Carved Into Memory: Diem Chau

29 Aug

For most of us, Crayola crayons were our very first artistic tools.  Whether it was those thick, fat ones perfect for uncoordinated, chubby little hands to grip or the de-luxe 64 pack with the built-in sharpener, those colorful little sticks were our first glimpse into the world of artistic expression.  Seattle based artist Diem Chau takes those original tools, carving them into tiny figures reminding us of how they shaped our own young imaginations.

Storytelling Crayons, installation view, carved crayons and wood base

That distinctive scent, the waxy texture, peeling the paper down so that more of the brilliant color could sweep across the paper.

Yellow Girl, carved crayon and wood base, 3×3.5×3

Girl and Dog, carved crayon and wood base, 3×3.5×2

My most distinct memory of Crayolas happened on a summer road trip with my grandparents.  A long trip in the car, of course, meant bringing along plenty to keep us busy.  For me, that meant books, crayons and paper.  My crayons ended up strewn all over the back deck of my grandparents’ green Impala and were promptly forgotten about when we stopped for a bit.  We came back to a colorful mess!  I don’t think my Mimi & Papa were ever able to completely clean the wax out of the upholstery.  Oopsie!

Boy and Girl, carved crayon and wood base, 3×3.5×3

What memories do Chau’s crayons bring back for you?  Please visit her website to see more of her work.  She’ll be showing at the Elvistravaganza during Bumbershoot in Seattle or if you’re on the other coast, you can see her carving crayons LIVE at Saks 5th Ave on Sept. 6th from 6pm-10pm.

All images are via the artist’s website.

8 Responses to “Carved Into Memory: Diem Chau”

  1. dawn August 29, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    When we are at a restaurant with the kids and they bring us crayons, we play a game… You randomly pick a crayon and you have to color the name of the crayon, e.g. dandelion yellow or sunset orange. (ps our kids are 11 and 15, but we still insist on getting crayons at our table!)

    • Lesley August 29, 2012 at 10:09 am #

      That’s awesome, Dawn! If there are crayons on the table, I WILL color with them, whether kids are present or not. 😉

  2. Terri at Time To Be Inspired August 29, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    All I can think of is Oh My Gosh! I love miniature carvings and the use of crayons is brilliant! I remember hating to use my box of 64 crayons – in case I used up all of the best colors! Maybe the first signs of hoarding????

    • Lesley August 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

      Haha, Terri! And of course, there were always the odd color or two that hardly got used at all..

  3. Frances Rice August 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    I really enjoyed these, and I think my students would too!

    • Lesley August 29, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

      Please share with your students, Frances!

  4. Artist Desiree East August 30, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    Yes, the nostalgic smell of crayons brings back memories…and me, too, Lesley — even though I am a full-grown adult, I WILL color if you put crayons in front of me!! LOL. These are REALLY cute…I’d be afraid to use them!

    • Lesley August 30, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      Yep, I don’t think these are meant to be colored with. They would be very tempting if put in front of a kid ( grown-up or otherwise ) who loves to color!

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