Once you’ve learned how to appreciate and enjoy black coffee, what should you do with all the unnecessary coffee accessories, like wooden stir sticks? You could follow the lead of Jonathan Brilliant and make beautiful art with them.
Jonathan has developed a method of weaving together coffee stirrers (preferably the 7 inch round-tip ones from Starbucks) that use their own tensile strength to create large, organic sculptures with no adhesives or binders.
The installation shown here was created in Sumter, South Carolina in 2007. It took 14 days to weave together the 60,000 stirrers that flow through a rotunda and wrap around a glowing chandelier. They stirrers held together for an incredible 6 months before they began to separate and fall apart—at which time they were donated to local schools.
View more of Jonathan’s work on his website.
[hat tip Baratza via My Modern Met]
posted by bwj
on 02.12.2013, under Misc.
Hopefully you’re reading this and a great wave hasn’t destroyed our coastal cities and the world hasn’t come to an end. But if it does, I hope you had a great cup of coffee this morning, the Mayans never even had the chance to taste it.
However, one civilization that does have a taste for coffee are Lithuanians, who I had the tremendous pleasure of meeting several this past weekend. Coffee Inn, Lithuania’s largest specialty coffee chain, has over 20 locations throughout the country and plans for many more. While I’ve yet to visit one, they roast their own single origin coffees and brew them with Hario V60s alongside a full espresso menu.
Last month, the company released this great ad, inspired by Hokusai’s famous woodblock print “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa,” for a campaign introducing the flat white to Lithuania. A quite poetic way of illustrating the message of “less milk, more coffee” to woo latte drinkers away from so much dairy.
The campaign was created by the agency Not Perfect in Vilnius and the epic coffee bean wave was crafted by the illustrator Karolis Strautniekas.
Mark Youd is an artist based in Caerphilly, near Cardiff, South Wales. Before Mark gets to work on his paintings, he starts the day with coffee, which inspired this creative series of photography called “Caffeine Planets.” I asked Mark to describe the process:
It’s a simple, fun project based on the patterns that develop in the crema on my morning coffee…I use Nespresso from a Krups Pixie machine topped up with hot water, by varying the angle of the mug when the coffee is being pumped and/or the speed the hot water is poured, I can influence the pattern that is created in the crema. I take a photo (with nothing more special than an iPhone) very soon after pouring. I then crop the images in photoshop and apply very basic contrast and colour filters (and a healthy dose of imagination) to them while I drink the coffee. -Mark Youd
Check out all of Mark’s Caffeine Planets on Flickr.
posted by bwj
on 07.17.2012, under Misc.
Last December, Albanian artist Saimir Strati set a world record with his mosaic made from 308 lbs of coffee beans. But last week, Russian artist Arkady Kim set a new record with his mural, “Awakening” using 397 lbs of coffee.
Kim’s mural, which spans 30 square meters in Moscow’s Gorky Central Park, took 12 days to piece together with the help of 5 assistants. Over one million beans were used to create the dramatic portrait of a woman’s face indulging in coffee’s powerful aroma.
While I’m not terribly interested in the image itself, the patience and vision required to turn various shades of roasted coffee beans into a mural this large is impressive. The mural was on display until yesterday, before the work of art was donated to a Russian freeze-dried coffee company. Hopefully they won’t be turning it into their product.
William LeGoullon is an Arizona-based artist and photographer who also happens to be inspired by the bean. A recent project called “Coffee Roasting Phases” was prompted by his experience working as a barista at Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe, AZ. It’s a strikingly simple composition revealing the physical changes coffee beans go through in the roasting process and it’s currently on exhibit at the Eye Lounge Gallery in Phoenix.
It’s fascinating to look at the fine details of something we handle each day, but rarely stop to inspect the subtleties. These photos really capture a unique perspective of coffee at a scale uncommon in our daily coffee routine. I would love to see a large print of this on a light box in a café somewhere. It serves as a good reminder of the craft behind each bean. Hopefully your coffee doesn’t resemble anything close to that last one.
More work from William in his portfolio and on his blog Dry Heat.
posted by bwj
on 02.23.2012, under Misc.
Continuing the DCILY series of world record coffee feats, the latest addition is a mosaic made with 1 million coffee beans (309 lbs) by Albanian artist Saimir Strati. The mosaic, titled “One World, One Family, One Coffee” was completed last week in Tirana, Albania. The image depicts five characters from different continents—an African drummer, Brazilian dancer, European accordion player, Japanese drummer and a country singer from the US. Strati wanted his image to convey how coffee brings us together:
I wanted to give the message that sharing love over a cup of coffee brings us closer, a cup of coffee brings us more love than a G20 meeting.
It took Strati 31 days to complete this epic coffee image, measuring 25 square meters. This is Strati’s 6th Guinness World Record mosaic—past projects have used screws, paint brushes, corks, toothpicks and nails. Enjoy!
[Photos by Arben Celi / Reuters]
Despite what the recent Samsung commercial would have you think, baristas and so many others in the coffee industry tend to be a highly creative group of individuals. I’m not sure where the correlation stems from exactly, but DCILY was founded on the principle that coffee inspires creativity and each day I’m more convinced of that.
Eileen P. Kenny is one of the latest artist/barista (or is it barista/artist?) who I’ve discovered creating great coffee inspired art. She is a twenty-two year old photographer who’s been making coffee since she was sixteen. Part-way through getting a Masters in Advertising, she decided to leave school to pursue what she already knew she was passionate about and began working with Seven Seeds Coffee (and soon Market Lane).
The project, aptly titled “Birds of Unusual Vitality,” is a collection of portraits & essays about passionate and unique individuals in specialty coffee, beginning with Melbourne’s Angus Gibbs, Jason Scheltus, Talor Browne and Mark Free.
Specialty coffee is an industry filled with fascinating people from every corner of the world and every background you can imagine.
The aim of Birds of Unusual Vitality is to shine a light on these baristas, roasters, farmers, pickers, workers, and everyone involved the process of coffee production, from start to finish. I want the passion for great coffee and the pursuit of quality and sustainability to spread beyond those who work in coffee—I think that getting insight into the people who have that passion is a great place to start.
The project has no expected end date and Kenny’s growing list of desired subjects expands well beyond Melbourne to include such coffee notables as Susie Spindler, Ben Kaminsky and Brent Fortune. Kenny shared her project ambitions with DCILY:
In the long term, I’d also like to go to origin and interview farmers, tracing the coffee’s journey in reverse; essentially, starting at where I am now (making coffee and tasting it), all the way back to those who are harvesting and processing and basing their livelihoods on the quality of their next crop.
This is such a great project that can capture the true diversity of backgrounds within the industry. If there ever were a specialty coffee related project fit for Kickstarter (or IndieGoGo)—turning these photos and stories into a lovely book is one I think would garner a fair bit of support from around the world.
You can view select portraits and read their stories at Birds of Unusual Vitality. Below is an exclusive look at a few of the photos left on the dark room floor. Enjoy.
Birds of Unusual Vitality
Jack Long, a photographer from Milwaukee, has spent over a year developing a unique technique for capturing these cool organic splashes elevated above coffee cups.
Unlike typical “splash photography” these photos aren’t made from dropping objects into the liquid (it’s a secret), but Long’s technique has created shapes as large as a half meter in diameter and as small as just 5cm. Coffee was chosen as his medium for its universal appeal to both coffee lovers and splash photography connoisseurs—yes they exist.
Photos taken with a Canon 1Ds MkII and Canon 28-70 f2.8 lens at 50mm
[Photos: Jack Long / Rex Features]
posted by bwj
on 12.17.2011, under Misc.
To add to the growing list of well-produced coffee videos that I continue to share, New York based artist Alan Gastelum recently finished his latest film, which captures one of my personal favorite shops—RBC NYC.
Alan’s foray into coffee films didn’t start with RBC though, it began with his personal experiences at Abraço, which changed his perception of and relationship with coffee.
I moved to New York City 3 years ago from Los Angeles. Before I lived here, I was never really into coffee and I believe it was because everything I had up until then was unimpressionable. I wasn’t impressed with “coffee”, until I stepped foot into a few small places in New York, Abraco being one of them.
I dont know if it is so much the actual coffee or the romance of the coffee culture, that had me. Walking into Abraco somewhat transports you into its own world and for the 10, 20, 30 minutes you spend in there, you are held in this wonderful world until you leave. Spending time in this small world I have learned to appreciate coffee and all that goes into it.
I love to hear a good “conversion” story, but it’s even better when a person has the ability to capture the romance visually to share with others. The entire five part series about Abraço is worth watching when you have the time, “Open” happens to be my favorite.
Abraço – Sundays
Abraço – Open
Abraço – Cook
Abraço – Afternoons
Abraço – Bake
More from Alan Gastelum
For the last 10 months, designer Brand Bortwein has been drawing cups of coffee on post-it notes and dedicating them to me. Or you. Or whoever may be looking at them. They range from the artistically realistic, to homages of Super Mario Brothers and Angry Birds. I really enjoyed looking through them all.
When I started this blog over a year and a half ago, this type of thing is what inspired the whole site. Coffee is fantastic and it fuels wonderfully creative things. Something about coffee unlocks creativity in people that can lead to world altering revolutions or a wonderfully simple doodle on a post-it note.
Below are some of my favorites, see them all on Flickr.
posted by bwj
on 08.05.2011, under Misc.