Category Archives: Sculpting

Sea Urchins have left the Beach to Inspire Art

Inspired by mythology, animals and Ernst Haeckel, Jennifer Maestre has created a beautiful, intricate and somewhat dangerous art design .

This talented artist builds 3-dimensional art with colored pencils. In fact, the South Africa native is internationally known for her creative use of these and other objects like beads, nails, and pins too.

Her color pencil designs are especially captivating because of her unique interpretation of familiar animals and plants seen in nature. She reveals how she builds the sculptures on her website. In short, she uses hundreds of pencils that are cut into 1-inch sections. Then she drills a hole in each piece, making them resemble beads. After sharpening the points she sews them together with a peyote stitch.

While this is all very interesting, there is another element to Jennifer Maestre’s art that is astounding: Her inspiration. In a statement about the sculptures, Maestre notes that the form and function of sea urchins sparked and fueled her idea. She talks about the paradox that exist between the beauty of a colorful sea urchin that invites an individual’s touch and the danger of the sharp points on its shell. With this in mind, she set out to create art with that same tension.

Maestre dose a wonderful job with this because sea urchins are dangerous yet alluring, and have sharp but beautiful shells. In fact, did you know that every ocean has sea urchins? They are known to travel in groups, with other sea urchins and those in the same echinoderm phylum family. This kin has a lot of room to move around ocean waters, considering they travel as low as 13,000 feet below sea level.

Visually speaking, the most catching characteristic of a sea urchin is its spiny shell. An interesting fact about these creatures is the name “Urchin,” which was once a common name for hedgehog. But the sea animal has dull colors and a globular form. This is makes for a clear distinction from the shrew.

In the same fashion, Jennifer Maestre’s pieces are quite different from her original source of inspiration.  Perhaps the reason why this is so, is because, as the artist says in her own words, “I’m inspired by animals, plants, other art, Ernst Haeckel, Odilon Redon, mythology. In fact, it isn’t easy to specify particular sources of inspiration. Sometimes one sculpture will inspire the next, or maybe I’ll make a mistake, and that will send me off in a new direction.”

Get a better view of Jennifer Maestre’s work on her website: www.jennifermaestre.com

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Ice Sculptures

Ice sculpture photographed by G.Goodwin Jr. and Snark

In a previous blog post we took a close look at the art of making monumental sculptures out of sand. Now let’s take a look at another natural material used to make art: ice!

Solid ice provides a compelling substance for sculptors. The ensuing artwork is ephemeral, because the ice will inevitably melt. Ice sculptors are always aware of the fleeting nature of their artwork, but at least their ice sculptures can always live on in photographs.

Although some may see ice sculptures as more of a novelty than a fine art, there’s no denying the amount of extreme craftsmanship that goes into creating an ice sculpture. There are even schools and classes that teach the art of ice sculpting, where artists can learn how to use chainsaws, hand saws and chisels to create their masterpieces.

To create an ice sculpture that doesn’t break or melt prematurely, a sculptor must become intimately aware of the qualities of ice. The ice must be frozen in just the right away to avoid impurities that may blemish the final appearance of the sculpture. Once the artist starts working, the slightest chisel in the wrong place can ruin hours of work, so careful attention and patience are necessary.

There are many ice festivals held around the world that showcase a dazzling variety of ice sculptures – from ice “castles” that are large enough to walk through, to delicate ice sculptures of mermaids with flowing hair, to modern sports stars and other celebrities. Ice sculptures are also a fun decorative addition to events such as weddings and other ceremonies.

The next time you drink soda or water with ice, just imagine how those floating ice cubes could be transformed into an astonishing work of art!

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From Sand Castles to Sand Sculptures

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Many of us have fond memories of building sand castles at the beach when we were children; overturning buckets of sand to create towers, digging out moats, and sticking seashells into the damp castle walls. Even though we weren’t consciously aware of it at the time, building sandcastles was a fun, hands-on way to express our creativity and let our imaginations run wild.

Building sand castles is not just for kids anymore! In the 1970s, the art of “sand sculpting” was born on the beaches of California, pioneered by visionaries who took the concept of sand castles several steps further by creating elaborate, detailed, breathtaking monuments out of sand. Animals, architecture and pop culture icons are common subjects for sand sculpture art, although the sky’s the limit. Sand sculptors have depicted everything from African wildlife to Greek gods and goddesses to scaled versions of the Taj Mahal.

Creating complex sand sculptures requires both technical skill and knowledge. In order to stay in place properly, the sand must be a certain consistency and contain a certain degree of moisture. Once the foundation is ready, it takes talent, time and energy to sculpt 3-D images into the sand without the sand falling to pieces. It’s no wonder that the best sand sculptors are actually professionals who get paid to create these magnificent works of art using all-natural materials.

Sand sculptures are a popular attraction on some of the world’s best beaches, from Canada to Florida to Australia. Next time you’re at the beach, why not see what you can create out of sand!

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