Curious Trends


Animal inspired furniture and objets d'art

Animal design art and home accessories are likely to become even more popular in coming years. Both animal loving pet owners and non-animal owning art lovers seem especially attracted to the quirky cuteness of primitive creatures dressed in clothing, in domestic settings, or painted in unusual and exotic colourways. Wild animals and birds in sculpture and ceramic design are increasingly presented as approachable friends in nature. Contemporary pieces of furniture and modern lighting designs mimic antique hunting lodge style:

By far the most common animal subject for objets d’art is inevitably the dog – seen here painted pop art style and also dressed (looking almost real).

Modern day pests such as squirrels and foxes are also popular – the squirrel here is by Malene Hartman at the Royal College of Art and the fox by Stephanie Quayle.

Quayle creates large, unique animal sculptures in ‘untamed’ clay. She is fascinated with ‘animal-ness’ and ‘pursing what it is like to be animal.’ Heavily grogged sculptors’ clay allows expressive lines and movements – the earthy clay comes alive with animal character.

Susan O’Byrne gives her animals an awkward vulnerability so they reflect almost human emotions. Her animals are the stuff of childhood imagination: animals that through storytelling, legend and folklore have been used to simplify the complexities of adult life. O’Byrne makes her animals using a wire framework onto which layers of printed and patterned pieces of porcelain paperclay are applied to form a skin. The wire frame is full of natural twists and kinks - and the shrinkage of the clay in firing results in the characterfully imperfect appearance of each piece. Here they were presented in curiosity cabinet style:

Anna Lambert’s handbuilt earthenware pieces are constructed by coiling, pinching and various modelling techniques. After firing the creations are coloured with oxides, underglaze washes and transparent glaze. The birds and nests she produces are expressions of her response to the fragility of her natural surroundings and eternal renewal.

Other animal forms spotted include a cardboard polar bear, a multi-coloured snake sofa and retro-style blue glazed miniature ceramic animals.

Hunting lodge style is still in evidence and has been given a contemporary makeover at the Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris. Antlers have been used to make chairs and lamps. Works of design art include bronze ceiling antlers and a modern boar’s head teapot by Wieki Somers.

Hunting trophies are still in demand – both the antique wooden variety (favoured by the ski chalet set), and modern recreations - including cast metal wall lights and a giant ram’s head, possibly a decorative feature for a nightclub or restaurant.

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