Japanese Designer Toshihiro Otomo has designed a set of flower-shaped colored pencils that delicately shed their petals when sharpened. The writing utensils were inspired by the shape and color of Japan’s most symbolic plants, which include dandelions, bellflowers, and cherry and plum blossoms.
The pencils are made at an environmentally-conscious factory in Japan, and manufactured from recycled paper pulp. The set of five comes packaged inside a minimally designed pentagonal box which is currently available in Spoon & Tamago’s online shop.
Texas-based artist and maker Bobby Duke runs a popular YouTube channel where he posts a variety of art and craft videos on stone carving, sculpting, and painting projects. His latest piece was the creation of a fun floating cup that appears to pour a splash of liquid pencils. Duke is auctioning the final piece on Ebay with part of the proceeds going to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
Photographer Mike Tinney and industrial designer Alex Hammond were discussing the current state of technology and creativity when they had an observation: with enormous advances in technology, client demands for speed and quick turnaround often venture into the unreasonable leaving precious little time for thinking, sketching, or ideation. Despite advancements in software, the duo found that pencils remained central to their own process of formulating ideas and began to wonder if this held through across creative industries.
“The pencil and it’s ability to bridge the gap between hand and paper so effectively makes it exceptionally powerful, and as we’ve found, still much loved amongst the creative heroes of our generation,” shares Hammond. As they reached out to other established artists, designers, and photographers they began to request writing utensils to photograph using a special setup. “For each pencil we art directed the shoot to have a very subtle ‘nod’ to them or their work. When that wasn’t suitable, we let the pencil they had chosen to represent them talk for itself, documenting them in their purest form.”
It’s a penguin on a trampoline what more do you want! I’m trying to figure out what I find so satisfying about this silly animation by Bashir Sultani. I think it’s the ending, or maybe it’s just my undying love for Pingu. You can watch the full clip below. Bashir also makes drawings using salt (which you can see below) but I’d like to request more penguin animations.
Originally inspired by the form and function of a sea urchin, artist Jennifer Maestre constructs unwieldy organic forms using pencils and pencil shavings that bloom like unworldly flowers. Some of her latest pieces appear to have grown tentacles and rest atop pedestals like scaley octopi. The artworks are designed to simultaneously attract the viewer but also offer a certain aesthetic defense. She shares in her artist statement:
The spines of the urchin, so dangerous yet beautiful, serve as an explicit warning against contact. The alluring texture of the spines draws the touch in spite of the possible consequences. The tension unveiled, we feel push and pull, desire and repulsion. The sections of pencils present aspects of sharp and smooth for two very different textural and aesthetic experiences. Paradox and surprise are integral in my choice of materials.
Several pieces by Maestre were recently on view as part of an exhibition titled “Waste to Art” in Baku, Azerbaijan. You can see more of her works-in-progress on Facebook.
Artist Cindy Chinn (previously) recently created a commissioned work for the California-based Epiphany Elephant Museum, a miniature graphite carving of a family of elephants. The piece, titled “Elephant Walk,” features the animals on the tip of a carpenter’s pencil alongside trees that are dotted to imitate foliage. To accurately carve the minuscule materials, Chinn utilizes a magnifying lamp and trinocular microscope. If you are interested in commissioning a piece, or would like to see her other carvings, she has works for sale on her Etsy store.
Attracted to the shape of the shavings that were formed while sharpening her pencil, designer Haruka Misawa decided to explore how they could be formed into realistic flowers. Printing paper with a color gradation, she tightly wraps it in a pencil-like shape so the flowers blossom outward when scraped against the shaver. Each flower created in this method is completely unique, Misawa’s technique making it impossible to replicate the same design of each of her 15-40 mm flowers twice.
We’ve seen a number of artists working with pencil leads over the last few years, where the narrow dimensions of graphite are carved into miniscule objects. This recent piece by Nebraska-based artist Cindy Chinn is particularly ingenious, an entire carpenter’s pencil is turned into a tiny train, trestle, and bridge. “This piece was designed using straight lead pieces for the rails, with the tiny carved train placed and securely glued on top of the rails,” Chinn shares. “The train engine is only 3/16″ of an inch tall. The pencil is 5-5/8″ long and mounted in a wood shadowbox frame as shown in the photos.”