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)
South African artist Porky Hefer creates quirky sea creatures that walk the line between furniture and sculpture. Crafted from leather, the giant animals are suspended on rope and hang from the ceiling with their mouths open wide. These fun creatures create a sort of inquisitive space for one to insert themselves, and perhaps relax and read a book. Within he series, titled Deliciosa Volume I, Hefer has developed a series of six designs, each of which has it’s very own personality. For example, Fiona Blackfish, an Orca whale who was born in Cape Town, has a furry tongue, loves animals of all kinds, and hates Sea World. Other characters include Crocodylus Eugenie (a crocodile), M. Heloise (a manta ray), and Dora Esca (an angler fish), Pelicanus Iris (a pelican), and a puffer fish. The artist, who has 16 years worth of experience in the advertising industry and has worked with big wigs such as BMW and American Express, wanted to use this project to step away from foreign manufacturing and product concepts, and instead, display and utilize the traditional processes coming out of his homeland, South Africa. He states, “we have such skilled human beings in this country using techniques not found anywhere else in the world.” This series of aqua inspired seats solely employs the traditional methods of weaving, stitching and splicing of leather and cane. Porky Hefer’s series, both a wink to the environment and his local economy, can be found on display at Southern Guild Gallery in Cape Town until February 5th. (via My Modern Met)
Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman, Be he living, or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to mix my bread! Someone took the old British nursery rhyme a little too far it seems…In honor of the upcoming holiday, I’ll only be posting creepy art on the blog….In case you’re wondering, no, B/D has not gone into the gruesome business of baking humans- what you see is the artwork of Kittiwat Unarrom, a Thai artist and baker who sculpts macabre edible creations. He got his inspiration from working in his parents bakery- talk about playing with your food! I found a video on YouTube of the artist at work below- it seems to only be Thai but its cool to see the 3D works…
Scottish artist Sarah Muirhead creates mesmerizing, nude paintings that are masterful in more ways than one. Her work is masterful in that it is very skillful, but also in that the subjects of her paintings are in control of their audience. Wanting to steer clear of creating nudes that are submissive to our gaze, Muirhead creates tension filled situations where the nude subject is staring at right back at you. Her subjects are not passive, but instead embody an incredible strength that challenges their audience. Each subject has a somewhat inviting stare, but still holds a control over the situation in their powerful, contorted stances and positions. In the artist’s new paintings, many of her subjects are bound by rope or string; others have intriguing elements like white, chalky substances all over their bodies.
Muirhead’s paintings are both unique and impressive, with an incredible eye for detail and color. However, her work is not entirely photorealistic. They explore this texture of the body in expressive ways. Muirhead is interested in patterns and textures, which you can see on her subject’s skin and hair. In one painting, the hair texture is emphasized by a woman grabbing her own hair and attempting to bite it. In another painting, skin texture and color is further explored and manipulated by depicting a nude posing with digital images projected onto her body and surroundings. Each subject is in mid motion, adding another dynamic element to Muirhead’s already multifaceted work. You can see Muirhead’s wonderfully tactile paintings on view now at Leyden Gallery in London until June 27th.
In reaction to a story by NPR’s Planet Money team about the financial collapse and its effect on Southwest Florida housing market, the The Big Picture photography column at Boston.com spent some time scouring Google Earth to document exactly how man-made structures and development planning has altered the land, coast and the way we cover that natural beauty we desire so much.
The resulting pictures show, in stunning simplicity, just how alien the natural landscape of Florida (or most of the Earth for that matter) has become. Ranging from densely-packed communities to barely finishing plotting, the photographs show the natural beauty of the land being lost, and mostly replaced by poorly-planned, short-term solution living situations. They also simultaneously insinuate humanity conquering nature like a plague of locusts, as well as demonstrate our efforts being over-run by nature, like every civilization of the past. (via boston.com)
Born in 1985, Mike Brodie began photographing when he was given a Polaroid camera in 2004. Working under the moniker ‘The Polaroid Kidd,’ Brodie spent the next four years circumambulating the United States, amassing an archive of photographs that make up one of the few, true collections of American travel photography. Brodie made work in the tradition of photographers like Robert Frank, William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, but due to never having undergone any formal training he always remained untethered to the pressures and expectations of the art market.
Brodie compulsively documented his exploration of the tumultuous world of transient subcultures without regard to how the photographs would exist beyond him. After feeling as though he documented all that he could of his subject, his insatiable wanderlust found a new passion, and as quickly as he began making photographs, he has left the medium to continue in his constant pursuit of new adventures.
These bright, candied installation pieces are the work of Australian artist Tanya Schultz. Working under the name Pip & Pop, Schultz employs sugar, glitter, fake flowers, and a myriad of other materials to produce the colorful mounds of awesomeness. It’s not a far stretch to picture the works as actual landscapes- to fantasize about walking around in Pip & Pop’s unique world. Diabetes was never so easy on the eyes ’til now. More after the jump. (via)