Mother Earth has been blowing a lot of steam lately – along with ash and a mess of lava. Volcanic eruptions, pumice stones and other rocks that they leave in their wake, have inspired remarkable settings.
Dozens of volcanoes are now spewing, from Indonesia to Alaska, from Italy to Iceland, from Russia to Indonesia, according to the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History.
Historically, artists and artisans who live in active volcanic regions have embraced igneous rocks rich in magnesium and iron.
“It is an easily accessible rock, located near the surface of the earth. It self-generates and is exceptionally strong, ”says Laura Houseley, design critic and former editor of Wallpaper magazine. So strong that the ancient Romans used it to make concrete for the Pantheon and to create dikes.
You might not get the chance to see a lava show in progress, but there are a lot of great things about volcanoes for the wheelchair volcanologist.
Icelandic store Grapevine offers eye-catching casual wear, mugs, posters and laptop sleeves printed with images of Fagradalsfjall volcano, taken by photographer Art Bicnick. An aerial photo of the volcano, taken in March shortly after the start of its eruption, will remind fans of “Lord of the Rings” of Mordor.
On Etsy, Magdalena Donahue of New Mexico-based studio FactsFiguresDesigns calls her offerings “Portable Earth.” Clothing and accessories are printed with images inspired by open source scientific data such as topographic maps, seismic surveys, magnetic fields, mineral patterns and lava flows.
Agusta Arnardottir of the Reykjavik and London-based studio Vikur makes modern minimalist jewelry from silver, gold, and small pieces of pumice (vikur is the Icelandic word for pumice) from the base of Hekla, one of the island’s recurring volcanoes. There’s a photo on the Instagram page of Arnardottir’s studio scaling Hekla’s Debris Field, bags of pebbles in hand.
Gjoska, a design company and boutique in the Icelandic countryside, offers a beautiful sweater with a basalt gray background and a fiery orange and red ribbon falling down the front. They also have hats and other clothes with the design.
Los Angeles-based architect Gulla Jonsdottir has designed a collection of furniture inspired by the landscape of his Icelandic homeland.
His Volca table is a solid rectangle of alabaster, with a rose gold crack running through the surface. A bar stool perches atop polished rose gold legs, the leather seat wrapped in oil rubbed bronze that has been sculpted to resemble the silhouette of molten rock. The Lava table is perched on a bronze fold on a rough-edged piece of marble, as if molten rock has grabbed and stopped in the middle of the flow.
Signature hardware offers a few elegant sinks suitable for bathrooms or powder rooms. Both Round Loa and Square Mauna are carved from a single piece of andesite, a type of volcanic rock found in regions of Asia, the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific Northwest. .
The CB2 Loa Coasters Set and Hilo Tray are made from Indonesian lava stone. The top has a checkerboard pattern obtained through the fusion of stone with resin. Also at CB2, a remarkable piece of wall art carved from volcanic ash from the Philippines; Athena’s folds and angular folds make it look like origami.
London-based architectural products studio Dzek spent three years working on a volcanic ash glazed porcelain tile. They called the collection ExCinere, a play on the Latin term ex cinere, which means “from the ashes”. Available in two sizes, the earthy and richly textured tile comes in four volcanic glazes ranging from light caramel to dark chocolate.
Craftsmen in Tecali, Mexico, have been carving volcanic stone on building facades and objects for generations. The Maison Numen online store offers hand carved molcajete, or mortar and pestle, and a tray that would be a nice piece for entertaining.
If you’re interested in collectibles, sites like Etsy.com have great examples of mid-century ceramics made by Glit Pottery from Iceland. The studio, founded in the 1950s, was known to incorporate pumice, lava, and ash into their glazes, creating an unusual juxtaposition between polished, colored ceramic and natural volcanic material.
Former banker turned ceramicist Bjarni Sigurdsson uses a similar technique in his work; for his collection of Ash Cloud vases, he added ashes from the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption to the finish glaze.
Kim Cook writes frequently for The AP on topics related to design, decor and lifestyle. She can be found on Instagram at @kimcookhome and reached at [email protected]
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