Arts & crafts – skill and self expression rendered through time-lapse

Arts and crafts takes many forms in contemporary life; from more traditional activities such as drawing and painting, to pastimes that are cemented in certain cultures, and to more modern adaptations in video game formats.

We have trawled the Internet and selected several examples where time-lapse is effectively applied to showcase certain arts and crafts from process to completion.

One of the many advantages of using time-lapse to capture processes and activities, whether artificial or natural in their manifestations, is that transformations only take minutes to unfold.

Hours of progress can be organised in sequence, playing back what has been captured at a much faster pace than that which would have unfolded in real time.

Sophisticated techniques

Thought of as one of the three aspects of human creativity, crafts are thought to rely principally on sophisticated technique.

Capturing at regular intervals, time-lapse provides an acute rendering of detail and thus is the ideal tool for communicating particular techniques.

A perfect example of this is Jeffrey Nichol’s depiction of well-known American musician, actor, and writer, Willie Nelson.

Made from craft paper and mounted on a black foam board, the final result, which produces an impressive likeness, is a testament to the skill an accuracy when cutting the paper to the desired shapes and formations.

The aerial perspective is ideal, as if positioned just above the artist’s head. From the time-lapse it is possible to see the layers of paper as they are created in isolation before being applied to the foam board, which then render as invisible when viewed as a whole.

Not all crafts are of the scale that can be completed indoors at a desk or worktop. As this epic time-lapse from Chainsaw Dave shows, to carve this 4-metre-long ‘Nile Crocodile’ required long hours working in the open air.

 
Due to the speed of this time-lapse sequence, the skill and precision that must have been required to create this sizeable carving – especially using a piece of equipment as hefty as a chainsaw – appears almost effortless.

Self expression

With time-lapse, there is also room for added creativity in terms of how you choose to present your work. As craft is often thought of as a form of self-expression, when paired with the technical manipulation of time, more opportunities are available.

Travis J. Lange’s ‘Spiral Works in Motion‘ is a case in point, here.

The ancient technique of pottery throwing is given a fresh perspective through time-lapse. Playing around with camera movement and proximity to the hands at work gives the video character.

Snippets of the creator at work and interacting with the environment and his pottery creations also works well to this end. The completed collection of vases appearing as though they are dancing to conclude of the video conveys an artistic flare.

Computer generated crafting

Freedom of expression can also be found in creative modes allowed for by computer generated technology.

Sandbox video game Minecraft released in 2011 has rapidly grown popularity, and YouTube is now full of popular videos and tutorials.

Principally developed with no individual aims other than for users to create and build their own worlds using 3D textured cubes, Minecraft offers players endless freedoms in how they wish to play the game.

Time-lapse videos like this one from ‘TheReawakens’ are indicative of the level of detail and thought that this type of gameplay can foster in its players.

Entire worlds can be built from scratch, taking hours of effort and vision to realise.

Gameplay has developed further since the game’s inception, now featuring a wide variety of user-generated content which include modifications, texture packs and custom maps that can be downloaded from the Internet.

Such extensions allow for even more individuality and freedom of expression.

Extending the narrative

Finally, another way that visual techniques can be used alongside arts and crafts is to extend their life in the ways that they are used.

Although not an example featuring time-lapse, the below stop motion animation featuring Lego minifigures puts the models to use in this narrative featuring the Titanic.

Not only building Lego models but building narratives, then, these minifigures may be put to use to tell stories using truly unique methods.

Unlike time-lapse which requires a fixed camera position and photographs to be taken at regular intervals, stop motion uses forced inconsistent breaks between frames which are not limited to one position.

Each individual movement of the ship and its minifigures in this sequence were captured separately and then threaded together to tell the story of the sinking of the Titanic.

As heart-breaking as the filmic rendering of this tale? We will let you decide.

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