trees

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Animation

A Kind Pine Cone Helps an Elderly Man Survive a Cold Winter in a Heartwarming Stop-Motion Animation

July 28, 2021

Grace Ebert

Sometimes help comes from unexpected sources, especially when you need it most. That’s the central message behind a heartfelt stop-motion short written, directed, and animated by Dunedin, New Zealand-based Claire Campbell. “Winter’s Blight” follows an elderly man named Bill, who struggles to heat his home during a harsh cold spell. After he runs out of wood entirely, he’s forced to chop down the lone evergreen still standing in his yard, only to encounter an enthusiastic pine cone that begs him to stop.

Produced by Jon Wilson of Shine on Films with music by Hanan Townshend, the animation took more than five years to complete and is replete with meticulously crafted details, like Bill’s hand-knit sweaters and an elaborate set built true to scale. Watch this making-of video and check out Campbell’s Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at how it came together.

 

 

 



Photography

Sunlight Filters through Misty Spruce Forests in Enchanting Photos by Kilian Schönberger

July 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Kilian Schönberger, shared with permission

In 2020 alone, a combination of droughts and a raging bark beetle infestation spurred by the climate crisis diminished Germany’s spruce tree population by record numbers. The European nation lost an estimated 4.3 percent of the evergreen species, which tend to grow in both commercial and naturally established forests in the Bavarian Alps and along the southeastern border. Photographer Kilian Schönberger (previously) visited these regions in the early part of 2021 to shed light on the enchanting beauty of the wooded areas that are undergoing substantial transformations.

Endorsement for Spruce Forests captures the species’ ethereal nature as sunlight filters through fog and morning mist, casting a warm candy-colored glow on the landscape. Pink light illuminates the barren branches that splay outward alongside trees covered in needles, while other shots show the rough, labyrinth-like paths that wind through the hilly terrain. Despite their durable material, the spruce take on a delicate, gentle quality in Schönberger’s photos, which are informed by his understanding of the trees’ natural rhythms:

Huge woods were destroyed by the bark beetle within a few weeks. Since the lowlands are not the natural habitat of the spruce the bark beetles just restored the balance of nature… In the Eastern Bavarian mountain ranges with higher precipitation, I was looking for natural spruce forests and found a wood wonderland. That’s the area where almost homogeneous spruce forests will also grow in the next decades.

Schönberger frequently travels from his home in the Bavarian Alps across Europe, and you can follow his adventures on Instagram. Prints of Endorsement for Spruce Forests are also available on his site.

 

 

 



Craft

Embroidered Landscapes Capture the Stillness of Pastoral Life through Dense Knots and Stitches

July 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Katrin Vates, shared with permission

French knots, chain stitches, and straight lines become peaceful countrysides and abandoned shacks overrun by moss and vines in Katrin Vates’s embroideries. Using bleached canvas as a base, Vates works with thread in natural color palettes of greens or autumnal hues that she lays in variable lengths and thicknesses: she conveys a glistening ocean through flat, even stitches in blues and white, while tufts of neutral tones become cropped fields and dried bushes. Vates rarely sketches a preliminary design and never attaches a hoop, which allows more freedom to adjust both the image and the ways weather and sunlight impact the scenes.

The Rockville, Maryland-based artist plans to release some of her pieces on Etsy in the coming months, and you can follow that launch, in addition to her forays into three-dimensional embroideries, on Instagram. (via Kottke)

 

 

 



Art

Future Returns: A Plasma-Cut Forest Reclaims an Oil Tanker in a New Sculpture by Dan Rawlings

June 21, 2021

Christopher Jobson

“Future Returns” by Dan Rawlins. All photos by Mark Bickerdike, shared with permission

In perhaps the not-so-distant future, sculptor Dan Rawlings (previously) imagines a world where machinery from the unsustainable energy industry is now a relic of the past, slowly overtaken by nature in a state of decomposition. In his latest sculpture titled “Future Returns,” the artist uses his trademark plasma-cutting style to etch a sizeable canopy of foliage that emerges from the steel shell of a reclaimed oil tanker. The work is currently housed inside a 19th-Century church in Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire, England. From a statement about the project:

“Future Returns” invites us to examine our own part in commercialization and the resulting changes to our natural environment. Rawlings believes it is easy to demonize industry but we must acknowledge that it has allowed life as we know it to bloom. It is our ability to design, create and produce that has put towns like Scunthorpe on the global map. He also believes oil companies have much to answer for, from the state of our environment to mistrust of science.

“Future Returns” will be on view at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre through September 25, 2021, and you can book free viewing times on the center’s site. (via Creative Boom)

 

 

 



Photography

A Magical Series Captures the Gnarled Branches of Socotra’s Dragon Blood Trees

June 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Daniel Kordan, shared with permission

Russian photographer Daniel Kordan (previously) is adept at locating extraordinary environments around the world—he captured this dazzling series of Japan’s firefly mating season a few months ago—and his recent excursion to the Socotra archipelago is similarly enchanting. Situated between the Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Sea, the remote island is populated by dragon blood trees, an evergreen species with upturned branches that splay outward and produce a bristling canopy.

Kordan’s photographs, which are shot at dawn, golden hour, and under a star-illuminated sky, frame this unique growth pattern that leaves the trees’ gnarled wood underbelly exposed. Combined with the deep red sap that seeps from its trunk, this otherworldly feature ties the species to local lore. “According to legend, the first dragon blood tree was created from the blood of a dragon who was wounded in a battle with an elephant,” the photographer says.

Kordan details the techniques and equipment he used in Socotra in a post about his travels, which you can follow on Instagram. He also has dozens of photographs of the white-sand deserts and life on the Yemeni island available as prints in his shop.

 

 

 



Art

Enchanting Scenes Combine Multiple Precisely Carved Woodblocks into Full-Color Prints by Tugboat Printshop

June 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Blue Bridge” (2020), woodcut on ivory somerset paper, 18 x 22.5 inches. All images © Tugboat Printshop, shared with permission

Valerie Lueth, who’s behind the Pittsburgh-based Tugboat Printshop (previously), continues to cultivate dreamy scenarios painstakingly printed with intricately carved woodblocks. Her recent creations include a distant truss bridge peeking through vegetation, a whimsically intertwined pair of trees—now in full color, this piece began as a black-line woodcut commissioned for an edition of Jean-Claude Grumberg’s The Most Precious of Cargoes—and a web of vines dripping with rain and jewels evoking a dreamcatcher.

After sketching with pencil on plywood blocks, Lueth hand-carves the meticulous designs with knives and gouging tools and often cuts multiple panels with slight variances for each print. In addition to building depth of color, Lueth’s sequential process yields greater highlights, shadows, and overall detail to the completed work. The lush, leafy scene comprising “Blue Bridge,” for example, is the product of four blocks coated in black, blue, green, and purple oil-based inks, which are pressed in succession to create the richly layered landscape.

Prints are available on Esty or from Tugboat’s site, and you can see more of Lueth’s process and a larger collection of her works, including a glimpse at a new floral relief in black-and-white, on Instagram.

 

Detail of “Web” (2019), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 20 x 16 inches

“Web” (2019), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 20 x 16 inches

“Blue Bridge” (2020), woodcut on ivory somerset paper, 18 x 22.5 inches

Detail of “Web” woodcuts

“Together Trees” (2020), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 12.5 x 9 inches

Detail of “Together Trees” (2020), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 12.5 x 9 inches

Detail of “Web” (2019), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 20 x 16 inches

Detail of “Blue Bridge” woodcut, 18 x 22.5 inches