Tag Archives: art/photography

Amazing sculptures (or: what I want for Christmas)

Have you seen anything like this before?



I thought not. How about this?

Universal Clef

Universal Clef

These are the work of Bathsheba Grossman, who describes herself as “an artist exploring math and science in sculpture”.

My first reaction to seeing these and her other handheld sculptures was to want them. All of them.

They are beautiful, sometimes complex, and very satisfying. They seem to me to be what the artists who did Celtic knowtwork designs would have produced if they’d had three dimensions to work in and had seen M. C. Escher’s more geometrical drawings.

My second thought was that these shapes are impossible to make: imagine trying to carve one, or to produce a mould to cast one…

My third thought was that she had, however, made them. Otherwise she wouldn’t be offering them for sale. So off I went to her technique page to find out how on earth they’re done.

They are indeed impossible to make by traditional processes. Although Bathsheba will typically make a plasticine model as a starting point, the actual sculpture is produced by first using CAD software to define its precise shape, and then using 3-D printing process to make the actual object. This involves building the sculpture up layer by layer from powdered metal. A few more stages turn this into a solid metal sculpture.

To find out more about these and other works of hers, visit her website. Then buy one of each and send them to me for Christmas…

You’ll also find some remarkable internally-etched blocks of glass, containing such things as a genuinely 3-D map of our nearby stars… Beautiful stuff.


  • Photos used by permission. Do not re-use without linking to http://www.bathsheba.com and crediting the artist.
  • Bathsheba describes her glass pieces as “modelling three-dimensional data” and mentions here that she’s interested in suggestions for further such pieces–see her site for details.

An art and photography blog

OK, well I want to try out the ‘trackback’ feature and I also want to people to look at RachelCreative‘s blog, so here are links to several of my favourite posts on the parts of her site I’ve explored so far–let’s see whether the trackback thing does indeed do its job.

  • Marshmallow on skewer: simple but very appetizing. How on earth does someone capture the essence of a toasted marshmallow in a few lines? Like this, evidently.
  • Dog Bignose and Ghostly: interesting glimpse of the drawing process. A curve and two dots, already with their own character, becoming a dog.
  • Chairs: My kind of photograph: making the everyday look beautiful.

When I took “A” level General Studies too many years ago to admit (which I therefore won’t), one of the questions in the exam was “How would you define art? Discuss the claims of one of the following to be an art form”, and the one I chose to write about was photography. I notice, somewhat to my shame, that I’ve mentioned “art and photography” in this post’s title. That’s not really right, since good photography is art, and I think this applies particularly to good black-and-white photography. It’s not just taking a picture of something ready-made; I think it’s showing the viewer how you see something. Or sometimes it’s taking what you’d think of as Nothing–two chairs and a table, for example–and arranging it in such a way that it becomes Something. And making Something out of Nothing is definitely creative.

What I like about Rachel’s blog is the way she lets us see the process at work; it makes me want to get my SLR out and start taking photographs with it again 🙂

And Rachel, don’t let the review go to your head 😉

Things you can do with vegetables


Well, one thing you can do is make musical instruments out of them.

Recently I heard a piece on the radio about an orchestra who do this. After the concert they cook their home-made instruments into a tasty vegetable stew or soup which the audience are invited to experience as well as the music.

They are the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra, and you can hear some samples on their website.

The samples are mostly quite avant-garde, maybe with elements of free jazz, and there’s definitely no attempt at anything which requires beautifully tuned harmony — but it’s worth listening to. As suggested on the site, the music is certainly very vegetable in nature; some of it sounds as if it’s meant to be played or heard by triffids. One of the longer samples has some impressively saxophone-like sounds, which I think are actually produced by an instrument using a red or green pepper as its bell.

Apparently they do a Kraftwerk cover version, but I think I’d need to hear that to be convinced of the similarity

I’d love to hear from anyone who’s actually experience one of this orchestra’s performances (and subsequent soup).


Or: you can make art out of them. And quite impressive art, at that. I recently discovered this photo album of watermelon sculptures on Rachel Vo‘s page and I’m impressed. I wasn’t aware that such things existed. Do have a look. (Warning: once you’ve finished enjoying them as art, you may well start feeling hungry and craving fresh fruit.)