David Wiseman

David Wiseman’s sculptural work is currently on display at gallery R20th Century. Delicate and graceful work in porcelain and bronze, it marks the first solo exhibition of new work by Mr. Wiseman. Specializing in unique, site-specific commissions, each is made by hand for its custom installation. The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum recognized Wiseman’s achievements with the inclusion of his “Cherry Blossom Canopy” installation in the National Design Triennial 2006.

The exhibition is accompanied by a beautiful monograph featuring works shown as well as Wiseman’s process and inspiration.”David Wiseman draws on the natural world for his primary inspiration, yielding poetic and realistic renderings of extraordinary natural phenomena — blossoming branches in porcelain and bronze, the tangle of a pomegranate tree’s canopy beautifully orchestrated across a ceiling, a bird hidden in a bronze fireplace screen. In his unique lighting, fabricated natural and found elements mingle in illuminated branches and his “Collage” chandeliers.”

Images and excerpts sourced at R20th Century.

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Handmade Halloween

A handmade Halloween. There is something special about creating a costume, especially for children. An opportunity for creative imaginations to soar. I came across the image above, very much in the spirit of the process we embrace with our boys. A wonderful paper bird mask by the talented crew over at Sweet Paul Magazine. If you are looking for a last minute costume, Paul’s step by step instructions follow. Have fun designing, and please, send me your pictures!

 Images and excerpts sourced at Sweet Paul Magazine

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DIY Halloween Dragon

It’s that time of year again. Our thoughts go all things spooky and spectacular. At the DeGrace house, we are big into a handmade Halloween. Simple, tactile and unique, it makes the experience of the day that much more special. Each of our boys has a connection to their chosen disguise through their own efforts to craft and create it. It is a time to rally the collective creative energy of the family, ultimately everyone teaching and learning from one another. It seems it offers the unique vision that anything is possible. Powerful indeed. Imagine it, and create it.

One of our most memorable recent projects was a Chinese Dragon. It began with the imagination of our youngest son. Like all projects it presented a myriad of design challenges and problems to solve. How to create a structure light enough to carry? Can I see where I am going? And perhaps most importantly, how do I still get to the door for candy? Paper Mache was the medium of choice, over an aluminum wire frame.

The Dragon has been used multiple years, by the boys together, as well as groups individually, with groups of their friends. The head hangs proudly in their bedrooms now. Like most creative adventures, there were benefits and outcomes we couldn’t have anticipated. Three young brothers learning to work together to walk in unison was priceless. Each taking a turn at the head to lead the charge. All equally invested, and valued. The gifts of collaboration and design. Happy Halloween!

Images by author

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Aggregated Porosity Canopy

This summer, a team of students gathered at the Hunan University school of Architecture in China, for a Digital Architecture Laboratory project. The team’s challenge was to use digital technology to solve for the program, designing a structure that provided shade, and fit within an approximately 10-by-10-by-20-foot area. The solution was a beautiful sculptural plywood canopy. Architects from the university, UNstudio and Zaha Hadid Architects participated with the students to create their concept for an exterior waiting area, providing shade under the canopy.
Design in the digital age provides a freedom to explore complex compositions of form. Certainly historically plans have been drawn by hand to document intricate built elements, but not with the speed, accuracy or opportunity to study the three dimensional characteristics so completely. Even so, nothing replaces the need to build and mock up sculptural elements in the process of study. Utilizing the accuracy of digital design tools and laser cutting , the canopy’s design team assembled each piece by hand using plywood, steel, tensile cable mesh and fasteners.
“The canopy is supported by six L-shaped steel sections anchored to a wall. To these are attached a set of six curving, laser-cut plywood ribs, which are cross-braced by additional ribs running parallel to the ground. Tensile steel mesh is fastened to this underlying grid, providing netting to which the hexagonal plywood panels could be attached. Made with off-the-shelf hardware pieces assembled into a customized circular joint, the fasteners allow each hexagon to be tuned by hand, ensuring panels are precisely positioned on the x, y, and, z axes”.
I embrace the opportunities for precision and accuracy that digital tools offer, while standing firm on the need to built and create by hand. This seems an excellent example of how old and new processes can come together to create beautiful, functional solutions.
Excerpts, Images and story source found here.

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Creative play…

Today I thought I would take a break from my “What I saw in…” travel series and share the work of Jonas Jungblut with you. I was recently in Santa Barbara with two good friends (yes, I do love to travel!) and picked up the Santa Barbara Magazine to check out the arts scene there. I was immediately struck by the organic quality of Jungblut’s sculptures. Untitled (shown above) is made of driftwood found along the beaches in Santa Barbara. I suppose you could interpret this sculpture in many ways, but after reading up about Jungblut – originally from Berlin, Germany – being exposed to the gritty guerilla street art scene perhaps explains a lot. On the other hand, when the sculpture is set on sand, with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop, it tells a very different story.


A balancing act… not an easy task to achieve indeed, especially with a piece like this, 476 (shown above) are made of beach pebbles. I feel I could sit on the buff all day and just bask in its tranquility. The quiet delicacy of his work is, dare I say, contagious. Lately I’ve been feeling the need for (more) balance in life and the crave for quietness.

{ Photography by Jonas Jungblut / top / bottom image scanned from Santa Barbara Magazine Summer 2011 }

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