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The Story Behind the Love Sign Made of 2,500 Matches

About three years ago, I wrote a post about artist Pei-San Ng's beautiful matchstick art. Her signature piece is called Matches: Passion and it's made up of approximately 2,500 matchsticks that are individually placed and glued onto reclaimed plywood. The retro type is hand-drawn and it takes Pei a full 24 hours to complete one piece. It's a painstaking process that's all worth it in the end as thousands of matches become like pixels, blending together to form the word Love.

At the time, I didn't tell everyone that Pei is actually my good friend from back in my college days at UCLA, I let the art speak for itself. Neither Pei nor I could have anticipated how quickly her work would spread throughout the web. Major art and culture blogs like Flavorwire, Abduzeedo, Trendhunter, and Inhabitat wrote about Pei and her flammable art with one blog even humorously calling her, “The Girl Who Plays With Fire.” Even the edgy art publication Juxtapoz and UK's popular newspaper The Daily Mail would pick up the story as Pei described both her creative process and why she chose to work with matches.

“My artworks must be made out of matches – if they were made out of toothpicks or cotton swabs, the potential for fire would be missing. The danger or excitement of the fire is added to the image. If the sculpture is of the word ‘love', the concept of fire and love creates passion.”

Though Pei has a background in architecture, she now focuses most of her time on creating art. On her website, she's selling two of her matchstick pieces. Matches: Love is a 30″ x 20″ x 2.75″ sculpture that's made with Diamond red tipped matches places on oak veneer. It retails for $900.

As a very unexpected “thank you” gift for writing that first post, Pei just sent me the piece. I just opened it and was taken aback by just how stunning it is in person. Up close, you can see the individual holes Pei had to drill and, at a distance, the word “Love” beautifully suspends over the board. Here are my photos that show the opening of the gift. (Don't worry, my curious dog Charlie got a bit close but didn't do any damage.)

Just wanted to say a big “Thank you!” back to Pei for such an amazing gift. When I wrote about it, three years ago, I could never have anticipated that, one day, the incredible piece would be hanging in my house. Love, love, love!

Pei-San Ng's website

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