Captivating sculptures transform pencils into art

Every artist knows that pencils are one of the most fundamental creative tools. You can use them to draft ideas, create detailed sketches, or scribble playful doodle art. However not many people use pencils like Jennifer Maestre, a Massachusetts-based artist who carves them into captivating sculptures of sea urchins and other forms of underwater life.

Working with huge batches of hundreds of pencils, Maestre cuts each one down into one inch sections and drills a hole into them. The pencil chunks are then sewn together like beads the create the distinctive sea urchin shape. As for the prickly spines, it makes sense that these are made from sharpened pencil ends.

"The spines of the urchin, so dangerous yet beautiful, serve as an explicit warning against contact," Maestre explains on her website. "The sections of pencils present aspects of sharp and smooth for two very different textural and aesthetic experiences. Paradox and surprise are integral in my choice of materials."

Explore the gallery below to marvel at Maestre's intricately woven pencil sea urchin sculptures.

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Maestre started exploring prickly objects at Mass College of Art
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At college she was inspired by a silver sea urchin box
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Her first sea urchin sculptures were made out of nails and glass
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At the same time, Maestre was also dabbling in bead work
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Nails could not achieve all the necessary twists and turns, so she settled on pencils
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Coupled with everything she learnt in her bead work, Maestre's pencil urchins were born

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