"I've never seen anything like this before. To me, they actually have a unique beauty about them. This has to be very tedious and pain-staking work, but as long as the glue holds up they should last for many many years." (‘wonder how many pencil sharpeners she wore out in doing these art pieces?) - Remember these are all pencils.
Q: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started with this form of art?
A: I didn’t start making sculptures from pencils until 1999. I had gone to Mass College of Art, majoring in Glass, in the 90’s. When I graduated, I couldn’t afford to do Glass anymore, so I started to experiment with other materials. I was intrigued with sea urchins, and tried to replicate them with various materials, and finally settled on using (an obvious choice!) nails. My nail sculptures grew larger and more complex, but I still couldn’t get enough diversity of form to satisfy my vision. I started experimenting with other pointy things, and eventually had the idea to use pencils.
Q: How do you create your art and where do you get inspiration from?
A: My pencil sculptures are created by turning the pencils into beads, and sewing them together using a sculptural beading technique called “peyote stitch”. I get my inspiration form nature, Ernst Haeckel and making lots of mistakes. A mistake, or disaster, can sometimes be a great source of inspiration, cause for me, at least, it sends my mind off in a new direction.
Q: What were some of your most intricate pieces and how did you solve the challenges involved?
A: It is kind of hard to explain, but the sculptures with legs and petals really took a lot of figuring out, taking apart, and do-overs. Kraken and Ibentina are two of the most advanced of my sculptures, in terms of making up new ways to use my technique. I’ve invented a few new stitches, at least, I’ve never seen them in any beading lessons.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I’m not very good at planning. I have lots of ideas, I just cannot seem to find enough time to bring them all to fruition. It seems that I am drawn to processes that take a lot of experimenting and time to complete. I just try to take it one pencil at a time, I guess.
You can find our more information about Jennifer and view more of her work at her website: Jennifer Maestre (http://www.jennifermaestre.com/index.php)
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