London-based designer, artist, and all-around professional brainstormer Dominic Wilcox is the person behind Little Inventors, a global project that connects kid inventors with grown-up experts to bring children’s ideas to life. Little Inventors took root in 2015, when Wilcox began establishing inventing workshops for children in his native Sunderland in the north of England. Since then, Little Inventors has steadily grown to a global scale. The organization currently hosts over 7,000 youthful ideas on their website, where adults chime in with words of affirmation to champion the original thinking that goes into each project.
Some of the clever concepts designed through the project include Connor’s customizable space boot, an invention that quite literally allows astronauts to leave their mark on interplanetary explorations, an electronic fruit bowl by Rumaan that sends out alerts when produce is about to expire, and 6-year-old Emilia’s snake-like robot that takes firefighting into its own hands. The video below shows kid inventors at work, and explains more about the project. You can discover more ideas and access resources for having an inventing session of your own on the Little Inventors website. (via IDEO)
OWL, a Libson-based lamp brand founded by two architects in 2016, offers a wide range of friendly wild animals that can be turned into volumetric lamps using simple folding techniques. As you might guess, OWL offers a few different owl designs, as well as roaring hippos, curious rabbits, and proud penguins. Hugo Formiga and Teresa Almeida, the designers behind OWL, explain to Colossal that their “most recent designs have focused on large, endangered mammals. The selection tends to raise awareness about wildlife and simultaneously recreates the animals in a playful and abstract manner.The designs seem to trigger stories about themselves and are conceived as fun lighting objects with a hint of personality.” You can find their range of DIY kits on Etsy. (via Colossal Submissions)
Tokyo-based photographer RK explores the far reaches of Japan, as well as neighboring Asian countries, shooting images that capture both timeless and of-the-moment scenes. RK often includes signs of life in his landscape images, whether a fisherman casting a line beneath a vibrant Japanese maple tree, or a carefree skateboarder cruising down a paved road with Hokkaido looming in the distance. The photographer also highlights the densely-packed nature of life in Japan, from masses of commuters forming a sea of umbrellas to shop owners surrounded by huge selections of neatly organized inventory.
Despite the highly composed quality of his photos, RK shares with Colossal, “There’s always new places I want to take photos, so I always try to find new compositions and ideas when arriving at the photo spot.” RK explains that he came across photography by chance: he was immersed in street culture and working as a professional DJ, when he joined an urban running crew and the founder asked him to take some photos of his teammates. From there, he dove into the field, teaching himself to shoot and edit images.
Artist Heesoo Lee (previously) uses multi-layered techniques to form intricate trees, complete with leaves and branches, that seem to grow out of her functional ceramic vessels. Lee’s careful use of color establishes a seasonal mood in each of her works, some evoking the warm tones and fallen leaves of autumn, while others capture the barren beauty of winter. Each woodland scene is drawn from Lee’s imagination. The artist shares that she happened upon her current style of work by chance: her background is as a painter, and she used clay more as a smooth canvas until one day she was working on a tight deadline and was attempting to repair a broken pot, which inspired her to build three-dimensionally.
Lee explains that she uses translucent porcelain because its “beautiful clarity and color and is the perfect canvas for the bright underglaze and glazes I use.” The artist begins by forming each tree individually, starting with the closest and largest trees as she builds perspective by filling in the background with progressively smaller trunks, each of which is individually formed with a clay coil. Next, for her non-wintry pieces, each leaf is individually formed and applied to create the dense foliage that further increases the sense of depth on the surface of her ceramics. After an initial firing, Lee applies colored details using painted underglaze, which must be applied without overlapping different glazes to prevent discoloration after firing. Lastly, she chooses from a range of finishing glazes, selected depending on the desired effect, like an icy blue vernal pool or clearly defined leaves.
Lee shares that she first came to the United States, looking for freedom and adventure and with little knowledge of English, first living in Berkeley, California. She started re-exploring ceramics outside of the strictures of traditional Korean ceramics, rediscovering her love of the tactile medium after studying painting in college. Lee has been a working artist alongside her partner, a fellow ceramic artist for many years, and cites her time in residence at the Archie Bray Foundation as a seminal experience:
My work, mostly in medium-range porcelain, expanded beyond painted surfaces, my mainstay for many years. I pushed my work beyond the motifs I had been using for many years–flowers, mostly–and built larger than I had before. I was inspired by my children, the landscape of the places where I lived, and my own childhood in Korea, and reflected these themes in my work. I found that working in a place like the Bray, surrounded by other artists who created a supportive, inviting, and welcoming community, gave me the freedom to grow as an artist.
Lee lives and works in Helena, Montana, where she has a home studio and kiln. You can see more of Lee’s in-progress and finished work on Instagram, and she also keeps her Etsy shop updated with new pieces available for purchase.
JaeCheol Park, who goes by the artist name PaperBlue, creates intricate drawings in the style of architectural renderings. But rather than imagining a buildable building, Park employs the classic illustrative aesthetic to form fantastical urban environments where structures appear and disappear, bleeding into one another in a haze of geometric patterns. His loose linework and intensive layering enliven the historical architectural styles he highlights in his drawings. The artist, who is based in Seongnam, South Korea, has a broad audience for his digital and concept art along with his more traditional drafting-inspired work. Park shares drawing tutorials on Youtube and finished work on Facebook. He has also published a book, which is available on Amazon. (via ARCHatlas)
Simon Prades (previously) uses muted color palettes to convey feelings of introspection, inquisitiveness, and even rage in his editorial illustrations. His work often features human portraits interwoven with natural elements such as coiling snakes and growing plants which combine detailed realism with abstracted and surreal environments. The German-Spanish artist and designer currently lives and works in Saarbrücken, Germany, and is regularly commissioned by a wide variety of publications—from Rolling Stone to Outside Magazine. You can see more from the artist on his website, where he sells select artworks as prints, and on Behance.
Puzzle wizards Nervous System (previously) explore the expansive qualities of earth and space in two new mind-boggling puzzles. The Infinite Earth puzzle includes 442 pieces, and the Infinite Moon has 186. Each can be rearranged in virtually an unlimited number of times. The math behind the magic is an icosahedral map projection, which applies the topology of a sphere without the traditional boundaries. You can learn more of the math behind the transposition from sphere to puzzle on Nervous System’s blog. Nervous System individually prints and laser cuts each puzzle on birch plywood in their Somerville workshop. You can find the Infinite Earth and Infinite Moon puzzles in The Colossal Shop!