CONFETTISYSTEM'S PINATA

View of CONFETTISYSTEM New York Studio, 2012

Brooklyn-based design duo Nicholas Andersen and Julie Ho, whose piñatas are shown here, created lobby décor for the exhibition. “They hand-make objects or hangings for environments out of simple, easily accessible materials like paper or Mylar,” says Yuzna. “They’re one of many practitioners today who exist between different sectors of culture: fine art for MOMA P.S. 1, décor for stores, objects for their friends’ living rooms. You can call them craftsman, designer, artist; it doesn’t matter to them.”

Paula Hayes' Terrarium

Three iterations of Giant Terrarium, 2008–09

Hayes worked with artisans to encase this terrarium in hand-blown glass. "She selects the rocks, selects the dirt, layers it up and does the gardening and views the whole thing as a living work,” says Yuzna. “When she sells these pieces collectors and to people who see it as more as traditional decoration for their home or business, Paula makes them adopt it. She tells them ‘It’s part of your responsibility to keep these plants alive.’”

Aisen Caro Chacin's Human Sonar

Echolocation Headphones (from Sensory Pathways for the Plastic Mind), 2012

“Aisen Caro Chacin is interested in creating wearable devices that expand our human senses,” says Yuzna. “This helmet gives you echo-location capability like the sonar that bats or dolphins use. It creates high pitched frequencies that you can’t even hear, one in front, one behind. You're able to understand the depth and density of objects so if wear a blind fold, you can tell if someone’s holding up a piece of fabric or a piece of wood.”

Aisen Caro Chacin's MP3 Mouthpiece

Play-A-Grill (from Sensory Pathways for the Plastic Mind), 2013

The “Tech” imprinted mouthpiece is embedded with an MP3 Player. “You wear it like a retainer but you can load up your own songs and play them by pressing with your tongue on the top of your mouth,” explains Yuzna. “It plays the music through your jawbone and your skull instead of through your eardrums. The fidelity is crazy because your body itself is actually a great conductor for sound.”

Scratch and Sniff Wallpaper

Detail of Vigilant Floral, 2011

Flavor Paper and Dan Funderburgh's ]Vigilant Floral, appeared on one wall of the MAD exhibit. For a separate piece, not pictured, Yuzna says, “We put scented wallpaper in the stairwell so that as you walk from floor to floor, different layers of scent add on until you get to the top floor. Olfactory artist Carlos Benaim broke the scent down into three layers, created a kind of slurry with the different scents and screen printed it by hand on top of the ink and images, so the scent becomes like another layer of screen printing.“

K to J's Wax-Encrusted Letter Form

Process Still

This is a wax-encrusted mold for a letter form from Keetra Dean Dixon and Jonathan Keller Keller. “They create three-D typography and wanted to exploit the space between art object and design object,” says Yuzna. “Over a period of time they poured wax onto these letterform specimens until they become like geological formations. When they remove the letter forms, actual words are made by the empty space in these geodes. It reminds people that graphic design has a real physicality to it.”

Steven and William Ladd's Beadwork Volcano

Volcano, 2008

This detail highlights the intricate beadwork produced by brothers Steven and William Ladd. “They’ve created this series of hand-made sculptures with felt objects and bead work that become almost like a topographical landscape,” Yuzna says.

Kings County Distillery's Chocolate Whiskey

“Kings County is the first new distillery in New York since the prohibition era,” says Yuzna. “They produce all of their whiskey out of the Navy Yard, where they grow barley on site and use old distillery apparatus to make small batches of whiskey, chocolate whiskey and moonshine.”

Miriam Ellner's Gold Plated Glass

Threads (detail)

“Painting on the back side of glass with precious metal materials dates back to 200 BC and had a resurgence in 17th century France,” Yuzna explains. “Miriam created a set of glass dividing screens for the exhibition and used every trick in the book -- gold and white platinum and silver and onyx and oil paint -- to show that these ancient techniques are still alive and well.”

Millner's

Ocean Forms (detail)

This example of the ancient "Verre eglomise" technique features Palladium leaf, 22-karat gold leaf and various precious metals, inks and polychromes.

“Painting on the back side of glass with precious metal materials dates back to 200 BC and had a resurgence in 17th century France,” Yuzna explains. “Miriam created a set of glass dividing screens for the exhibition and used every trick in the book to demonstrates that these ancient techniques are still alive and well.”

François Chambard's Theramin

Pink Perch (from the Odd Harmonics series created by UM Projects for Butterscotch Records), 2013

Chambard re-imagined the Theremin instrument known for its spooky sci-fi sounds. “Francois is very passionate about music," Yuzna says. "He creates custom fabricated recording studio consoles and keyboard racks for bands like Wilco. THis piece has a weird modernist Memphis-style bastard child thing going on, but it's a completely functioning Theremin.“

Joseph Cavalier's Stained Glass

Jackie O in White, 2014

“Joseph does different kinds of weird digital printing and he’s figured out different ways to cut up the glass," notes Yuzna. "He was interested in the idea that stained glass used to be a way of creating icons. In old cathedrals when light passed through the blessed stained glass it became holy. He wants to continue those traditions but instead of showing the saints of old, he’s interested in doing the cultural saints of now.”

Skull Anatomy by Ryan Matthew Cohn

19th century medically mummified head cut in half to show the major vein and arteries, 2012–14

“There’s an actual heritage, similar to taxidermy, devoted to the manipulation of bones,” says Yuzna. “Ryan discovered this 'exploding skulls' technique created by a Frenchman for medical education. He continued this tradition, got real human skulls, separated them into parts, put them back together and made the armatures for them.”

Fredericks and Mae Paddles

Beach Tennis, 2013

Crafted from birch wood, cork, ink and cotton by Jolie Mae Signorile and Gabriel Fredericks Cohen, the paddles celebrate the simplicity of pre-digital diversions. “Fredericks and May make arrows, kites and darts out of wood and string and feathers," says Yuzna. "They're keeping this old tradition of hand-made toys and games alive, but making it contemporary with these fresh colors.”

Co.Create

From Scented Wallpaper To A Musical Mouthpiece: See 14 Handmade Creations From The Makers NYC Show

The curators of NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial talk about the new showcase of the work of New York's maddest craftspeople, designers, technologists, and artists.

Chocolate whiskey, jawbone-wired MP3 players, flavored wallpaper and exploding skulls share equal billing in a current exhibition showcasing objects by New York City makers. NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial running through October 12 at the Museum of Arts and Design, aims the spotlight at an eye-popping range of hand-made works. "At its core," says museum director Glenn Adamson, 'The 'maker movement' expands on a tradition rooted in skilled craftsmanship, a phenomenon often overlooked in an era dominated by digital technology."

Curator Jake Yuzna deliberately cast a wide net in selecting roughly 100 contributors for the show. "Glenn and I believe in representing all disciplines on a level playing field. Fabrication and craftsmanship and design and culinary works and toys and fashion and new disciplines we don’t even have names for—they’re all part of culture. We want to showcase highly skilled people from the five boroughs who make things."

"More than anything (the show) is like a toolbox, a giant survey of what’s possible. a source of inspiration," Yuzna adds. "Just look at all this stuff that's being produced right now: you can make toys out of wood and string or you can create technology that changes the way you perceive the world."

In the gallery above, Yuzna offers his curatorial take on the crafty techniques fueling some of NYC Makers's most ingenious pieces.

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