If it looks like a stump of wood… it might not be a stump of wood—it could be a book! Artist Pochiko HO has done exactly this with a handmade text that’s about insects. The clever book’s natural-colored pages are contained within a small chunk of tree bark. Simply remove the book from the circular stump and reveal the winged insects that live inside.
Here’s another mixed media piece, also about insects:
If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ve probably noticed that I pin a lot of paper flower DIYs. I’m attracted to their bright colors and the sheer novelty of recreating living things out of inanimate objects. Illustrator Kim Sielbeck does just this with her charming series of tiny cacti. Using papier-mache, cardboard, polymer clay, paper, styrofoam, and clay pots, she’s constructed living-ish sculptures you can hold in the palm of your hand. All I can say is: do want!
Kim will be selling these small plants at the NYC MoCCA festival on April 2 and April 3.
Kim’s tiny plants are inspired by a spectacular window display she created at Desert Island in Brooklyn:
Claymate Creatures is the Etsy shop of Daria Lapto, a doll artist from Ulyanovsk, Russia. For weeks, I’ve been admiring her Instagram, which is full of her beautifully strange figures. They’re often hybrids—such as a bear-girl or a bunnicorn—or a fantastical reimagining of bats, wolves, and even narwhals. I’m amazed with Daria’s character design, and these figures feel like they’re part of an exquisite stop-motion film.
To produce her curious creations, Daria uses clay to build their heads, adding glass eyes for an eerie, realistic feel. She then paints them with acrylics and applies matte and gloss finishes. Afterwards, she adds fabric—for clothing, wings, and soft bodies—that create an atheistically-pleasing juxtaposition of hard and soft materials.
Daria sells her dolls on Etsy, but they seem to go fast. Follow her on Instagram for shop updates.
Using materials such as polymer clay, wood, and paper, artist Sean Chao creates intricate, fantastical dioramas. The miniature sculptures depict landscapes—including dense forests and oceans—as well as bizarre creatures such as cat-controlled robots. Each hand-crafted scene feels like it’s a moment frozen in time, and Sean’s attention to detail begs you to pore over his wonderful handiwork.
Itching to see Sean’s work in person? Right now, he has a piece in the Flower Pepper Gallery’s 4th Year Anniversary Show, which is open now until January 19, 2016. If you’re local to Pasadena, California, be sure to check it out!
Discarded books have found a new life with the work of Isobelle Ouzman. Her intricate, sculptural illustration carve into the publications’ pages, creating mystical landscapes that tell a whole new story—separate from the book’s original tale. Many of her compositions feature pen and ink drawings, but sometimes she’ll accent areas with watercolor paints.
Ouzman sells her altered books through her Etsy shop. She occasionally takes commissions, too. Wouldn’t this be perfect for the book lover in your life?
Ann Wood and Dean Lucker are the duo behind Woodlucker, a studio that creates interactive mechanical sculptures and botanical paper creations. I’ve been on a paper flower kick for a while now, so that’s what I was instantly drawn to when looking at their beautiful Instagram. Each petal, wing, and stem is crafted with care, and this attention to detail is evident in every facet of the work, including the tiny brush strokes that adorn paper’s surface.
If you’re local to Minneapolis, you can visit the Woodlucker studio and see these gorgeous pieces in person. They open their work space to the public at least a couple of times a year. Find out more here. Otherwise, admire them from afar, just like me! (H/T Perrin)
September is one of my favorite months. Not just because of the cooler temperatures, but because it’s my birthday, too! (I suspect that many people chose their birthday month as their favorite, too.) First on my gift wish list? These plush dolls by Cat Rabbit (previously)! They are totally adorable and the detailing is, as always, impressive—especially with the small accessories.
All of these characters were created for Cat Rabbit’s show Return to Twinkle Plaza at the Brisbane-based Outré Gallery, which is based on her recent travels. “I used materials and supplies that I sourced in all of those amazing craft stores you find everywhere in Japan,” she writes on her blog, “including wool from bricoleurs in Sapporo and lovely traditional fabric from Nippori Fabric Town.”
If you’re local check out Cat Rabbit’s show until September 7. Buy works from the show on the Outré Gallery website.
Aren’t these the cutest? I think I’m in love. Melbourne-based MIMAW (short for Micro.Macro.Workshop) created these character bowls, which double as delightful pencil holders and planters. They have 3D-printed bodies and hand-painted details (like those smiling faces!). MIMAW uses biodegradable PLA (Poly Lactic Acid), which is used in food packaging and containers. It’s strong, durable, and won’t shatter like porcelain.
MIMAW is passionate about combining emerging technologies and traditional methods of working, producing functional pieces that “inject delight and embed itself in the everyday.”
Now, the big question is… which one do I pick?
Martin Tomsky is a London-based illustrator who creates brilliant relief sculptures with layers of laser cut stained plywood. They range in size from small accessories to larger, more intricate artworks. Martin hand-assembles each piece and sells them in his Etsy shop, Tomsky Store.
The amount of detail in these 3D illustrations is remarkable. The fish, for instance, includes more than a simple skeleton. It features fanciful flourishes with tiny creatures that are hidden amongst them. Take a close look and you’ll see all of Martin’s clever additions. It’s not what’d you expect from wood.
Artist Elin Thomas makes moldy petri dishes look cute and cuddly. Using a combination of embroidery thread, crochet, and needle felting, she creates unique textile pieces. The fuzzy felt produces the effect of tiny hairs sprouting from the yarn spores.
If something has mold on it, I’m usually grossed out. But not with Elin’s work! She’s able to make these science projects into appealing brooches, rings, and art for your home. Check out more of her accessories on Etsy.