Archive for the ‘Materials’ Category

Jill Townsley
August 16, 2011

Another artist I learned of via the Compulsive, Obsessive, Repetitive show was Jill Townsley. At first on her site I was thinking, where is her work that puts her into this category but then I decided to get in the “way back” machine and see what she was up to in 1992.

The above piece is called, “Mathematics of the Eye” – it’s made of stiffened muslin and cord and the size of the person next to the piece can give you a sense of scale! These pieces are huge. I like that they look like teepees.

The above and the below two are from 1993, while Jill seemed to still be pretty into stiffened muslin. I’m not sure what she uses as her fabric stiffener – I usually use spray start in large quantities but it is probably something more serious given the structural things she’s got going on. The above is called, “One Line and a Diagonal.”

Amazing, “White Form” also from 1993.

Appropriately enough, the above is called, “Bucky” – it too is stiffened muslin and dowels and is big enough to walk right through.

Here’s where we get into the weird stuff, 1996. “At What Level” is made of perspex tubing (no idea, will need to Google later), fishing line and liquid plastic casing, which I think I may need to invest in. My weekend projects this weekend included finishing a bar cart for our apartment, making a lamp out of a tortoise shell and sewing several gifts for various friends / thank yous – none of these involved liquid plastic and I feel like that’s a miss.

These don’t have a human next to them for scale – but they’re 9 feet high, which is really impressive especially as the casing appears to be unbroken – I have no concept of how these are crafted or is they’re hard or soft but I imagine they’re soft / hanging in some way.

“Telescopium” is made of monofilament as well – it looks like a snake’s shedding to me…a huge snake.

She has a series of these pieces made of fishing line over several years. They look like growths either on trees or walls that clearly don’t belong. Maybe it’s all the space-related movies out right now but these remind me of prosthetics onto things around them.

That is just wire – and while it reminds me of Tara Donovan’s cube pieces made out of a single material this one is much larger, over six feet!

The blue pieces you see are broom bristles and the connectors are just common balls – it’s like K’Nex for adults to me!

Of all her pieces, the above from 2005 resonates the strongest with what I like. The freeform, underwater quality of the above is awesome. These are made of polystyrene beads and PVA – even the way they are lit accentuates how amorphous they are.

I couldn’t not include a piece of her more recent work from 2008 – I bet you can’t guess what those are! Plastic spoons and rubber bands. So cool!


Kohei Nawa
August 9, 2011

I went back down the rabbit hole after a homemade dinner tonight and stumbled upon Tokyo artists, Kohei Nawa. I forget how I found him but it was on someone’s Facebook tonight! I was drawn to his pieces for a few reasons – scale, material, shape.

The above is from his Scum series, which is mixed media but the shape itself is born out of polyurethane foam sprayed onto an existing frame. Nawa’s works all take specific items and then augment their surfaces somehow – foam is just one of his chosen methods but it’s the most visually appealing to me.

As you can tell from the pictures these pieces are quite large. I’m curious as to their weight and the difficulty with which they are created. I’ve never worked with this kind of foam so don’t have a lot of context regarding its density.

I like the above both for its title, “Black Yarn” and its technique – just glue from a glue gun. According to Kohei, “I draw on a wall directly using a glue-gun. As the bond melted and liquefied with heat gets cold, it becomes hard. The grains stand up and the lines hang down from the wall. The images are connected to each other and grow like an ivy. It is a picture and is also a sculpture.” I love that thought that it’s a picture and is also a sculpture – I feel as though that applies to a lot of works on this blog.

Another way that Kohei morphs the surface of elements is by adhering many clear glass beads. It takes a real-life object and makes it look pixelated in a way – he calls these PixCells. His process of time consuming, repetitive activities to make something look digital / technological is an interesting juxtaposition. I would have shared more pics but his site has small thumnails – I highly recommend taking a look for yourself though!

Nathalie Miebach
August 2, 2011

In looking for more continuing education opportunities for myself around Boston I came upon MassArt’s upcoming Fiber Arts class on Sculptural Knitting, which would be one way to describe my yurt project. In the course description, there was a link to artist Nathalie Miebach, I assume because her work is some kind of awesome.

This piece is called Arctic Dun – Solar Exploration Device for the Arctic and is made of reed, wood, plastic, steel and data. Data? Oh yeah, Nathalie uses her work to represent how art an science collide. Her pieces are the physical representations of data gleaned from scientific observations.

A little closer to home the above is called Boston Tides and as Nathalie describes it, “Using a base of 24 hours, this piece converts various layers of data (Jan-Dec 2005) related to the gravitational influence of both Sun and Moon on tides recorded at Boston Harbor. The inner structure converts sunrise/set and moonrise/set data into the woven structure, with every weave representing one hour. Additional data translated include tide readings, moon phases and the solar path in relation to the horizon.”

It’s hard to decide what to value first, the art or the science behind Nathalie’s pieces. I feel like I love the knitting and weaving she’s doing slightly more than the science of the works but I do respect those qualities as well. It seems like they dictate some of the colors as well as the shapes that the pieces take on. I wonder if it’s easier or harder to create within those constraints or if they’re not constraints at all.

Aesthetically they’re so beautiful and quite large, several feet (like 6 or more). The thing that I think is really admirable is how polished they look. I’ve never seen her works in person but the photos look so sharp that they must be fairly perfectly constructed.

The above is from her series, Changing Waters, which looked at the meteorological and oceanic interactions within the Gulf of Maine. 33 Feet wide this pieces is! So incredible!

Noriko Ambe
June 7, 2011

A month has passed? I knew I was being a bit derelict about the blog but this is terrible – apologies. I’ve been bookmarking things left and right to write up but haven’t found the time. Work has been very busy, I had my five year college reunion, my brother had a baby – I’ve been MIA. Let that not distract from the awesomeness that are the paper cuts of Noriko Ambe.

Noriko makes all of her cuts by hand, though I’m under the impression she pre-draws them – she prefers the natural look of the cuts to the machine made ones.

I’ve written on people who cut paper in the past but I do think Noriko’s work goes to a new level – as she describes in her artist statement, “When I am drawing or cutting lines, I am interested in observing the power of the changing growing shape. This dynamic shape becomes an entity in itself, ‘Another geography.’ In a sense, the empty space is myself, and the materials represent the present world.”

Many of her pieces are the mass with parts cut away (I do realize that this is only my perspective) but the above work is a mass itself of cut paper pieces. I like this opposite effect as well as the large scale of this piece.

She has a few series’ that she seems most comfortable in – one being layers of cuts inside typical filing cabinets. Interestingly, when I first saw them I thought – these look like the cross sections of humans I saw at the Body exhibit a few years ago and low and behold that was part of her intention!

I like them because…they look like they’re underwater – they are coral-like and tide-impacted wave-like to me and I like them because of that fact.

They also kind of look like an arial view of a dry riverbed to me – they’re open to interpretation that’s for sure.

Amy Eisenfeld Genser
March 28, 2011

All the way from his new home in the Netherlands, my brother’s friend Neil sent me a New England artist last night who is right up my alley, Amy Eisenfeld Genser, who he found on Design Milk on Friday. Her work is both repetitive and pattern-centric – two of my favorite things – and she creates it in West Hartford, CT!

The above, “White Undulation” is made of paper and acrylic on wood. Amy rolls each of these individual pieces into these tight cyclinders, which then become the larger wholes. In her artist statement you can hear her synergies with my interests, “I am fascinated by the flow of water, the organization of beehives, and the organic irregularity of plants, flowers, rock formations, barnacles, moss, and seaweed.”

These white textured squares remind me of the porcelain works by Elements Clay Studio on Etsy. Amy’s are rolled paper again but the idea of exploring texture and 3D in a monochrome palette is pretty cool no matter what material you’re working in. Interestingly, she also cites aerial landscape views’ quilt-like qualities as inspiration, much like the work of Emily of Haptic Lab!

We’ve been looking at some amazing kuba cloth for the apartment lately and for some reason the above work reminds me of a few we’ve been eying out in Cambridge at Reside.

Her underwater, colorful items are just as interesting as her more monochromatic ones (though I’d prefer those ones for my own home). The above, “Waterfall,” is so cool – many of Amy’s pieces are listed as sold, however, on this one she has it listed that there’s a reproduction available, I’m not sure what that means – if it’s the same piece or if it’s not with the paper but just a painted version of the piece.

These above may look small but each square is 16 x 16 inches. I for one will reiterate that I love that they look sort of hive-like with their regular increasing and decreasing – an ode to my love of bees and stitch patterns.

Jamie Joseph
March 25, 2011

In preparation for our impromptu Chicago trip this weekend I, again, trolled through the Elements Chicago website, which I feel like I should just go see in person since I spend so much time oggling their items. More jewelry caught my fancy in my little jewelry binge today. This time I came up the beautiful stones / jewelry of Jamie Joseph. I’m fairly certain I saw one of these sparklers on my friend Kathryn the other night too and was blown away by the quality of the stones in person.

Oooh Peridot, you are such a great color green. I’m not sure if it’s in fashion right now but I do love green these days.

The above stone is Swiss Blue Topaz – unbelievably rich color. I love big cocktail rings and this fits the bill. The coolest thing I think about this line is that it’s made by a duo, Jamie and Jeremy and Jeremy is a woodworker / craftsman turned stone cutter. I think I have a lot of rocks in my craft room but I bet I’ve got nothing on him.

I love that these rings are sometimes punctuated by diamonds. The variety of metals used within each ring reminds me of another favorite jeweler of mine, Nava Zahavi, though her pieces are more organic / rough looking.

Oooh Moonstone – a constant favorite. Also, notably, compared with other jewelry I’m written about the Jamie Joseph line is more affordable – the rings I’ve seen online are in a range but really large beautiful ones can be under $1,000.

Not everything they do is rings too – they have a honeycomb collection, above, that I think is fabulous. My bee / hive obsession can now spread through to jewelry.

So elegant…I love all of their pieces!

Jan Burtz: Bella Porcelain
March 24, 2011

I’m still hooked on porcelain and I’m thinking I always will be. Looking back I think the obsession began when I was living in NYC right around the corner from ABC Carpet & Home. I used to go in and wander around the first floor looking at jewelry and stopping by their little shops within the shop. That’s where I saw Jan Burtz’s Bella Porcelain.

I never bought any because I was on a pretty serious budget but also because it seemed so delicate that I thought surely I would break it. Jan makes her pieces with traditional hand building out of rolled out slabs of porcelain. They are so thin and light. I know they’re dishwasher safe so quite durable and yet, they are so dainty!

Her glazes are also very pleasing, made carefully from home recipes. The colors are never too overpowering and it seems like some of the porcelain is always allowed to shine through.

We’re currently trying to figure out what to put on our mantle. It’s about 7 feet long and a foot wide so it’s quite a lot of space. Flowers in these bud vases would be beautiful though I’ve been entertaining starting a pitcher collection like my mom’s – but all white.

The place setting reminds me of a vacation we once took as a family. We were somewhere in the Caribbean and my parents fell in love with a set of dishes and platters. They carried them back to the States and they are plates and things we only use on very very special occasions. I can remember the day the platter got chipped with a knife that was going through some very hard icing…it was the chip heard round the world. I’d feel that way with this dishware too!

So beautiful! When I was in NYC a few weeks ago I popped into ABC, which looks very different I feel like and there was a whole section devoted to her pieces with the option to have them glazed with the color of your choice. Custom Bella Porcelain – what could be better?

Quadrille Fabrics: China Seas
March 22, 2011

There are times when I post things where I feel very, very late to the party. I feel this way about the fabrics from China Seas, which apparently everyone already knew were in existence and awesome. We’ve been looking at fabric every weekend. We drive up to Zimman’s in Lynn and paw through rows of different things to reupholster with and love every minute of it but we always seem to pick the same types of fabrics: ikat, stripes, and trellis / lattice prints.  Low and behold we stumbled upon China Seas, not at the store but on One Kings Lane.

I tried to pick out just a few of my favorites from this collection but it got out of hand so I picked a few colors in a row from each that I loved…even though I sort of love them all. The above is called Java Grande and you can get these fabrics in indoor or outdoor suncloth.

Macoco II, above, I also love. It reminds me of some of the repetitive drawings I’m a fan of, just going back and forth, over and over with hashs like you’d find on a dodgeball.

I can’t stop myself from wanting these cool patterns all over – this seems Egyptian to me. Called, Ziggurat Reverse. I have no idea what I’d put it on but something tells me this reupholstery phase is far from over.

Maybe at our next house we’ll have outdoor space and we can get some groovy porch furniture outfitted with the above pattern, Aga Reverse.

Or this…Edo Grande. It’s alarming how much I like all of these. Maybe it’s the fact that we had dreary snow / sleet here in Boston yesterday and so I’m itching for some brightly colored somethings in my life again.

And Bali Hai to round this little snapshot out. Really though I would take any of the fabrics from this collection. I just poked around on Ebay and there are some remnants up there – hopefully I can get a hook up to get some yardage and make seat cushions. Our chairs are backordered til nearly May so I’ve got time!

London Find: Sue Binns
February 26, 2011

I spent today in London doing two things: eating and shopping. I was mortifyingly late to a brunch with my friend through Nest, Anju, who graciously let me infiltrate her weekend only to have me nearly sleep through brunch due to a Blackberry that decided it had not switched timezones. After a brief recovery and BIG breakfast we walked up and down King’s Road in Chelsea [I think] looking at, mostly, interior design shops as, it turns out, it’s a common interest. One of the shops, Designers Guild, was totally jaw dropping – beautiful linens, tiny trinkets for the home, rugs, fabric, you name it. In their basement level they had a small case of the prettiest ceramics – especially given my love of The Stripe. I jotted down the artist’s name in my trusty phone and looked Sue Binns up the moment I got back to the flat.

Even though I generally lean towards porcelain I am really into Sue’s stoneware. She gets it still quite thin and it’s matte glazed, which is unique and elegant. I’ve seen some stuff like this before at ABC Carpet & Home in NYC [Designers Guild reminded me a lot of ABC in fact – only whitewashed if that makes sense] but not with such great stripes and patterns.

In her artist statement she explains that she is, “fascinated by the way stripes create different visual impressions, positive or negative, depending on their thickness and density.” In her work that’s very true, some of the works like the above look like pinstripes with the white being the dominant hue, whereas others are blue with white stripes.

I think being attracted to these pieces is an indication of another nautical summer for me…not unlike the last two. I should note that the only clothes I’ve bought myself in months involve watercolor-esque stripes thanks to Loft and the new Forever21 in Boston.

How cute are these? I think I just want a beach house or a lake house to put handmade, stripey, earthy things in. Some body of water has to be near by and these seem to precious for the speed of everyday life, these are mugs to enjoy when you’ve nothing else to do but sit on the porch.

See, clearly blue with white stripes! Or rather they look like white and blue stripes of something just jammed up next to each other – not as though they’re one whole piece of work. Anyway, this was the first of many things I saw today. I could write for a month on Designers Guild alone. Bottom line I wouldn’t have learned about it at all but for Anju’s patience!

Alyssa Ettinger
February 21, 2011

In Chicago last weekend we went into the City one day and walked up and down Michigan Ave. In our true nesting mood we stopped into Anthropologie to look at their homegoods. As a lover of delicate porcelain and knitting my attention was grabbed by the below items.

I immediately fell in love but since they are SO delicate I thought I’d just get them here in Boston at our Anthropologie. I was wrong. Every Anthropologie gets different “found items” and it turns out these aren’t standard, they were found at a French flea market and are only at this one store in the country. Major error on my part. I started thinking back and recalled seeing another artist doing knitwear ceramic work and low and behold I refound Alyssa Ettinger.

When I called Anthropologie in Chicago to ask about them they told me that they were made from knit hats…I’m not sure how that process is done but the above by Alyssa seems similarly thin and realistic in its knitty-ness.

Alyssa makes some pretty amazing other items including these lighting pieces of thin porcelain Mason / Ball jars.I’ve seen photos around the internet of them lighting weddings and dinner tables – their translucense is pretty excellent.

She also does pieces that are ceramic with knitwear pressed into them to create texture, which are pretty beautiful. I think this is the first item of hers I was exposed to. Alyssa is originally from New England having attended the Putney School and Bennington College, which I used to pass on my way to Skidmore.

According to her site she is now working out of a warehouse in Brooklyn and is only working in porcelain due to its translucent quality – I love people as into porcelain as I am!