Jennifer Maestre creates stunning sculptures out of pencils. Yes, you read right: pencils!
Her work is hard to describe and difficult to compare with anything else that I’ve seen before.
She was originally inspired by the form and function of sea urchins:
“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.”
I interviewed Jennifer and asked her about her stunning art, her sources of inspiration and her beginnings.
I’ve also included a selection of her incredible work. A true designer with limitless imagination…
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started with this form of art?
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.
How do you create your art and where do you get inspiration from?
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.
What were some of your most intricate pieces and how did you solve the challenges involved?
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.
What are your plans for the future?
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
What do you think of this type of art? Please share your comments below…