding appendages that draw attention to the spindly air plants. Knopp, who works under the name Tooth and Snail, explains that he begins each piece with a concept sketch and then develops the work instinctively with clay in hand. “This is such an intuitive and malleable medium, it allows for images and ideas that might not be conscious to come through and take shape.”

Knopp immigrated as a child with his family from Russia to Brooklyn, where he currently lives and works. The artist shares with Colossal that he has always been fascinated by deep sea life forms. As a high schooler he volunteered at the Coney Island Aquarium, where he was drawn to corals and octupuses over the more popular sea otters and dolphins. Knopp’s interest in science continues today, and the artist finds inspiration in readings on anatomy and evolutionary biology. “Living forms have much order and purpose in their constitutions, but are at the same time ludicrous and whimsical,” he explains. “I try to capture some of that with these sculptures.”

Knopp’s unusual sculptural ceramics, including dramatic interpretations of cacti, are available in the Tooth and Snail online store and at pop-up markets around Brooklyn. The artist also shares updates on Instagram.

 

 



Animation Craft Design

Graphically Designed Ceramic Vessels Form Zoetrope Animations When Spun on a Pottery Wheel

January 18, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

After years of work as a ceramic artist, Kenny Sing of Turn Studio has created a series of shallow vessels which double as zoetrope animations when spun. His project, Trepō, transfers digital patterns onto the one-of-a-kind curves of his ceramic platters. The patterns are then either precisely cut from or glazed onto their surface. These elements act as static designs until they are activated by a pottery wheel. As the wheel turns, the patterns come to life: cubes, triangles, and rectangles appear to tumble into the center of the vessel. You can view the process for creating one of the ceramic vessels in the video below, and view more works on Turn Studio’s website, Instagram, and Vimeo. (via Colossal Submissions)