Elizabeth Beer & Brian Janusiak are the masterminds behind Various Projects, Inc. a multidisciplinary creative collaboration that started in 2005. One of their ongoing projects is called Birdwatching, and it’s a cuddly homage to our feathered friends. The first subject was a hand-knit pigeon, but it only grew from there. Now, there’s an “ever-growing flock of state and regional birds.” The Blue Jay, Cardinal, Carolina Wren, and Mourning Dove are just some of the charming soft sculptures available in their Project No. 8 online shop.
This past spring, I marveled over illustrator Kim Sielbeck‘s tiny paper cacti with their bold colors and charming patterned pots. So, when I was in the midst of planning Inside / Outside at Flower Pepper Gallery, I knew her work would be perfect for it. I was so happy that Kim agreed and created a host of new plants—some large and some small—just for the show.
The pieces seen here are now available through Flower Pepper Gallery’s website. If you’ve been thinking about buying her work—do it! The cacti are even more delightful in person. And if you’re someone with a brown thumb, you still reap the benefits of some green without the fear of them wilting.
In 2014, Lucy Sparrow filled an abandoned corner shop in London’s East End with 4,000 hand-sewn groceries—think canned beans, packs of gum, and magazines—in a site specific fiber installation. A smashing success, she’s bringing this caliber of exhibition to New York City and using Kickstarter to help fund it.
Lucy’s project—a TBA location (probably) in Manhattan—is slated to open in the summer of 2017. It will be called Eight Till Late, and it’ll be double the size of her London shop: 8,000 items that include a hot counter selling the likes of pizza slices and hot dogs. I’m most excited, however, by the slushy machine—Lucy plans to fill it with beads! In addition, people will be able to buy felt fruits and veggies akin to going to an actual grocery store.
There’s currently a Kickstarter campaign happening to pay for half of the production costs, and it’s well on its way. Check it out and pick yourself up a pack of gum while you’re at it. (via The Guardian, H/T Lisa)
Here’s how Lucy’s London exhibition looked (via The Guardian):
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.