Curious Trends


Artisan organic design: natural beauty in imperfection

Organic shapes, natural materials and inspiration from the living world are emerging in all areas of design art - including sculpture, furniture and fashion accessories. Hand crafted, eco-friendly, artisanal pieces are given added value over mass produced works due to their quirky imperfections and traceable, handmade provenance.

Contemporary ceramics:

Jasmin Rowlandson’s works are made from porcelain and terracotta paperclay, to create “delicate, organic, fronded forms.” She also works with paper-thin sheets of clay and press moulding techniques. The artist says, “The core inspiration of this body of work is a celebration and dedication to the immense beauty and fragility of the natural world.My sculptures are explored from a feminine viewpoint and inspired by my relationship and fascination with nature, the land, water, and the environment. Current inspirations stem from places that captivate and hold an emotional and visual pull, from certain areas of coast, reef, field, and wood. To the uninhibited growth of corals, lichens, mosses and fungi. The eroticism of unfurling flowers. The awakening of seeds confident of their purpose. The wild places under log piles housing micro worlds.”

These images are of detailed organic sculptural ceramics by Nuala O’Donovan:

And here are some examples of Mette Maya Gregersen’s ceramic art:

And Hitomi Hosono’s moulded hand built porcelain pots:


Handmade in the UK, the nogg is a modern chicken coop that looks more like a sculpture. The nogg is in designed  in the shape of an egg, made to house from 2-4 chickens and to encourage domestic farming, while adding a touch of playful elegance. The nogg is suited to both urban or rural environments and is designed to enhance and complement its surroundings.

Oshibe by Tomomi Sayuda

Oshibe, meaning stamen in Japanese, is a playful interactive music and lighting sculpture. It is designed to represent the optimistic elements of life, including plants, eggs, light and the moon. When a semi-transparent egg is placed on top of one of five stamens, Oshibe plays ambient sounds, depending upon the particular stamen. Audiences can create their own sounds, using the locations and numbers of eggs. The aim of the interactive sculpture is to create a therapeutic and positive atmosphere. The idea is inspired by a Japanese ‘animistic’ view of life. Animism, which is the belief that everything has a spirit, including everyday objects such as trees and plants, is a belief in Japan that has existed since ancient times.

Stamen have the function of giving birth to the next generation of plants. The designer says, “Through the tactile nature of Oshibe, audiences are reminded about the origin of life, their curiosity and their first impressions of everything around them. Oshibe is a digital art piece, which works with computer programming and digital equipment. Its secret is in the blending of its tactile and poetic core.”

Other furniture pictured here includes Joseph Walsh’s Enignum table and Equinox wall hanging,

along with wood and marble pieces like the desk below, wood and resin lamp bases, paper lanterns, mother of pearl finishes and crocheted natural curiosities.


Michelle Griffith’s work explores the natural rhythm of traditional shibori techniques in order to create contemporary three dimensional sculptures. Working predominantly in whites and creams, Michelle records the actions found within shibori; stitching, binding, gathering, manipulating and folding - not through the expected dye process, but purely as texture and form. Shibori is a Japanese word, derived from the verb root “shiboru” - to wring squeeze or press, although tie-dye is the popular name for shibori in the Western world. However, this term doesn’t fully describe the great diversity of techniques which have been developed, or the degree of skill and knowledge required to execute them.

It was whilst in Japan in 2001, as part of her Embroiderers' Guild studies, that Griffiths first observed artisans, who had spent their entire lives manipulating cloth prior to its being dyed. As a trained musician, Michelle was fascinated to see that the repetitive shibori actions were not only represented on the cloth as pattern and texture, but were also imprinted upon the artisans hands and minds, much like the memory of the tie-dye process on the fabric itself.  The artisans' actions were so impressed upon their memories that they worked subconsciously with the cloth with no need to watch their hands as they worked. She wished to learn more about these traditional techniques in order that these skills would not be lost with the passing generations, whilst developing her own personal shibori vocabulary - made suitable for the 21st Century.

Kenji Motoyama created this large organic flat bamboo sculpture, as seen at the Collect art fair at the Saatchi Gallery:

Heringa/Van Kalsbeek are known for their unique, organic inspired sculptures. This Dutch duo, represented in the UK by the Vegas Gallery, create mixed media sculptures, working primarily with resin. They draw inspiration from the unpredictability of nature and fashion their pieces to resemble the organic process of growth.


Maud Traon’s curious creations look like molten lava with a touch of disco glitter – a sort of 1970s styling of a 21st century naturalistic theme.

Edgar Mosa’s ‘mountain’ collection of oversized jewellery employs natural materials to encapsulate the passing or time or “a rite of passage – like rings of growth in wood, the layers of colourful nacre in a shell and the blooming of roses”  and to indicate that the rituals of existence remain.

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