November 14, 2011

First, some tasty graphics:

What is it, you ask? All will be revealed in the fullness of time.

More mysterious stuff. Most likely craft related.

I was recently in Pittsburgh for the opening of small neighbors/ Microbiota, art based on the lowly microorganism. Artist Erika Johnson collected river water from around town and used a cool low-tech microscope to find the tiny critters inside, which she made into gorgeous videos and still photographs.  Daniel Maidman, her partner in crime,  transformed the images into ginormous beautiful paintings.

Now, Erika isn’t a crafter, exactly. She makes things, but there’s something profoundly creative about it. (Not that crafting isn’t creative, but you’ll see what I mean in a minute). Take the small neighbors project. She wasn’t following a recipe, or a pattern, or any kind of plan. She got fascinated with the paramecia and philodinas and heliozoas. She spent hours watching them, taking videos and stills, making drawings and sculptures. The result is a body of work that has the delightful unplanned quality that I love in modern art in general, and her work in particular. It has mystery: no one ever thought of it before.

She has a big messy studio where she finds the most amazing uses for a huge variety of materials, many of them found in thrift shops and alleys. So naturally she works at Creative Reuse Pittsburgh, a warehouse dedicated to re-homing orphaned arts and crafts materials. (Books! Cigar boxes! Wood scraps! Purple magic markers for writing on skin!) Erika has a special talent for seeing what any discarded object could be. For months, I’ve been following their facebook page, where she posts albums of materials along with crazy inventive suggestions of what do do with them. (Go ahead. Check ’em out. They’re totally worth it).

When I was in Pittsburgh I finally got a chance to go there. On my first visit I had a little trouble seeing the potential. (Clear acrylic boxes with magnetic bottoms? Huh?) Then I went back for a private tour with Erika. I needed the captions.

Here’s something I missed the first time around.

That's right. It's sample books of wooly suiting fabric!

Nom nom nom!

I came home with books of fabric samples appropriate for fancy menswear (wool! cashmere! silk!). I have some ideas for gifts to make with them, which I’ll get to next time. What would you make?

PS And for the record, clear acrylic boxes with interior magnets make great pin holders.


4 Responses to “Score!”

  1. nom nom nom! I just want to pet it all, don’t you? Eagerly awaiting your clever solutions. . .

  2. wolfie said

    I would make cushions and rugs and such for the dollhouse my daughter is getting for Christmas.

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