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The creative desires of pencils and crayons

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  May 2, 2013 09:56 AM

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Vietnam native Diem Chau's sculptures are improbable from the start. There's no way it's possible, you'd think, to carve a gazelle on the tip of a pencil. But she does, and not just gazelles. Here's a fly, there's a chameleon. And not just on pencils. She has a whole series of crayon sculptures, too, depicting each letter of the alphabet and its representative figure--U is for urchin, H is for handstand. Yet her work prompts delight beyond technique. Pencils and crayons are creative tools and Chau's work suggests they have yearnings of their own: "I've always wanted to be a koala," says the green crayon; "Please remake me as an iguana," says orange.

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Images courtesy of Diem Chau.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

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Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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