Design

Dozens of Rice Varieties Form Colorful Drawings in the Fields of Inakadate, Japan

September 26, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

The village of Inakadate is an area of Japan most known for its production of rice, an agricultural product that has grown in the surrounding fields for over 2,000 years. In order to increase tourism to the small village, officials began a traditional of creating large, elaborate images by strategically plantings different varieties of rice. Nearly 25 years later, the town is known throughout the country for its colorful rice drawings, which occur each year with the help of hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of local volunteers.

To begin the process for upcoming designs, there is first a conference to discuss possible ideas. Next government officials make simple computer mockups of the winning designs, which are then sent to local art teachers for more conceptual renderings. Finally, markers are placed into the fields to create what is essentially a large-scale paint-by-number, the entire process taking up to three months.

You can see more images of the famous rice paddy fields in the video above. (via Great Big Story)

 

 



Design

A “Living” Chandelier Filled with Algae by Julian Melchiorri

September 26, 2017

Christopher Jobson

ALl photos © Mike Chino.

London-based designer and engineer Julian Melchiorri has designed an elegant new lighting solution that is part chandelier and part living organism. Titled Exhale, the piece is comprised of 70 glass petals of varying shape that contain a solution of green algae sustained by daylight, LEDs, and a drip-feed of nutrients. The lighting design won the 2017 Emerging Talent Medal at the London Design Festival and was on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum. You can learn more over on Inhabitat.

 

 



History Illustration

Digitally Explore a 1,000-Year-Old Illustrated Guide to Plants and Their Medical Uses

September 25, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Cotton MS Vitellius C III is the only surviving Old English illustrated book describing plants and their uses. Recently the British Library, along with the Bibliothèque nationale de France, digitized the 1,000-year-old illuminated manuscript. The ancient book features illustrations of plants and animals alongside various bodily issues that can be treated by their use or consumption. For example, a snake is illustrated by the passage on sweet basil, an herb that has been known to help fight poisonous bites.

Despite the manuscript being an extensive guide, there have been questions posed by several scholars regarding the piece’s exact use.

“Although it might seem like a practical guide to finding plants and preparing remedies, this manuscript’s uses are debated,” explains the the British Library’s Alison Hudson. “First, the illustrations are not always very useful for identifying plants and animals in the wild: take, for example, these depictions of strawberries and elephants [seen below].”

You can flip through the entirety of the guide’s illustrations on The British Library’s website. (via Open Culture and Hyperallergic)

 

 



Art

Artist Transforms a Fallen Redwood Tree into A Gigantic Eight-Tentacle Sea Creature

September 25, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Washington-based woodcarver Jeffrey Michael Samudosky has been creating elaborate figural works from a variety of Pacific Northwest trees since he started his company JMS Wood Sculpture in 1998. One of his most recent projects is a replica of an Enteroctopus dofleini, or Giant Pacific Octopus, carved from a fallen Redwood given to him by Redwood Burl. The cephalopod’s tentacles curve and twist their way across areas which Samudosky left natural, including the entire back of the trunk which gives the illusion that the octopus is on top of the tree, rather than a part of it.

Samudosky has previously carved deep sea diving helmets, rams, and bears twice his size. You can explore more of the self-taught woodworker’s pieces on his website and Facebook. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Art Illustration

New Bic Ballpoint Pen Portraits on Vintage Maps and Stationery by Mark Powell

September 25, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Working atop faded street maps, vintage National Geographic magazine covers, and decades-old stationery, London-based artist Mark Powell (previously) draws the wrinkled contours of his subject’s faces with a standard black Bic ballpoint pen. The weathered portraits of both famous and anonymous people reflect his antiquated canvases both in texture and tone as he traces the topographies of their faces across literal street maps or paper materials that have traversed the world. Powell’s drawings have grown in both scale and detail over the years, magnifying the impact and density of each piece. You can see more of his recent work on his website where he sells a number of prints and quite a few originals. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Art

Asinas II: A Dizzying New Kinetic Sculpture by Jennifer Townley

September 23, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Asinas II is the latest kinetic work by Dutch artist Jennifer Townley who is intrigued by how machines can create complicated nonlinear movements from a circular motion found in rotary engines. The work is a successor to a piece from 2015 that similarly relies on sequential geometric forms that rotate to create seemingly chaotic movements. From her statement about Asinas II:

The various angles and curves of the individual parts create an elaborated unity when joined together on the shaft. The two “wings” formed by these seventy-seven parts are able to slide through each other and rotate in opposite direction at a slightly different speed. This results in a movement that appears to be far more complex, existing of multiple layers, where repetitive shapes seem to be moving within one another.

Townley most recently exhibited work with the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey and you can follow her on Facebook. (via Prosthetic Knowledge)

 

 



Design

A Wind-Up Bamboo Passenger Pigeon by Haptic Lab

September 22, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

The Flying Martha Ornithopter is a mechanical toy that when wound, flaps its wings through the air just like a real bird. The simple invention is built entirely from bamboo and Mulberry paper, and released just like a paper airplane. The ornithopter was built by Haptic Lab to honor the very last passenger pigeon, Martha, who died while in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.

Haptic Lab believes the invention is symbolic of humanity’s role in a rapidly changing world. “Like our other projects at Haptic Lab, the Flying Martha ornithopter aims to connect people to their physical environment, to one another, and to the planet as a whole,” says the design studio. “The Flying Martha celebrates the spirit of invention and discovery essential to humanity’s survival and to the survival of our planet.”

Each ornithopter is built to reflect the true size of the extinct bird, with a wingspan of 16 inches. The handmade nature of the toy bird allows its user to customize its flight, solving problems to discover the invention’s best flight path. By a slight twist of the tail to the left or right, its flight course is altered, giving the owner full control of how the bird flies.

The project is currently raising funds on Kickstarter. You can see more projects by Haptic Lab on their website, Instagram and Facebook. (via Kottke)