Jennifer Maestre creates these incredible sculptures by cutting hundreds of pencils into 1 inch sections, sharpening them, drilling them and sewing them together. I looked at these unusual pieces during my final year of college and made a tiny sample to see what using pencils would be like. I quite literally stuck them into a ball (so not even a fraction of the effort Maestre puts into her work), creating a prickly semi-circle. I remember having my boyfriend at the time, brothers and friends sharpening pencils for me – the blisters were horrendous!
These sculptures were originally inspired by the form and function of the sea urchin. She has taken the idea that the spines of a sea urchin are alluringly beautiful, and tempt you to touch despite the dangerous consequences. The sections of pencils provide two different experiences; smooth and sharp textures and aesthetics. In the same way as the sea urchin tempts you, these sculptures force us to feel a sense of desire and repulsion.
“Paradox and surprise are integral in my choice of materials. Quantities of industrially manufactured objects are used to create flexible forms reminiscent of the organic shapes of animals and nature. Pencils are common objects, here, these anonymous objects become the structure. There is true a fragility to the sometimes brutal aspect of the sculptures, vulnerability that is belied by the fearsome texture.”