Twisted Tree Branches Fused with Ornate Picture Frames by Darryl Cox 

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Artist Darryl Cox fuses ornate vintage picture frames with tree branches found in the forests of central Oregon. The branches serve as a simple reminder of the materials used to build picture frames, but also create an unusual form factor where clean lines and ornate moulding patterns seem to naturally traverse the bark of each tree limb. Each piece involves many hours of woodworking, sculpting, and painting.

You can explore many more pieces by Cox on his website, on Facebook, and in his online shop. (via Quipsologies)

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A Cross Stitched Solar System by Navid Baraty 

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Photographer Navid Baraty was looking for a new side project and decided to pickup up cross stitching. His current goal is to make the entire solar system with thread and he’s already finished Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto (!), each of which requires anywhere from 20 to 35 different colors. If you’re a stitcher yourself, his different patterns are currently available on Etsy. (via mental_floss)

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A Singapore Airlines A380 Model Plane Crafted Entirely from Manila Folders by Designer Luca Iaconi-Stewart 

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A traditional paper airplane takes one sheet of paper and approximately 90 seconds. A Luca Iaconi-Stewart-designed paper airplane? 1,000 hours, 100 manila folders, 50 X-Acto blades, and an entire bottle of glue. The San-Francisco based designer has previously built a 1:60 scale Boeing 777 model and to the delight of detailed hobbyists everywhere he’s now constructed another, this time a scale model of a Singapore Airlines A380.

A challenge for Iaconi-Stewart was the variety of seating that comes with the plane’s design, ranging from basic economy seats to first class suites that include fully operating sliding doors. With precision he built each element of the model from delicately folded paper, the smallest piece of the 3,000 used being a 2.5 x 1 mm pin that secures each business class seat.

Videos of the plane’s construction can be seen below. More images of Iaconi-Stewart’s previous 1:60 scale Boeing 777 model can be viewed on his Flickr, and time lapse videos of his model’s construction can be seen over on his Youtube. (via The Kid Should See This and The Awesomer)

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Earthships: Meet a Community in New Mexico Living in Incredible Off-The-Grid Homes Built From Trash 

Fresh out of architectural school in 1972, Michael Reynolds immediately started to question much of what he had just learned. Why build houses with trees when forests are something we want to preserve? Why pay for electricity, water, and heat when all of it can be provided off-the-grid using existing materials and renewable resources like wind, rain, and solar?

Reynolds set out to design a home built from dirt, tires, aluminum cans and other repurposed objects and so successful others began to take notice. Now, an entire community lives in these unusual homes called ‘Earthships’ in Taos, New Mexico. Filmmakers Flora Lichtman and Katherine Wells recently stopped by to learn more. (via Devour)

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Sponsor // Get 50% Off the Craftsy Online-Video Class ‘Sketchbooks: Drawing the Everyday’ 

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Sketch like a pro, even on the go! Gain the skills you need to become a better artist when you join Paul Heaston in the online Craftsy class, Sketchbooks: Drawing the Everyday, for 50% off today — a special offer for Colossal readers. In these online-video lessons, you’ll learn an inspiring range of ways to use pencil, ink and watercolor to capture the world around you.

In these online-video lessons, you’ll begin by discovering an array of texture-building ink techniques to express light and shadow. Then, infuse your work with color and character using Paul’s pro tips for painting smooth watercolor washes, and combine what you’ve learned to create eye-catching compositions. Whether you want to depict people, architecture or nature, you’ll gain the confidence and creative skills to fill up your sketchbook with pieces you’ll want to show off!

Visit Craftsy.com now to get 50% off lifetime access to the online class, Sketchbooks: Drawing the Everyday, and watch it anytime, anywhere. Offer expires December 14, 2015 at 11:59pm MT.

Beehive Fences in East Africa Protect Farms from Elephants 

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All photos courtesy The Elephants & Bees Project / Lucy King

When trying to protect farms in east Africa from elephants, it would seem that nothing short of a giant reinforced fence or a chasmic ditch could safely keep the largest land animals on Earth away without causing harm. Unfortunately, building such barriers around every field is impractical, and the interactions of people protecting their crops frequently leads to accidents or even death of both farmers and elephants. But zoologist Lucy King had a much smaller idea: bees.

It turns out elephants are terrified of bees because when the insects sting the inside of their trunks the pain is excruciating and there’s little they can do about it. The sound of buzzing alone is enough to make elephants leave an area immediately. King wondered what might happen if a string of suspended beehives at every 10 meters around a field might be enough to keep elephants away. A pilot program in 2009 proved widely successful and soon The Elephant and Bees Project was born.

There are now active beehive fences in Kenya, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and Sri Lanka. Not only do the fences help pollinate crops and safely deter elephants, they also become an additional revenue stream for farmers who harvest honey and sell it locally, a fascinating example of interspecies landscape engineering.

The Elephant and Bees Project is currently trying to raise funds to greatly expand the program. You can make a donation here. (via Neatorama, Nag on the Lake)

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New Embroidered Leaves by Hillary Fayle 

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Artist Hillary Fayle (previously) continues her exploration of embroidered plantlife using elegent stitching to create amalgams of leaves and seeds. Ginkgo leaves and maple tree seeds are sutured into tight geometric forms, while other pieces play with negative space as Fayle deftly cuts patterns and shapes directly into them. The plants are coated in a non-toxic preservative to both protect the artwork and ensure the brittle materials are more resistant to tearing. Seen here is a collection of Fayle’s work from the last year or so, but you can explore more on her website and on Instagram.

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