To commemorate the centennial of Britain’s involvement in the First World War, ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper conceived of a staggering installation of ceramic poppies planted in the famous dry moat around the Tower of London. Titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red,” the final work will consist of 888,246 red ceramic flowers—each representing a British or Colonial military fatality—that flow through grounds around the tower.
Volunteers began placing the poppies several weeks ago and the process will continue through the summer until a final flower is symbolically planted on November 11th. You can read more about the project over on the Historic Royal Palaces website, and see the volunteers’ progress by following the #TowerPoppies hashtag on Twitter.
Based in Narita City, Japanese artist Sakae creates exquisite hair ornaments known as kanzashi. The traditional hair pieces have been around for quite some time in Japan, but these pieces—each hand-crafted from resin with a delicate brass wire around the edges—are startlingly realistic and the most beautiful we’ve ever seen. Depending on the complexity of the pieces they can take anywhere between 3 and 30 days. If you’re trying to get your hands on one of these, don’t get your hopes up. Sakae only occasionally puts one up for sale. And when she does it’s through Yahoo Auctions in Japan. Her latest auction just closed earlier this week. It attracted 215 buyers and finally sold for 400,000 yen. You can keep up with her (and her auctions) on her Facebook page or see her previous work on flickr. (via Mister Finch)
Last week Japanese botanic artist Makoto Azuma attempted to go where most artists only dream of going: to space. In a project titled Exbiotanica, last week Azuma and his crew traveled to Black Rock Desert outside Gerlach, Nevada. In the dead of night Azuma’s project began. The team launched two of Azuma’s artworks – a 50-year old pine suspended from a metal frame and an arrangement of flowers – into the stratosphere using a large helium balloon. The entire project was documented, revealing some surreal photographs of plants floating above planet earth. “The best thing about this project is that space is so foreign to most of us,” says John Powell of JP Aerospace. “So seeing a familiar object like a bouquet of flowers flying above Earth domesticates space, and the idea of traveling into it.” (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
Hitachi Seaside Park is a sprawling 470 acre park located in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan, that features vast flower gardens including millions of daffodils, 170 varieties of tulips, and an estimated 4.5 million baby blue eyes (Nemophila). The sea on blue flowers blooms once annually around April in an event referred to as the “Nemophila Harmony.”
If you plan on visiting, the park offers a great English language flower calendar to help plan your trip. You can see many more photos of the grounds here. (via Bored Panda)
The Badlands are a type of parched, sunbaked terrain characterized by jagged rock, cracked earth and, of course, minimal vegetation. It’s a harsh environment of lifeless wasteland but there is also good news to be found in the badlands. For the patient observer, like photographer Guy Tal, there is a delicate beauty that reveals itself only so often. “On rare years,” says Tal, describing his series of photos taken in the American West, “wildflowers burst into stunning display of color, transforming the desert into a veritable garden for just few precious days.” The reason, apparently, is that vegetation in the region has adapted to the climate. With just a tiny bit of moisture the desert can transform into a colorful garden of bright purple and yellow. You can see more photos on Tal’s website, or purchase his book More Than a Rock. (via Bored Panda)
Update: According to @happyhillers these are Scorpionweed and Beeplant flowers.
This delicate series of sculpted plants is part of a project by artist Camila Carlow titled Eye Heart Spleen. The photographic project is comprised of 13 images representing human organs constructed from plants and flowers. From Carlow’s statement about the project:
The most fascinating and intricate of biological structures, yet we rarely pay heed to the organs inside our body. Regardless of whether we fill ourselves with toxins or nourishing food, whether we exercise or not—our organs sustain us, working away effortlessly and unnoticed.
In a similar way, plants flourishing in the urban environment are a testament to nature’s indifference to our goings on. They grow out of the sides of buildings, in brick walls and between the cracks in concrete, despite of the traffic and pollution.
Camila Carlow is a Guatemalan-born artist based in Bristol, England, and she works in a range of mediums from photography and painting as well as cinematography. Several of the Eye Heart Spleen photos are available as prints in her shop. (via Sweet Station)
These beautiful lights were designed by cinematographer Takao Inoue as part of a small exhibition on display at Milano Salone earlier this year. The lights are made from real dandelions that have been suspended inside an acrylic block with a miniature OLED light embedded within the stem. The TAMPOPO OLED (tampopo is Japanese for dandelion) is now available through Tokyo Somewhere. You can read more on Spoon & Tamago and catch a brief interview with the designer on Lost at E Minor. (via Spoon & Tamago)