Archive for the ‘craft’ Category

Yumiko Ishihara

Friday, October 28th, 2011

OK, I am back, so let’s get back to it.  Beautiful installation at the Koganecho Bazarr by Japanese architect Yumiko Ishihara.  Ishihara made this display using 3,000 chopsticks and bamboo sticks as part of the Yokohama Triennale.  Not only is the pure simplicity of the piece striking, it also allows for visitors to look through to different areas keeping the sight lines open.  Everything about this just seems so elegantly delicate – I am not even sure what was displayed, but I imagine they are gentle tiny little works.

(via designboom.com)

Lisa Spengler and Moa Hallgren

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

As part of their final project at Kunsthochschule Weißensee, students Lisa Spengler and Moa Hallgren designed a collection of furniture and accessories made from salvaged materials.  The pair combined old clothes with furniture found in the streets of Berlin to create new pieces where objects and textiles intertwine.  Spengler and Hallgren recently showed their work at the HEIMTEXTIL 2011 in Frankfurt.

Noroc by Julien Devaux

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Amazing project from Julien Devaux, a student at ENAD in Paris.  Devaux has partnered with Moldavenir, a non-profit in one of Europe’s poorest countries, Moldavia.   The project, called Noroc (which means health and good fortune), is meant to solve some of the social and environmental issues facing one of Moldavia’s small villages.  In this town landfills cover the countryside; many containing usable items such as old buckets and pots.  Devaux has found a way to upcycle the waste and combine it with the villagers’ traditional craft, basket weaving.  The result is a new series of objects used for lighting, storage and seating.

(via Jo Meesters)

Mid-Winter Woolly Repair Shop

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

If you are in the Denver area, my studio, Poesy&Praxis, is putting on our first event of the year, the Mid-Winter Woolly Repair Shop on Jan. 29th.  This drop-in community event is for all the folks who have never been able to part with that favorite holey sweater.  We will be celebrating repair by using simple wool felting techniques to patch up all the stained, torn and over-loved woolly items in our lives.

Join the fun and repair your woollies for winter part II.  The Mid-Winter Woolly Repair Shop will take place Saturday, January 29th from 1-3 PM at the Novo Coffee Roastery at 3008 Larimer St. in Denver.  Novo will be serving up delicious cups of joe all afternoon.  Cost is $2 per woolly item (all supplies will be provided).  We will also be repairing items to donate to local shelters, so if you have an item to give, please bring it.  We will patch them up!  All ages welcome.

If you’d like to join in please RSVP to me by Jan. 16th so we can order supplies.  This event is organized by Bean Again, Poesy & Praxis and Novo Coffee.

Orsoni Mosaic Foundry

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Before I moved back to the US I was fortunate enough to take a class at the Orsoni mosaic foundry in Venice. Located in the Cannaregio district, the workshop is tucked away down one of the endless alleys that line the city’s canals.  The only indicator of the place’s existence is a small mosaic sign outside the Domus Orsoni, the bed and breakfast that is run out of the original Orsoni home (above).

I wanted to share some pictures and background of this special place, where the same tools, techniques and recipes have been used to create mosaic glass (smalti) for over hundred years.  Founded in 1888 by Angelo Orsoni, the workshop was run as a family business until 2003 when Trend bought the company.  Though the ownership has changed, almost everything else seems to have remained untouched by the hands of time.

During my week long course, the staff was kind enough to show us how the glass is made. Our tour begins in the Orsoni color library, home for the 2,000 plus colors of smalti the foundry has produced. Some colors are part of their collection of 100 standard tones, while others are remnants from special orders, one-off colors that would make Crayola jealous.


The glass plates are made in a furnace from a mixture of sand, soda and various oxides for color.  The ingredients are hand mixed in ceramic crucibles, which only last for about 5-6 weeks before cracking.  Inside the Orsoni courtyard there were stacks of these crucibles, dripping with color from their final firing (above left).  The cracked pieces are sold and find a second life as planters. If only I could have lugged one home.

When an order comes in, glass is taken from the color library to the cutting room where the larger plates are hand scored and cut into the smaller squares used in mosaics (smalti).   During our class everyone from the fellows working the furnace to the business administrator stopped by to see our work and chat.  It was such a welcoming and friendly environment; its like every student becomes part of the Orsoni family.

My teacher, Antonella Gallenda, has been making mosaics (like the ones above) since she was a teenager, having been taught by the last Orsoni owner Lucio Orsoni (great grandson of the founder Angelo).  Being in this place was amazing; getting to see firsthand the dedication of the artisans who make the glass and the mosaic works.  Though I gladly would have stayed for a month, my ticket back home dictated I take the one week course. Orsoni offers a variety of classes including 3, 5 and 10 day workshops.

Sometimes when you are traveling it is nice to step beyond the regular tourist agenda and get a different perspective on a place.  For the week I was in Venice, I felt like I was part of the fabric of the city, learning a cherished trade and celebrating the work of a renowned Venetian family.  Thanks to Antonella, Mirta and everyone else at Orsoni for making the course so wonderful, I hope to come back soon!

Ana Kras: Hive Lamp

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

More lighting from Serbian designer Ana Kras.  When I see projects like this it’s like a breath of fresh air – a simple design, but finished with a beautifully hand crafted shade that clearly took some time to make.  It’s like when you read the ingredients on a package of food and are pleasantly surprised that there are only four items.  It just makes you feel better.  In this case, the Hive lamp is made with an oak frame and a wire shade wrapped with colorful cotton string.  See, isn’t that nice?

Tim Liles: New New England

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

‘New New England’ is a collection produced by  NH-based designer Tim Liles with the help of local craftspeople.  The ‘Crested Comb Chair’ is a simplified version of the classic Windsor, made from native maple with streamlined joinery.  The chairs are made by Fred Chellis of Little River Windsors in Berwick, ME.  For the ‘Braid Dead Rug’ Tim collaborated with the Country Braid House in Tilton NH, bringing modern colors and graphics to a traditional craft.  As a native New Englander I really appreciate this collection; every region of the United States has local artisans with specialized skills and knowledge.  It’s nice to see someone tapping into these creative resources and collaborating rather than churning out another factory made widget.

Peter Nencini: Hand Werk

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

‘Hand Werk’ is a limited edition set of boxes that contain materials and forms for abstract play (top).  Designed by Peter Nencini, these thoughtful collections of wood, fabric, rubber and ceramics encourage people to come up with their own imaginative uses; no instructions are provided.  “Hand Werk is simply about sensibility brought about by mute play, by handling.  No rules because the elements should be moved and moved again.”

When I was a kid I loved the Recycling Shop at the Boston Children’s Museum.  It was a small little store where you could fill a bag with anonymous objects for craft and creative play (bottom).

Charley Harper Mosaic

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Charley Harper’s graphic imagery has been an inspiration to many artists.  I always thought his work was primarily illustrations and prints, so I was surprised when I came across images of two large mosaic murals the artist made in the John Weld Peck Federal Building in Cincinnati, Ohio (1964).  These large scale works (18 x 10.5 feet), depict 100 animals in Harper’s iconic style.

(images via visualingual)

Seainin Passi

Monday, July 26th, 2010

During the recent RCA graduation show in London, I got the chance to meet Seainin Passi, a student in the Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery department.  During the exhibition Passi set up a color apothecary, a place where visitors could hand select their own tiny silver pin and fill it with a color of their choosing.

According to Passi, “Response to colour is the most immediate and basic of human responses. Each colour of the spectrum is a vibration, a frequency, resonating with different aspects of the body and mind. This is a universal language that exists deep within each of us.”

So many parts of this project were charming.  I loved the very very small pins that show off just a hint of special color to the world, like a tiny badge.  But what resonated most was that the project was not complete without personal interaction.  The designer and the patron were linked; they sat together, chatted and as a result of that dialogue, a finished product was created. I ended up picking an electric blue thread (my pin is on the top of the right hand picture) – not sure what that says about me, but I’m wearing it today.

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