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A 92 Year Old Grandmother Creates Incredible Embroidered Temari Balls

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At the best of times, embroidery can be impressive and time consuming, but this project shows us just how much of an art form it can be. Flickr user NanaAkua has been uploading pictures of her grandmother’s embroidered balls for a while now, educating us all about an ancient art form popular in Japan. Called Temari balls, they are folk art that originated in China, but were quickly adopted by Japan. And this very talented Japanese grandmother in particular has been embroidering Temari balls for over 30 years – building a collection of over 500 balls. Made from the threads from old kimono, the Temari balls are intricate, full of imaginative patterns and as diverse as they are colorful.

They are traditionally cherished as objects of friendship and loyalty. The bright colors symbolize luck and happiness for the recipient of the gift. And it isn’t only considered an honor to receive a Temari ball, but also to produce them. To qualify as a Temari ball artist, the individual has to display a high level of skill and technique.

Here’s a little bit of more information on the amazing art form that are Temari balls:

Traditionally, temari were often given to children from their parents on New Year’s Day. Inside the tightly wrapped layers of each ball, the mother would have placed a small piece of paper with a goodwill wish for her child. The child would never be told what wish his or her mother had made while making the ball. (Source)

You can see the full collection here. (Via Juxtapoz)

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A Temple Of Love Built Out Of Neon Colors, Geometric Patterns And Bold Typography

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If the Beatles were right and all you need is love, I’ll take Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan’s version thank you very much. Built for the Festival of Love held in Southbank Centre, London (June 28 – August 31, 2014), The Temple of Agape is a visual feast. Neon colors, geometric patterns, and bold typography combine to make love a vibrant, exciting place to be.

The structures are inspired by those encountered by Myerscough in India and elsewhere in Asia where bamboo is used extensively for scaffolding as well as the Watts Towers in LA. The vibrant colours and handpainted lettering are similarly inspired.

Much of the success of the design is due to the restraint shown by Myerscough and Morgan, which may seem counterintuitive when looking at the riotous structure. Look closer, though, and you’ll see that there is one typeface and one type treatment. The color palette is strictly controlled, a neon rainbow, plus pink, black, and white. All of the shapes are simple and geometric; even the counters of the letters are removed, streamlining the shapes of the letters. Minimizing the design elements allows the installation to be ebullient but not overwhelming.

The Festival celebrates the legalization of Same Sex Couple Act by choosing seven Greek words describing love. Myerscough and Morgan’s were given Agape, a spiritual, selfless love; the love of humanity. Their temple represents the power of love to conquer hate.

“The Temple stands proud like a peacock with its giant Martin Luther King quote, expressing the power of love to the world,” say Myerscough and Morgan. “Inside its heart is calm and dappled with light for contemplating complex emotions, a place that can transform with Love expressed within.”

This is a temporary construction, which is a shame. The world could use more love, especially when it’s executed so beautifully. (Via Creative Review) Photos by Gareth Gardner.

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Fiona Curran’s Hyper-Utopian Installations

Fiona Curran lives and works in London. From her artist statement: “Fiona Curran’s paintings, installations and assemblages explore the impact of new digital technologies on our experience of landscape space. The works reveal a recurring utopian impulse, formal idealism and sense of escapism that registers in a palette borrowed from the computer screen and advertising. There’s a sense of spatial precariousness at work as objects and forms are broken down and reassembled. Paintings break away from their frames becoming sculptures and existing works are re-placed and dis-located through new configurations and assemblages of value. Splinters of the natural world appear in the use of hardwoods and veneers alongside plastics, fabric, hand-stitched fragments and found images. Formal compositions explore how angles contend with and counterbalance one another in shifting spatial planes. The titles of the works often give a further clue to their origin in this push-pull between fragmentation and ambiguity, loss and longing where all is not quite as it should be in the bright and beautiful image-world we inhabit.”

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Zoe-Zoe Sheen’s Whimsical Repetitions

Zoe-Zoe Sheen is an illustrator and designer living in Los Angeles. Currently, By day, she is  a designer at GOOD, but by night, she is up into the wee hours making artwork full of play and whimsy. A part of her bio pretty much nails the personality of Sheen’s work: “I love penguins, making things by hand; food, painting, sculpture, eating cheesecake and exploring.” While diverse, Sheen’s body of work is connected by pattern. Even the piece that are not traditional textiles, upon close investigation, consist of such dense repetition. On December 2nd, Zoe-Zoe will have some work up alongside a great group of artists in Los Angeles at RAW. We’ve only featured a small selection of her work here, so be sure to check out her portfolio site, and visit her shop to get a print of your own.

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Heather Benning’s Life-Size Dollhouse

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In 2005, Heather Benning acquired then began restoring a 60s-era abandoned and decaying farmhouse near Sinclair Manitoba, Canada. After finishing her restoration and furnishing the home with 60s-era furniture, she then removed the north-facing wall and replaced it with plexi-glass. In June 2007, the house was opened to the public where it remained “tomb-like” as a life-size dollhouse until this March 2013. Eventually, the house began to deteriorate and the safety of the structure was compromised, leading Benning to  end the project with fire. The Dollhouse images are currently represented by “Telephone Booth Gallery” in Toronto.

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Grotesque Photos Capture The Pains And Joys Of Womanhood

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In her visceral, raw still lifes, the 21-year-old photographer Madison Carroll captures the grotesque remains of meaningful moments gone by. Used condoms, pregnancy tests, and blood stains grace her compositions, punctuating a narrative that skips dizzyingly from girlhood to womanhood, from innocence to experience. As if plucked from last night’s waste basket, these soiled items emerge; in the context of Carroll’s clean, immaculate technique, they become all the more haunting.

As if part of some unusual crime scene, waste products are left out, forensically archived by Carroll’s lens. Here, rotting fruit and old bandaids mark not a murder but the more gradual, subtle trauma of growing up, of being woman. Like a pool of blood, tea spills from a delicate, shattered china cup; a lemon, once fresh and aromatic, rots. An egg cracks, the yoke spilling out into a satin pair of Victoria’s Secret underwear like a giant, monstrous ovum released during menstruation.

In Carroll’s disturbing yet thrilling realm, the dangers and joys of femaleness collide in a moment of brutal self-reflection. Death and fertility become indistinguishable. In a frilly, feminine doily, a cockroach lies dead, rotting beside a snuffed-out cigarette. A Clear Blue pregnancy test sits on an old rust-stained rag, the urine and tissue in the toilet simply a blurred afterthought.

Like a hoarder of significant items, Carroll’s lens seeks out that which might be thrown away, forgotten by time. A male lover, sprawled on the bed, is captured asleep, in a state of heightened vulnerability, his pale nakedness pressing against the border of the frame. At the artist’s feet, a condom evidences the intimacy that occurred minutes or hours before. (via Feature Shoot and iGNANT)

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Anastasia Mastrakouli’s Alphabet Made Out Of Naked Bodies

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You’ve likely already noticed: this isn’t your typical font.  Instead of using pixels or vectors, photographer Anastasia Mastrakouli uses her own body to create a steamy alphabet (pardon the pun).  Mastrakoukli positions herself behind wet glass partly hidden as if in a shower.  She emphasizes certain parts of her body, and in turn certain parts of letters, by placing herself closer to the glass.  The result is an eye-catching font – one in which the medium may grab more attention the the message it spells.  Check out her website to see the rest of the alphabet.

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Sponsored Post: Madeline Hagy’s Eye-Catching Format Portfolio Showcases Her Boldly Bizarre Illustrations And Collages

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madeline-hagy-format-portfolio-3We discovered Madeline Hagy and her boldly bizarre work on Format’s Spotlight page. Her portfolio elegantly displays her variety of work, from collages and illustrations to posters and prints. With her hallucinogenic forms and intriguing (and oft-grotesque) combinations of images, the clean and minimalist theme provided by the portfolio-building website Format is vital in showcasing the audacious complexity of Madeline’s work. With its fast-loading pages, Format is the perfect website for an artist’s portfolio, as you can scroll and view Madeline’s work without interruption. Another great feature that Format offers is the ability to sort work by category: you’ll notice you can view Madeline’s collages, sketchbook works, and prints separately.

Featured here are the works under the “collages” category, which provides an enticing sample of Madeline’s style and work. Among the images you’ll see a mash-up of recurring motifs, such as weeping eyes, raw meat, and deranged cartoon monsters. Adding to the series is a grotesque flavor of parody, mixing stylish, high fashion images with strange headwear, fleshless body parts, and googly eyes. In one way, Madeline’s work can be seen as a creative evolution of the magazine covers we disfigured with pens as children; going more in depth, we can read her collages as playful “dissections” that rearrange and distort magazine images to poke fun at the beauty industry. In either case, there is a lot to be seen and enjoyed on Madeline’s website, demonstrating that Format is the easiest way to make a portfolio that looks great and won’t distract from your work.

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