Carved Into Memory: Diem Chau

Storytelling Crayons, installation view, carved crayons and wood base

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.


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

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.

Acorn grid square





Article by, Lesley Frenz of Artsy Forager.