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Art

Giant Ribbons of Wood Form Twisting Root Structures in Expansive Installation

January 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nugyen, shared with permission

For their recent installation “Study in Pattern,” artists Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen (previously) expanded on the idea of constructing an enormous tree comprised of long wood strips in studio. The result is an arboreal project that occupies almost an entire room with outstretched portions extending up to the ceiling and toward each corner of the space. Visitors to the exhibition were able to peer up through the spiraling trunk of the tree and walk beneath the wide-reaching roots.

The experimental project was developed for the Islamic Arts Festival in Sharjah, a United Arab Emirates city that is part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area. To engage the traditions of Islamic art, Kavanaugh and Nguyen told Colossal they incorporated Arabesque elements into “Study in Pattern.”

This work draws from the architectural cues of the site: the repetition of arches, overlapping linear patterns, and the viewer’s attention is focused as they pass through the interior of a dome, but the finished work ultimately took on the feel a gesture drawing, veering away from regularity of pattern and toward entropic wildness.

The artists say they are testing this installation as a small version before producing the complete project in Seattle. More about the duo’s massive nature-based works can be found on their site.

 

 



Design

A Set of Six Uniquely Textured Toys Engages Children in Processing Their Emotions

November 20, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A set of six figurines made from wood and silicone are designed to help children process difficult memories and emotions. Created Israeli designer Yaara Nusboim, the “Alma” dolls correlate to different feelings: fear, pain, emptiness, love, anger and safety. The unique textures and colors of fuschia spikes, turquoise shards, and pink petals prompt children to engage with the dolls in different ways.

Nusboim envisions the dolls being used as part of play therapy, wherein a therapist can observe their young patient’s behaviors and choices with the toys to help unpack underlying psychological or emotional concerns. “Playing with a toy provides a safe psychological distance from the child’s private problems and allows them to experience thoughts and emotions in a way that’s suitable for their development,” the designer explained to Dezeen.

Take a peek into the design process in the video below, and explore more of Nusboim’s socially conscious designs on her website. (via Dezeen)

 

 



Craft

Unique Knots From Dozens of Different Trees are Showcased in a Hand-Built Geodesic Sphere

November 15, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Keith Williams (previously) has a knack for wowing viewers with his time-lapse woodworking videos. One of Williams’ recent projects entailed using offcuts that contain knots. In his hands, the geodesic dome becomes a multi-faceted showcase for the unique patterns, colors, and textures formed by these organic irregularities.

“In the 27 years of my woodworking business, I have never thrown away a knot,” Williams tells Colossal. “Many people see knots as a defect, but to me knots are the visual representation of a trees struggle to thrive. Not all little limbs become big branches, but their combined efforts on behalf of the tree as a whole should be celebrated.”

Step inside Williams’ Oddball Gallery workshop and see more in-progress projects on his YouTube channel.

 

 

 



Design

Islands of Wood Float Amidst Sea of Glass in New ‘Archipelago’ Furniture by Greg Klassen

November 13, 2019

Christopher Jobson

We’ve long marveled at the masterful craftsmanship on display in furniture maker Greg Klassen’s wood and glass creations. The artist’s name has become synonymous with the elegant aesthetic of merged wood and glass that originates from his Pacific Northwest studio, one piece at a time. Since first launching his river table series back in 2014, Klassen has produced nearly 250 tables, desks, and art objects, refusing to grow beyond his one-man studio despite a waiting list that once extended to nearly two years. Lately he’s focused on creating larger bodies of watery glass and the irregular shapes of islands as evidenced in this new archipelago series. He shares with Colossal:

My new Archipelago Series is inspired by islands seen from above. I’ve discovered a growing fascination with the point that the water meets the land and my archipelago pieces really let me highlight this point of inspiration. Whenever I’ve been lucky enough to fly over Seattle’s Puget Sound or the Hawaiian islands, I’m that 38 year-old kid in the window seat, with his face pressed up against the plexiglass looking down with wonder at the islands below. We are so fortunate to live in a time where we get to see our earth from above! Whether it be from a plane, or images capture by a drone, we get to see our earth with a fresh set of eyes.

Five percent of Klassen’s sales are currently being diverted to Charity: Water where he’s is helping to fund a new well for a community that cannot afford one. Several of his pieces most recently appeared at SOFA Chicago, and you can see much more of his recent work on his website, as well as Instagram and Facebook.

 

 



Art Craft Design

Hand-Carved Wood Sculptures by Jui-Lin Yen Capture Cartoonish Facial Expressions

November 4, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Taiwanese woodworker Jui-Lin Yen (previously) creates charming sculptural characters using traditional techniques. Silky-smooth finishes, expert inlay, and careful joinery are used to create cartoonish figures. Yen’s initial foray into woodworking resulted in fully-formed characters with distinct heads, torsos, and limbs. His recent projects have been more abstract, focusing on facial expressions.

Though many of his initial creations were gifts for his children, due to interest in his work Yen has also started offering some of his pieces for sale online. Alongside the whimsy and charm of his creations, Yen also incorporates functionality: ducks double as serving platters, freestanding birds hold air plants, and many of the works shown here are meant to be installed on walls and used as hooks for clothing or keys. Peek into Yen’s studio via Instagram and keep up with new projects on Facebook.

 

 



Design

Augmented Reality and Old-Fashioned Woodworking Techniques Forge a Sinuous Sculpture in Tallinn

October 18, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs by Peter Bennetts unless otherwise noted

A slate of new public structures have overtaken the Estonian city of Tallin for the 2019 Tallinn Architecture Biennale. Steampunk, created by SoomeenHahm Design, Igor Pantic, and Fologram, merges forward-thinking technology and old-world woodworking techniques in a sinuous sculptural pavilion.

“Computer aided manufacturing and robotics have given architects unprecedented control over the materialization of their designs, but the nuance and subtlety commonly found in traditional craft practices is absent from the artifacts of robotic production.” the design team told dezeen.

To form the swooping structure, the designers created digital models that were then projected using augmented reality. These projections functioned as guides for the construction team, who used steam-bent hardwood and hand tools to build Steampunk.

Explore more of the Biennale on Instagram and Facebook, and if you enjoy Steampunk, also check out the artful public structures of THEVERYMANY and Matthias Pliessnig’s steam-bent furniture. (via dezeen)

Photograph: Tonu Tunnel

Photo: Tonu Tunnel

 

 



Design

Hand-Painted Wood Offcuts Form Colorful Dovetailed Chairs and Benches by Donna Wilson

October 4, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Textile designer Donna Wilson’s newest body of work is a collection of colorful chairs and benches called Abstract Assembly. The designer, who you may be familiar with through her quirky plush characters like Rita Radish and Lenny Leopard, debuted her new venture into hard goods at this year’s London Design Festival.

The vibrant, multi-part chair backs are translated from Wilson’s watercolor paintings and use offcuts of oak, beech, and Douglas fir wood. Each design is a limited edition of ten. All components are hand-painted by Wilson and then dovetailed together (she partnered with Jon Almond on production). Design Milk quoted Wilson’s creative exploration that sparked the Abstract Assembly collection:

A year ago I embarked on a new direction with the main purpose to satisfy my creativity. I finally managed to stand back from what I was doing with my company and see what I needed to do. With no idea where it would take me, I started drawing and painting in the evenings. The next step was for me to bring these abstract doodle to life and start working in wood, I wanted to make hand-assembled pieces using traditional carpentry techniques and luckily my partner Jon was able to help me develop these pieces into a collection of chairs and mirrors.

See more from the Scottish designer on her website, where you can pick up a chair of your own, or peruse the wide array of Wilson’s fabric-based designs. You can also follow the company on Instagram and Twitter. (thnx, Kate!)