At first glance, it looks like these embroideries by artist Sula Fay pair thread with your average stitching techniques to depict body parts, words, and ancient sculptures on circular vintage Victorian-era doilies. That fact alone makes them unconventional in the traditional sense of the craft. But, the artist adds one more special touch to make these works all her own – strands of her hair. Fay threads a needle with her locks and passes it through the aged fabric. She describes her reasons and process:
As an adolescent, I struggled with my hair. Being of half African and Puerto Rican descent I inherited very naturally curly hair. Alongside my white skinned, long straight haired friends, I felt different and unattractive. I went through many gruelling hours brushing, combing, and straightening. That process was very difficult and tedious, just like the process of my embroideries. To embroider with my hair I have to straighten each piece separately. (Via Booooooom)
Lately, we’ve seen shipping containers used as repurposed mobile shelters for the homeless. The sculpture featured here serves an arguably less practical purpose but is a nonetheless an inventive and impressive use of the limited space. It was created by designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki who created a massive kaleidoscope as part of the Kobe Biennial Art Container Contest. This competition challenged creatives to craft an environment within the confines of an international shipping container. Here, the participants installed this brilliant piece as one that people could walk into and immerse themselves in an experience.
A kaleidoscope generally consists of carefully-angled mirrors that change light, color, and shape as it’s shifted. While their installation followed this general principle, Shirane and Miyazaki wanted to build the world’s first zipper architecture. “We wanted to create the world’s first zipper architecture. In other words, this polyhedron is completely connected by zippers. And in order to facilitate even more radical change some of the surfaces open and close like windows,” explains Shirane. The structure needed to be light, soft and mobile, and they were able to accomplish it; their ingenuity paid off, too, and they won an award at the Kobe Biennial and more recently a CS Design Award. (Via Spoon and Tamago)
Was your high school experience as glitzy as the one in photographer Akasha Rabut’s series Edna Karr? (The title comes from the school in New Orleans where the documentary-style photographs were taken.) We see cheerleaders, the dance team, and marching band getting ready to perform in these quiet behind-the-scene shots . Girls are applying their makeup, fixing hair, and sitting idly before they hit the city streets of a parade and come alive.
The series is a balance of high and low energy. As people kill time on their phones the scene is still. But when the kids are moving, Rabut captures the spirit of the performance, with sequins gleaming. The faded, low-saturation image are reminiscent of vintage photographs, and if it weren’t for the cell phones, we might just believe it. This plays to a sense of odd nostalgia for high school, a time when many of us wanted to feel grown up but just weren’t quite there. It was activities like the band or dancing that helped define the experience, and is a symbol of a relatively simpler time. (Via It’s Nice That)
Dutch photographers Anuschka Blommers and Niels Schumm depict both sexes simultaneously in a series entitled Best of Both. It appears in Baron magazine for their The Future of Sex issue. The images feature nude male and female figures posed in different yoga-esque positions on the same gray carpet, with one half a man and the other a woman. Bodies are twisted matched up perfectly to create one whole person.
The combination borders on ordinary and strange. On one hand, these figures are nude, which is nothing new; we’ve seen it throughout our lives and plenty of times within the context of art history. But, at the same time, its creates a person whose extreme twists and distorted views (we see the butt attached to the front of a chest) immediately reads as something amiss. It subverts any sort of preconceived notions we have of the individual in a simple but effective manner. (Via It’s Nice That)
The story of photographer Rebecca Litchfield’s traveling to the ruins of the old Soviet Union reads like an adventure tale. As she and her guides were in the midst of exploring abandoned buildings and monuments, they were discovered by authorities. She explains:
Not many explorers travel to Russia where the rules are very different, locations are heavily guarded and a strong military presence exists everywhere. There are serious consequences for getting caught. We managed to stay hidden for all of the trip, we maximised our stealthiness, ducking and diving into bushes and sneaking past sleeping security. But on day three our good fortune ran out as we visited a top secret radar installation. After walking through the forest, mosquitoes attacking us from all directions, we saw the radar and made our way towards it, but just metres away suddenly we were joined by military and they weren’t happy…
Litchfield risked radiation exposure, experienced arrest and interrogation, and was accused of espionage as she shot this series of stunning photographs. They depict areas of abandonment – forgotten monuments, peeling paint, a places where nature has taken over. The photographer offers many haunting sights never seen before by western eyes.
These images were comprised into a book entitled Soviet Ghosts. They were all taken by Litchfield, while essays and articles by Professor Owen Evans and Neil Cockwill from Edge Hill University and Tristi Brownett.
Facebook cover photos don’t just have to be a photo of your grandma or a view from your last vacation. When done correctly, they’re an art form. Like user Nikki, for instance. She’s taken these images to the next level and combined her cover photo and profile picture into often-hilarious pairings. Nikki takes on personas like Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad, Daenerys of Game of Thrones fame, in addition to appearing Jurassic Park, and throwing a football with Johnny of The Room (a personal favorite).
The key to Nikki’s success is believability. Not that she’s actually Jesse or that she’s affiliated with Sherlock, but that between cover photo and image, they both line up. She took the time to get the colors and costumes correct, and it’s seemed to have paid off. Nikki has won the admiration of the Internet with her unique spin. (Via Gizmodo)
From afar, it’s unclear what this billowing, cloud-like sculpture is made of. Up close, however, you can see that it’s comprised of various plastic bottles that are strung together in round, pleasing shape. New York-based architects and designers STUDIO KCA collected a combination of one gallon jugs, 16 and 24-ounce bottles and compiled them into this ethereal, massive structure. In total, the installation titled Head in the Clouds is made from 53,780 containers to represent the amount of trash that’s thrown away in New York City in just one hour.
Beneath the cloud’s exterior is a small seating/dreaming pavilion that accommodates up to 50 people. It’s meant for visitors to contemplate the light and color filtering through the cloud, as well as our consumption problem and the impact on the environment. Sand, water, and a curved aluminum frame prove the structural integrity.
Head in the Clouds made its debut last year on New York’s Governor’s Island. The stay was temporary, and the studio is now looking for its next home. (Via Colossal)
What are you going to do when you’re retired? Will you tinker in your garage, enjoy making crafts, or go on giant sight-seeing trips? Photographer Harry Griffin paints portraits of old age in his series titled Gold Coast. Dentures, wrinkled hands, and an easy chair, and more showcase a quiet-yet-luxurious existence in a sunny place like South Florida.
The vividly-colored images are cropped compositions that are bizarre in the framing. Although we know that we’re looking at retirement, it’s hard to glean a lot of information about what we’re seeing. So, a guy taking out his dentures wrapped in green plastic is equal parts amusing and confusing. It doesn’t seem that different than the act of getting old itself – moving towards a life of easy living while at the same time finding yourself doing ridiculous-looking things to keep up comfortable and entertained. (Via La Monda)