Project PrintGREEN is turning 3D printers into on-demand gardeners after designing a “green” 3D printer in 2013. The printer produces living prints, printing customized objects in a variety of sizes and forms. The project was created at the University of Maribor in Slovenia, conceived of by students Maja Petek, Tina Zidanšek, Urška Skaza, Danica Rženičnik and Simon Tržan, with help from their mentor Dušan Zidar. The project’s goal is to unite art, technology, and nature, creatively producing living designs with the help of technology.
The “ink” in the machine is a combination of soil, seeds, and water which can be designed to print in any shape or letter. After drying, the muddy mixture holds its form and begins to sprout grass from the organic material. PrintGREEN’s slogan is a twist on the old conservationist motto, “think before you print,” telling their audience to “print, because it is green.” You can follow the project’s progress on their Facebook page here. (via My Modern Met)
Joni Niemelä captures the moments within nature often looked over, the extreme details seen best through macro photography and an imaginative eye. One of Niemelä’s photographic obsessions is the carnivorous plant Drosera, more commonly known as the “Sundew,” a nickname which refers to droplets that collect on the plant similar to morning dew.
Sundews belong to the largest genera of carnivorous plants, including more than 194 species that lure, capture, and digest insects by using glands that cover their leaves. Through Niemelä’s macro photography he is able to zoom in on each dew-like drop, adding a mystical feel to the hungry plant.
Niemelä explains, “Sundews have always fascinated me, and I have been photographing these alien-like plants for several years now. My first first photo series ‘Drosera’ was mostly bright and vibrant, so I wanted to have some contrast to that in my second series of Sundews. I think the colors and the mood of ‘Otherworldly Blues’ reflect aptly the true nature of these carnivorous plants.”
You can see more of the Finish artist’s carnivorous plant and nature photography on his Instagram and Facebook page.
In 2008, while locating specimens to create a multi-colored blossom tree for an art project, artist and Syracuse University art professor Sam Van Aken had the opportunity to acquire a 3-acre orchard from the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Fascinated by the practice of grafting trees since a young age, Aken began to graft buds from the 250 heritage varieties found on the orchard onto a single stock tree.
To create the Frankenstein-esque tree, Aken worked with stone fruits (fruits with pits) like peaches, plums, apricots, almonds, and nectarines. Over the course of five years he successfully grafted dozens of plants onto the same tree, and with that, the Tree of 40 Fruit project was born. Because of their similarities, all 40 fruits bud, bloom and fruit in near perfect unison.
Aken has since grafted at least 16 different “Trees of 40 Fruit” which are planted across the U.S. in places like Newton, Massachusetts; Pound Ridge, New York; Short Hills, New Jersey; Bentonville, Arkansas; and San Jose, California. Each tree is specific to its environment, using both local and antique varieties.
National Geographic recently met up with Aken to interview the artist about how he makes each tree. You can hear him talk about the project in the video above. (via Digg)
The Diphelleia grayi or “Skeleton Flower” is finally a reason to look forward to rainy days. This rare flower transforms into a translucent beauty [its skeletal form] when exposed to water, its white petals becoming completely clear while wet, then transforming back to their original color once dry.
Found in only three locations in the world, the flower grows in the colder regions of China and Japan, and within the United States’ Appalachian Mountains. In addition to its transformation capabilities, the flower is also recognized by its large, umbrella-like leaves and bright green and yellow centers. To watch the transformation of the Diphelleia grayi from white to translucent, watch the video above. (via Bored Panda)
Nine hours of a Cassandra flower blooming/ GIF by National Geographic
Ten hours of Eroica flowers / GIF by National Geographic
Antimatter flowers / GIF by National Geographic
Echinopsis cacti have some of the most brilliant flowers of any cactus, with vibrantly colored petals and explosive blooms that look almost like bursting fireworks. The trick is actually seeing it. The cacti bloom only late at night, and even then only for a few hours. The peak moment of beauty may only last an hour.
Lucky for us, Echinopsis enthusiast Greg Krehel has a knack for catching these blooming succulents in the act. When one of his specimens looks like it’s about to bloom, Krehel brings it inside and films it overnight with a special HD time-lapse setup. Gathered in this video is a montage of his favorite shots from the 2014 season, and he’s already posting new videos from this spring on Vimeo. (via National Geographic)
Located in the same island country that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed is a structure that, like the hill-secured homes of the hobbits, also seems to hide within its natural environment. The Tree Church is formed almost entirely from living trees with thick leaves covering its shady interior. The New Zealand-based church can seat a hundred people and was first planted by Barry Cox on his property near Cambridge beginning in 2011.
The original inspiration behind the structure was a means for Cox to “retreat from society.” However, after others caught word of his living church as it grew into completion over the last 4 years, he decided to open it and the surrounding gardens for public and private events. The Tree Church is now set within three acres of extensive shaded gardens, including a labyrinth walk based on the ancient city of Jericho from 460 BC.
An iron frame is at the core of the church, as Cox wanted the walls and roof of the natural building to be distinctly different, “just like masonry churches,” he said. Cut-leaf alder was chosen for the roof as it is flexible enough to be trained over the frame which will be removed when the branches become strong enough to support the church themselves. (via Faith is Torment, Inhabitat)
If you’ve been on the hunt for the perfect ceramic capybara planter, look no further. Ceramicist Priscilla Ramos from São Paulo, Brazil, has a fantastic line of animal planters in the form of foxes, whales, anteaters, and yes, even the world’s largest rodent. She’s even working on a sloth! The handmade stoneware pieces are perfect for small succulents or cacti, and you can see more in her shop: Cumbuca Chic. (via NOTCOT)