The streaks in these beautiful wooden vases appear, at first glance, to be lines of paint, or maybe veins of burl. The truth is more astonishing: They're lead. Because these wooden vases aren't just vases. They're also hundreds of pencils glued together, then lathed down.
Created by Finnish artist Tuomas Markunpoika of Studio Markunpoika, the series of vessels is called Amalgamated. To create them, the designer teamed up with well-known pencil maker Faber-Castell.
By taking advantage of a pencil's hexagonal shape, Markunpoika has been able to tightly glue hundreds of writing tools together, with no space in-between them. Then he drills a hole in the amalgamated block of wood and graphite, and carves it down on a machine lathe to get the shape to replicate a traditional vase's curves.
According to Markunpoika's artist statement, his goal with Amalgamated was to bring out the beauty of the pencil, which is largely invisible to us.
"Pencils are extensions of our minds which enable us to transmit information through different mediums and time, collecting knowledge and creating it," Markunpokia writes. "The beauty of the pencil as an object seems to go unnoticed if utilized only for its primary purpose."
Markunpoika’s Amalgamated vessels were created using both black and blue pencils, a choice the designer says was made because these colors juxtaposed best with the reddish tint of the pencils' cedar.
But why turn pencils into a vase in the first place? Because, Markunpokia says, a vase's sinuous shape affords him a unique opportunity to examine the true splendor of a pencil's interior, which is almost always hidden from view. "The flow of each shape unveils a different pattern of the inner structure revealing the beauty of the pencil," he writes.
Markunpoika’s Amalgamated vases are available as a limited edition, exclusively through Gallery Fumi. And they were recently on display as part of Design Miami/Basel 2014.