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What Most Of You Will NOT Be Sipping Tonight. The über Exclusive Angel Champagne.

So, what champagne will you be toasting with tonight to ring in the New Year? Dom Perignon? Cristal? Taittinger's? Perhaps a good sparkling wine or even sparkling apple cider. But odds are you won't be drinking Angel Champagne unless you're either very in the know, or personal friends with Mariah Carey.

Wood Sculptures That look Like Anything But. The Work Of Ricky Swallow.

above: Come together. Below: detail of Come together

Australian born sculptor and painter Ricky Swallow has many talents. Only one of which are his realistic wood carvings made with Jelutong, English Lime, Walnut and Pear wood.

Although he has wonderful bronze works and watercolors, too, it's his wood carvings that emulate canvas, rubber, animals and more I want to share with you. The appearance of these sculptures suggest they are made of materials other than wood.

The majority of the sculptures below are made of Jelutong*

Sleeping Range:



The Bricoleur:

Field Recording/Highland Park Hydra:

Everything is nothing:

The arrangement:

Private dancer:

Together is the new alone:

Younger than yesterday


Growing Pains (contingency for beginners):

You can read a review or Ricky's 2006 show in the NY Times here.

*What is Jelutong?

Jelutong (Dyera costulata) is a type of hardwood also known as jelutong bukit or jelutong paya. It grows in Malaysia, Borneo, and Sumatra and has the appearance of a straight grained wood with fine, even texture. Colors range from creamy-white sapwood and heartwood, maturing to a pale straw-yellow.

It is light, soft, brittle, and weak with good stability in service, low decay resistance, and works easily with both hand and power tools.

This type of wood planes to a nice, clean surface and glues, screws, and nails without difficulty. Stains, paints, and varnishes fairly well.

It is popular for model making, patterns, wooden shoes, battery separators, and drawing boards. Also used for interior joinery and corestock for doors. Excellent wood for carving and sculpture due to its softness. Latex in the wood is extracted for chewing gum.

above: Ricky Swallow, Field Recordings
Published by Craftsman House, 2005
Edited by Ashley Crawford
Text by Justin Paton

The artist at work and with his "Killer mask":

above left photo by Brett Cody Rogers, above right photo by Diana Panuccio

Ricky now works and lives in Los Angeles and has several publications to his name and is represented by the following galleries:

Modern Art
23/25 Eastcastle Street
London W1W 8DF
T +44 (0)20 7299 7950
F +44 (0)20 7299 7951

Marc Foxx
6150 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90042
T +1 323 857 5571
F +1 323 857 5573

Darren Knight Gallery
840 Elizabeth Street, Waterloo NSW 2017
Sydney, Australia
T +61 2 9699 5353
F +61 2 9699 5254

Hamish McKay Gallery
1st Floor, 39 Ghuznee Street
Wellington New Zealand
T + 64 4 384 7140
F + 64 4 384 7142

Ricky Swallow is presently showing at the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia through February 2010

Speaking of wood carvings, don't forget to check out:
Peter Rolfe's Sculpted Wood Human Form Dressers here

Seven Deadly Sin Snowdomes By Ligorano And Reese

Only a select few know that I've got a ridiculously enormous collection of snowdomes ( also called snowglobes, shakies or waterglobes). Most of the over 300 that I own are packed away in boxes with the exception of a few of the more artsy and unusual ones. By that I mean limited editions, signed and numbered and sold either in museums, galleries or directly from the artist.

Hans van Bentem's Custom Chandeliers For Rock And Royal Get Even Hipper

A few years ago I did a post on the chandelier designs by Dutch sculptor Hans van Bentem for Rock and Royal, a Rotterdam based company that handcrafts giant beautiful ceiling-suspended custom crystal chandeliers for a select clientele and museums (15 of the chandeliers were commissioned for the Netherlands Escher Museum).

It's time for an update on these one-of-a-kind works. Hans van Bentem's hip chandeliers continue to defy the traditional ornate crystal monstrosities that we are used to seeing, now with even edgier designs.

Made from high quality Bohemian crystal, each is a hand crafted, custom-made work of art, tailored to the customer's personal taste and specifications.

The taste of their customers has grown trendier since my last post, given that their impressive works now include more weapons, a diamond, a dick and even a 'virus':







The creations also include a Human form, a Buddha, and a pipe that seems to be inspired by surrealist Magritte's famous "This Is Not A Pipe" painting:




Of course there's the requisite Skull and Crossbones:

and a Spider:

and a Shark:

In addition to these unusual, but really beautifully crafted pieces, they do have some kinder, gentler creations.






and some very random ones like the Hammer and Sickle:

and a Wheelbarrow:

Some really incredible installations:

Rock and Royal also creates custom mosaics by artist Arno Coenen, you can see those here.

Rock and Royal
P.O. Box 21046
3001 AA Rotterdam
The Netherlands
tel. 0031 (0) 10 - 280 71 71
fax 0031 (0) 10 - 280 70 71

About Hans van Bentem:

Born in The Hague, he now lives and works in Rotterdam, the Czech Republic and China. A multi-talented artist, he works in ceramic as well as glass and creates many installations and sculptures beyond the chandeliers, like his wonderful glass aliens, a few of which are shown below:

see his own website here.

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