“There is the place where amazing glassy Christmas-tree toys are coming into the world. It’s [a] rather depressive looking place, which impressed me with its contrast of holiday’s spirit of products and hard work of their creators. The factory is reflecting the Soviet Union of more than 50 years ago – this is the factory age actually. Nothing has changed: beautiful hand made decorations, firm conditions of work and funny people. The only difference is that they work for Germany, Holland and Italy now. And sometimes cheap Chinese plastic Christmas-tree, filling the market rapidly, don’t let them to have good nights.”
Link: Pasha Vrzhesch
“Sanctuary” by ph. Baldovino Barani; model: Brooke Bonelli
It is said that if you use a Yixing teapot for many years, you can brew tea just by pouring boiling water into the empty pot.
This is just one of the properties of these poetic little teapots. For hundreds of years, aficionados of the many varieties of tea found in China have extolled Yixing (pronounced yee-shing) teapots as superior to all other types for brewing it. The special zisha clay (containing iron, quartz, and mica and found only in Yixing) from which they are made absorbs the delicate flavors of the tea and the teapot becomes more seasoned with each use.
South Korean photographer, Yeondoo Jung, presents adolescents costumed and posing in sets based as closely as possible on children’s drawings in his series, Wonderland. In collaboration wity many individuals, Jung brings to life the boundless imagination presented in children’s drawings. For four months, Jung oversaw art classes in four kindergartens in Seoul, collecting 1,200 drawings by children between the ages of five and seven. From there he carefully selected 17 drawings and interpreted their meanings.
Jung then recruited 60 high school students from a process of handing out flyers inviting them to act out the scenarios in the children’s drawings.
He then convinced five fashion designers to custom make the clothing for the photo shoots. A necessity in order to faithfully recreate drawing details such as dresses with uneven sleeves or buttons of different sizes. He also made props unlike any scale found in reality but similar to those in the drawings.
Link: Yeondoo Jung | thegoodreverend
If Gilding is one sick puppy, wait till you see how her future kids turn out with loving nurturing from sculptural pieces such as those by Barnaby Barford surrounding them.
Keeping in with the critical theory of postmodernism is a rather simple formula. So simple that a successful piece is what separates the shit-for-brains of the art world from the thinkers — or at the very least, the ones with a great sense of humor. So the postmodernism formula reads: take objects with a long tradition of social propriety — in this case, Barford uses porcelain figurines — and perform a brilliant juggling act of their various parts so that they become socially jarring and inapprorpriate — bitches. See, like that. We won’t argue the merits of that bit of brilliance as this is Gilding’s blog and she can remain blissfully narcissistic in her own piece of blogosphere real estate without rebuke.
What really works for Barford’s pieces is that “inspite of their obvious satire, they are strangely likeable objects.” And that’s what morbidly draws us in to view the pieces within this collection, Private Lives. The porcelain works are of a familiar stock; they are characters we know, favorite childhood stories, generic Hallmark images we’ve come to expect — pukingly so. They are scenarios of warmth and innocence that somewhere in the minds eye immediately references as known and yet, not quite right, but still, in truth it is actually quite right — just not socially acceptable. For instance, Snow White’s figurine flirting coquettishly with Sleepy, “if the dwarf sports an obvious erection, then so he should.” And that’s the truth of the matter — its wholly socially unacceptable, especially to Americans — and yet, wholly accurate. Snow White’s a hotty and Sleepy is a guy.
But the scene depicted isn’t harmful. Its playful, in its entirety. Snow White is receiving the response that she is “coquettishly’ feeding.
Yet, lets not get away from the fact that Private Lives both subverts the traditions of porcelain figurines in as much as it honors them. Porcelain figurines are a time honored design meant to tell a story. Barford’s figurines are also story-tellers in their porcelain damask; removed from the world of kitsch to a new, less socially accepted, virility.
Barford accuses “human frailty” of being his subject embodied within this series. They suffer from lust, greed, cruelty, and overweaning ambition. Their acceptance of this weakness also joins in their makeup; “they admit that the world is an imperfect place.” Perhaps the biggest smack to social propriety.
Aren’t they fucking fabulous.
Link: Barnaby Barford
Click on image for high resolution version, or visit Loli Loves Venom where the weekly comic strip can be viewed directly from the source.
So, thumbing through her big book of things to write on, Gilding realized that she has to yet to write on Liz Bryant. Gilding met this artist back in February and also had the pleasure of seeing her thesis works in April along with Beau Raymond’s at the UF MFA II exhibit.
Liz uses her extensive background in graphic design, industrial design, painting, ceramics, metalwork, and photography to create her lifesize sculptures. Most impressive is their construction.
If you have the opportunity to speak with Liz, you’ll learn
that the motivation behind her works is her life. These
sculptures are in fact made after modeling Liz’s own
form. Every roll, every wrinkle, ever muscle line is a direct
reflection of Liz’s own body. There’s no hiding, no smoothing away dimples or shaving off an unfavorite curve. And that’s because these sculptures are the embodiment of Liz’s personal reflection of times in her life, of personal dramas, times of heartache, fears and battles with family psychosis, and that memory of losing her virginity.
Through a myriad of mixed medias and layering materials, Liz’s sculptures confront as much as they engage the viewer. They expose and explore conflicts of self, both Liz’s and our own. Many of her sculptures incorporate decoupage which peeks out through the peeling exterior of the “shell” of the sculpture — a metaphor for the illusion that is shedding away to reveal the confused and conflicted personality within. The imagery alludes to an awakening of the true, vibrant self that has previously been restrained, oftentimes dealing with insecurities and ideas of beauty and sexuality, and the unexplored.
If you have the chance to watch Liz at work, the technical aspect to creating these scultpural stories is quite impressive. One of the difficulties with working with ceramics is their tendency to “blowout.” And that means exactly as it sounds — uneven ‘cooking’ or ‘overcooking’ of the clay can cause the sculpture to blow up in the kiln. Ok, there are many more factors that can cause that to happen, but that’s a fairly even explanation. In traditional sculpting with clay, a piece of work will be carved and molded out of a block of clay — hence the opportunity for uneven cooking. Many sculptors will build their sculpture in this traditional method and then go back and hollow the piece out and patch over the hole — similar to stuffing batting in a pillow but in reverse. This not only helps to ensure ‘cooking’ the piece will be done so more evenly, but it also takes out much of the weight in the sculpture. Ceramics can get pretty friekin’ heavy, especially when their built lifesize, as Liz’s pieces are.
Liz, however, is an interesting mix of traditional and non-
traditional. Liz creates her pieces hollowly. Meaning, she
constructs her scultpture from thin air…oh, and clay. Rather than sculpting out of a chunck of clay, Liz rolls out thin sheets of clay — like dough — and builds her sculptures up. Here’s where the interesting part comes in. A hollow piece is a lesson in gravity, especially when dealing with the human form. All those same forces that press down on the human body that affect the shape of our own persons, does the same to the shape of an anatomically correct sculpture. The difference is we have bones and muscles and tissue to keep us in shape. To fix this lacking structure, Liz employs the methods of the Masters. Ever wonder what your body would look like if your internal structure were composed of flying buttresses? Then watching Liz work would fulfill that childish wonderment.
Inside Liz’s pieces are a myriad of architectural structural supports of flying buttresses, load bearing walls, and arches.
Liz’s pieces truly aren’t done justice when viewing them online in images. They are meant to be explored in person, for nothing about her sculptures are haphazard. As with many of her pieces, its within the decoupage that the deeper meaning can be read; the hidden expressions we are meant to be confronted with. And that requires seeing them up close and personal. So its a good thing that her pieces are fairly accessible. Liz’s works have been shown internationally; Rhode Island, Maine, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York City, Japan, and Paris, France, and throughout Florida. Currently, her work can be seen at the St. Petersburg Clay Company, Florida Craftsman Center, and The Art Center, in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Link: Liz Bryant
Gotta love an artist whose interests are art, music, Philosophy, maritime, and cannibalism.
Growing up in rural seclusion with a blue-collar working mother, two much older brothers, and an absent father, the open country, sparse trees, and alcoholic stepfather paved the way for “an individual saturated in imagination and introversion.” Blaming his fascination with the unusual for his macabre blossoming later in life, Kris Kuksi sees beautiful in the grotesque and a thriving inspiration for artistic personal freedom from the negative environment of his youth.
Ever a classicist, what Gilding is perhaps most drawn to is Kuksi’s sense of belonging to the ‘Old World.’
“Kris’ work is about a new wilderness, refined and elevated, visualized as a cultivation emerging from the corrupt and demoralized fall of modern-day society. A place were new beginnings, new wars, new philosophies, and new endings exist. Lord Byron spoke of this similar vision stating, “When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls–the World.”"
This Neo-Classicism is self-evident in Kuksi’s works as he seems not only comfortably knowledgeable with the canon but of that of the world’s religions and philosophies abundant, and does not repeat it in lifeless reproductions, but synthesizes the tradition anew in each work.
Driven most powerfully in his works is Kuksi’s personal reflections on the world today. A reflection in which he feels “mankind is oftentimes a frivolous and fragile being driven primarily by greed and materialism. Amazing how this is not a new ideal, in fact, it is one reflected upon in most great artist’s works at some time throughout the eras and ages and yet mankind seems to be getting no better. Kuksi hopes that his art exposes the fallacies of Man and unveils a new level of awareness to the viewer.
And for those who are not into thinking with their art viewing, then enjoy Kuksi for the sheer magnitude with which he captures the most minute of details. Especially that of his Grotesque collection. These pieces are rather large in scale and contain some of the most fragile and miniscule of detailed works to compose one singular piece that Gilding has seen. These works are a visual smörgåsbord of exploration. You could own one of these pieces for a lifetime, stare at it everyday for the rest of your life, and always find some new detail, some new texture, or some implied meaning that your never saw before.
Oh, and while you’re checking out Kris Kuksi, check out one of Gilding’s aqaintances, Beau Raymond, also a creator of the grotesquely beautiful. Gilding wrote on Beau back in October when he was working on his thesis pieces for his Masters from the University of Florida. This past April she had the chance to see his thesis pieces at the UF MFA II exhibit and they were some of her favorite pieces of his yet. But then again, who couldn’t love a sculpture of a man fighting off his own penis turned beast even as he coddles it at the same time.
Link: Kris Kuksi | Kris Kuksi on deviantART | Beau Raymond Clay
With a keen interest in storytelling and children’s education, Oona Patterson creates small scenes that serve as both art and illustration to stories that she has written. Currently her works are predominantly silhouettes and paper cutting, her primary focus being on writing a “decent princess story.”
In a land that bears the footprints of past gypsies, the Provencal town of Saint Remy de Provence, at the foot of the Aplilles mountain, Les Verdines keeps unburried these footprints by restoring and selling gypsy caravans. In recent years, it has become the posh accessory to french gardens and backyards as they are transformed into guest rooms, tea rooms, childrens playhouses, nad outdoor rooms. In any case, Les Verdines endeavor in these exiqusite artisan wandering homes is perpetuating a heritage and culture so often forgotten and abandoned.
And while verdines can still be
seen in the Provencal areas of
France progressing along
roadside at a horses pace –
much like our American version of traditional Quakers — and their bright encampments illuminating the outskirts of villages. Les Verdines are now offering with their recollections of these verdines a piece and spirit of these proud, mystical, nomadic inhabitants to outsiders. Keep in mind, these are not built replicas, but actual recollections of original gypsy caravans.
Selling both antique and reconstructed gypsy caravans, each caravan is restored and then furnished and decorated with its own unique style, colors, materials, and knick-knacks in the spirit of yesteryear. This, of course, can be tailored to individuals’ style as well. Though these caravans are not intended to be used on the road, they can be moved about within a private property.
Two things that make Gilding a happy girl are her Cafe Du Monde coffee pressed in a French Drip over condensed milk and topped with a heaping pile of ice in the morning , and sweet tea. Want to get Gilding on your bad side — fuck with her sweet tea. Nothing pisses Gilding off more than going to a restaurant and being told that they don’t serve sweet tea, but that she can order unsweet and just add sugar. Hell hath no fury like a Gilding being told to add sugar to cold tea. That is just un-fucking-American, and wrong too boot.
However, Gilding does appreciate a good spot of hot tea with Baileys in it. Really great tea is like really great coffee. Its a marriage of flavors, of the region the bean or leaf are grown in, how its collected and processed, and how its brewed and served.
Mariage Frères has been in the tea business for generations. Beginning around 1660 when Nicolas Mariage made several voyages to Persia, the East Indies, and the Moghul Empire as part of a deputation dispatched by King Louis XIV and the French East India Company, Nicolas’s brother, Pierre, traveled to the island of Madagascar. A century later, Jean-Francois Mariage was still trading in tea, spices in Lille, where ie taught the business to his four sons — Louis, Aimé, and Charles jointly took over the firm from their father and expanded the company in Paris with Auguste Mariage & Compagnie. Aimé’s sons continued the tradition and founded Mariage Frères tea company and added to their business with trade in the most distant trading posts in China and Ceylon. After 300 years of business, Mariage Frères now sells more than 500 high quality teas grown in 35 different countries over the counter and by mail-order.
But on top of great tea, Mariage Frères perpetuates the fine art of serving tea — also an important aspect to the refinery in taste expected of fabulous tea — through the design and reproduction of exclusive teapots and tea services. That’s where this beauty (pictured) comes in — the Happy Tzar glass samovar.
The fluted glass samovar is crowned by the Happy Tzar teapot of Russian inspiration. This unique glass feature incarnates the age-old skill of France’s master glassmakers. Together, the pieces rediscover the charm of imperial gathering in Muscovite palaces, of belles of the ball twirling on twinkle-lit ballroom floors to the music of violins.
Link: Mariage Frères
Remember the Toy Tower as Gilding wrote about back in May when this monstrosity of a creation was torn down after the death of its flamboyant creator.
Well, this is the Russian version of it. This strange dwelling was found somewhere in the Russian countryside. Dirty as the Toy Tower may have been, this is just straight up scary. Don’t laugh. It looks all cute and harmless and, at most, eccentric — at first. Then you get to the cattle-and-doll-head fence.
Link: English Russia
Some pretty wicked images of a small town in Estonia after a storm.
Via: English Russia
Ever wonder why purpose seems to come with the ubiquitious obligation to ugly. Nah? Neither does Gilding. But for Belgian artist, Wim Delvoye, the purposeful serves as the other half to his artistic creations; opposites attract. Reknowned sculptural artist in a wide range of medias and artistic practices, divine is often merged with secular, the past is embodied in the present, and ornement overcomes strict functionality.
In his life-size replicas of Caterpillar excavators, Delvoye juxtaposes medievil “Gothic” craftsmanship with machine-age technology. These massive sculptures are made in corten steel and perforated with Gothic filigree, a combinatory testament to the Gothic architecture that looms large in our culture and its breathtaking verticality that is a sign of dazzling architectural feat, achieved one stone at a time” and today’s heavy machinery that can accomplish almost overnight what once took decades to build and generations of artisans and workers to craft.
There are visible references to Notre Dame in the squared-off double cab and circular rose window of the Caterpillar, but all of the sculptures in the series are an amalgamation of Gothic structures. Transforming familiar icons of industrialized productivity with repeated arches, intricately patterned florets and undulating lines, Delvoye’s series of Gothic Caterpillars grow out of an ongoing series of works in which Delvoye applies traditional craft and folk art practices to various industrial objects. Included in this series of works are hand-painted gas canisters with blue Delftware windmill motifs, enameled ironing boards with medievil coat of arms, and collaborative pieces with Indonesian woodcarvers to make a Baroque-styled teak cement truck.
Link: Wim Delvoye | Sperone Westwater | Centripetal Notion
Rochester, New York, was already outgrowing its downtown cemetery, Riverside, when a cholera epidemic struck in 1832. City officials began the planning to a new cemetery and purchased the land that would become Mt. Hope in 1836.
Mt. Hope was the first municipal cemetery in the United States with graves older than the official graveyard itself. Residents of Mt. Hope include Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglas. And among traditional graves include lawn crypts, columbariums and family mausoleums. And contrary to popular rumor, there are still burial spaces remaining, with an average of about 350 interments each year.
Mt. Hope also boasts and interesting cocaphony of the living mingling with the dead and elegantly up-kept grounds lay the foundation of abandoned buildings. There are historic walking tours of the cemetery and its myriad of historic treasures kept within its surrounding areas. Currently, the City of Rochester in conjunction with the Friends of Mt. Hope have several efforts underway to preserve and restore the cemetery. So…go check the ruins out while they’re still here. That’s a bit ironic to be saying, isn’t it.
Know the old expression of ‘being wiped off the map”? In recent years, Centralia, Pensylvania has become one of those imbaguities. That’s not to say that Centralia doesn’t exist. It’s just not habitable.
Centralia lies in the heart of Pensylvania’s coal mining region. After mining itself clean of its natural resources, the town began using the abandoned mines as an underground landfill. Practicing a habit of burning the building up trash in the mine, it was the townspeople unfortunate circumstance that, sometime in 1962, some of the burning trash in a strip of mine laying underneath the outskirts of town caught fire an exposed anthracite vein and ..*Boom*..
The underground fire was thought to be extinguished when the fire erupted in a pit a few days later. Again the fire was doused with water for hours, but to no avail. For the next two decades, workers battled the fire, flushing the mine with water and fly ash, excavated the burning material and dug tranches, backfilled, drilling again and again in an attempt to find the boundaries of the fire in a plan to put the fire out or, at the least, contain it. All efforts failed and government officials delayed to take any real steps to preserve the township. By the early 1980′s, the fire had affected approximately 200 acres; the land becoming unable to sustain most forms of plant and animal life, the ground became so unstable that sinkholes would open up swallowing homes, stretches of road, and even people who walked on top of the unsteady ground that is prone to sudden collapse. Homes had to be abandoned and carbon monoxide gas reached life threatening levels.
An engineering study, conducted in 1983, concluded that the fire could burn for another century or more and “could conceivably spread over an area of approximately 3,700 acres.”
For over 44 years, and $40 million dollars later in attempts to stop the fire and help the residents of Centralia, the fire still burns through the old coal mines and veins under the town and its surrounding hillside. As fire, smoke, fumes, and toxic gases came up through the backyards, basements, and streets of Centralia, most homes were condemned and residets were evacuated and, using grants from the federal government, were relocated to new homes elsewhere. Still, some die-hard residents refused to be bought out and remained in the town. Today, only nine Centralians remain.
Link: Centralia Pensylvania…truth is stranger than fiction | Centralia Photo Archive | Forgotten Pensylvania