Szopka Making – A Colorful Polish Tradition

2 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

The beginning of December each year sees the transformation of Rynek Główny (Main Market Square)  in the Polish city of Krakow, into a beautiful Christmas market. Arts and crafts, ceramics, sweets and more are put up for sale. Excellent food in the form of grilled oscypek cheese and Polish wine are available too.The szopka, a crèche competition, is of course the major event.

On the first Thursday of December, crèche masters from around Poland and other parts of the world display their szopki at the history museum in the Krzysztofory Palace. The winning models are placed on display throughout the Christmas season. The szopka is a traditional Polish folk art that has its origins in the Middle Ages. The tradition is a rich and colorful one, having evolved over the ages. The szopki depict the Wawel Cathedral, which is a part of Krakow’s Wawel Castle with a Nativity scene set inside its doors. Some of the models are as small as 6 inches while others are around 6 feet high.

..

Artist Folds Realistic Insects from a Single Sheet of Paper

3 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

As real as these insects might look, they are actually made from a single sheet of paper, expertly folded by origami master, Brian Chan.

I’ve been staring at Brian Chan’s creations for a while, and I still find it mind-boggling how someone can produce such realistic work by folding a simple piece of paper. But 31-year-old Chan manages to do just that, creating realistic-looking insects that almost fool the naked eye. A craft instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Brian works on his impressive paper artworks in his spare time. Talking about his beginnings in the world of origami, he says ”I started by copying work of other authors about 20 years ago but after a while I was good enough to start coming up with my own pieces.” His parents encouraged him by buying him all kinds of origami books, which proved great sources for independent learning.

..

Buffalo Body-Painting at Unique Traditional Festival

2 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

What started as a means to ward off intruders, is now a full-blown festival. The people of Jiangcheng County, China’s Yunnan Province, have their bulls painted and decorated by artists for a major event every year. The bulls are displayed in a riot of colors, painted with a variety of themes.

Traditionally, the bulls were painted by the Hani people of China in the belief that the practice would protect their village, mainly by preventing tigers from wandering into their homes. Of course, the threat of tigers and other man-eaters has reduced drastically in modern times, but the festival continues to be celebrated with much enthusiasm. The China-Laos-Vietnam Bull Painting Festival, as it is called, had 48 participating teams this year. The paraded bulls were hardly recognizable, covered in colors like bright blue, gold, yellow and red. But the paintings were far from abstract. The bulls served as a canvas for some real artistic talent, landscapes, portraits, and intricate patterns adorned their otherwise brown or white skin. Even the horns were covered with paint.

..

Incredible Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Can’t find any use for those thick books lying around your house? Carve landscapes out of them! At least, that’s what Guy Laramee has been doing for some time now.

An interdisciplinary artist who has been practicing for 30 years now, Laramee has done several things in his lifetime, from stage writing to contemporary music, painting painting and literature. But the work he became most famous for is book sculpture. Rocky mountain ranges, bodies of water, islands and hidden caves, you name it,  he can bring it to life out of a book, in 3D. For instance, from a set of English and Chinese hardcover encyclopedias, he has created two series of stunning landscapes, named The Great Wall and Biblios.

..

World’s Smallest Theater Fits Only Eight Guests

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Possibly the smallest theater in the world, and a strong contender for a Guiness record, the Kremlhof Theater is located in Villach, Austria. It’s so tiny, it can only fit eight guests, all of whom get front row seats.

In fact, it look doesn’t look at all like a theater, more like a cabin of sorts. The stage inside measures 1.30 by 1.30 m, and runs regular shows. Built by Felix Strasser and Yulia Izmaylova, irregularly puts on shows of the opera, ballet and plays for the privileged limited audience. The guests are required only to make a mere donation, as the theater doesn’t sell tickets. The Kremlhof Theater was opened 2 years ago in 2009, with the help of the theater organization for the stimulation of the dramatic appetite (der Verein zur Anregung des dramatischen Appetits or VADA). Also involved were the drama companies, ONEX and kärnöl. Their first production ever was called “Schnee” and began in January 2010.

..

Have a nICE Stay At Finland’s Igloo Village

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Ever wondered what it would be like to live in an igloo? Well, you have the chance to find out at the Kakslauttanen Igloo Village, in Finland. A hotel located in the northern part of the country, high up above the arctic circle,  is being touted as one of the coziest romantic getaways in the world.

Holidaying couples have three options at the hotel – Log Cabins, Snow Igloos, and Glass Igloos. Of course, the snow igloos get my vote for the most interesting of the three. Let’s find out more about them. Built to fit 1 to 5 people, it is literally like sleeping inside a room made of snow Of course, while the temperature outside may be dangerously cold at below -30 C, all the necessary amenities are provided indoors to keep you warm and cozy. The temperature inside ranges between -3 and -6 C. Warm down sleeping bags, woolen socks and hood are provided. The ice itself illuminates the igloo.

..

Coolest Finds of the Week #23

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

(NSFW) The Daily Routine of a World Champion Masturbator (YouTube)

China’s Giant Snow Sculpture Festival (Environmental Graffiti)

How to Make a Giant Snow Ski Rapm Off of Your Roof (Laughing Squid)

Cardboard Cop Cars Slow Chinese Traffic (Orange News)

Remote-Controlled Motorised Shoes Save You the Effort of Walking (Daily Mail)

Giant Wave-Shaped Clouds over Birmingham, Alabama (Life’s Little Mysteries)

World’s Shortest Woman Is Just 2-Feet-Tall (People Magazine)

Asia Obscura Tests China’s weirdest Potato Chip Flavors (Asia Obscura)

10-Foot Story Rocket Burried in Swamps of Florida (Environmental Graffiti)

Seoul’d Balancing Expert Is Awesome (YouTube)

..

The Miniature World of the Holiday Train Show, in New York

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

The New York Botanical Garden has put up a new  Holiday Train Show, which has been attracting several visitors. Held in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the show isn’t very far from the entrance to the garden. The display does feature some trains, but the real attractions are the models of famous buildings made entirely from plants.

The miniature trains weave around the lush plants and flowers, and replicas of the Empire State Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, TWA Terminal at JFK and a few other buildings that are made entirely of plant parts. What’s special about these models is that they aren’t exact replicas of the structures themselves. Rather, artists have tried to capture the defining characteristics of these buildings. Creator Paul Busse, along with his team of artists gathers the material from woodlands around their studio situated in Kentucky, making an effort not to disturb the natural environment. The 100% natural models are created from plant material, with acorn chimney tops and magnolia leaf roofs. The reproduction of Washington Irving’s home has pink orchids surrounding it, one of the branches wrapped like a vine around the entrance. Small plants and flowers are used to depict trees and bushes on a perfectly manicured front lawn.

..

The Amazing Oak Chapel of Allouville Bellefosse

1 CommentStumble it Icon digg it Icon

The French village of Allouville-Bellefosse is famous for the Chêne Chapelle (Oak Chapel), which is literally a chapel built into an oak tree. The amazing architecture consists of a wooden staircase spiraling around the ancient tree, leading up to a couple of chambers. These rooms have always been used as places of worship, by the village locals.

The age of the tree has been a subject of debate, but everyone agrees that it is the oldest tree in France, without a doubt. The tree is known to have been growing as far back as the thirteenth century, during the rule of Louis IX, when France was a truly centralized kingdom. It is also known to have survived the Hundred Years War against the English, the Black Death, the Reformation, and Napoleon’s rule. Local folklore dates it a 1,000 years old, when it is said that the acorn took root. However, tree experts say it could only be around 800 years old, which means the thirteenth century saw it’s origins.

..

Evgen Bavcar, the Blind Photographer

2 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

It’s amazing sometimes, the amount of skill and versatility displayed by the visually challenged. Especially when they’re able to do certain things better than those with perfect vision. Photography, for instance.

If you’re wondering how it could ever be possible that a blind man take photographs, Evgen Bavcar has gone and done just that. In fact, he is a noted photographer, with his works being published and exhibited around the world. Bavcar, who was born in a small Slovenian town near Venice in 1946, met with two consecutive accidents that completely robbed him of his sight. This, before he even reached the age of twelve. Around four years after this incident, he happened to have access to a camera for the very first time. The first snap he ever took, was of a girl he loved. It was then that Bavcar realized that “I secretly discovered I could possess something that I could not see…”

..

Dargavs – Russia’s City of the Dead

5 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

A place called the City of the Dead actually exists in Russia’s North Ossetia, hidden in one of the five mountain ridges that cross the region. Needless to say, several myths and legends shroud the place, with locals claiming that no one has ever come back alive. The ‘city’ hardly ever gets any tourists either, although this might be due to the difficulty of just getting there.

Reaching Dargavs, the City of the Dead, entails a three-hour journey through winding, narrow roads, and several hills. The foggy mountain weather certainly doesn’t help matters. Once there, you’ll find that the city  is in fact another hill covered with small white buildings. It is these very buildings that cause the place to get it’s name. The white house-like structures, countless in number, are stone crypts where locals buried their loved ones. The city itself is an ancient Ossetian cemetery. Each family of the area has a crypt, and the higher the structure, the greater the number of people buried in it. The oldest of the crypts dates back to the 16th century.

..

Cholombians – Mexican Kids with Crazy Hair-Styles

3 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Picture this hairstyle – the back of the head shaved, with a rat tail left at the bottom. The hair at the top of the head cut short and spiky, always trimmed. Long emo bangs covering the forehead. The highlight of it all, long sideburns that start at the top of the head going all the way down to the chin. The side burns are literally glued to the cheeks with copious amounts of hair gel. And the finishing touch – a small cap perched neatly on top of the head.

Quite a sight, isn’t it? What I’ve just described to you is the Estilo Colombiano, the hairstyle adopted by the Cholombians of Monterrey in northern Mexico. They are quite well known for their meticulous style of dressing, and the pride they take in their cultural heritage. The cumbia, music brought over from Colombia, is something they are equally famous for. The people of Monterrey have been in love with this music ever since the 1960s. Several Cholombian street vendors sell trinkets that are imported from Colombia – paintings, key chains, flags, hats, t-shirts and bumper stickers, but the most popular of the items are mixed tapes of cumbia. The cumbia of Monterrey has developed a style of it’s own.

..

Bossaball – Volleyball Meets Football on a Trampoline

4 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

There is no dearth of bizarre sports in this world, new ones are probably being invented everyday. One of the latest additions to the series is Bossaball. Sounds like baseball? Well, it’s nothing like that. Bossaball is in fact, a cross between volleyball, football and Brazilian capoeira, and it’s played on a trampoline.

Bossaball is a sport fast gaining popularity on the beaches of Andalusia. The concept of the game was first developed between 2002 and 2004, by Filip Eyckmans, a Belgian living in Andalusia. It was first introduced in Belgium and then Netherlands, before it was brought to Spain. Bossaball consists of two teams of three to five people, who toss the ball across a net, similar to volleyball. However, the players are all on trampolines. This lets them jump at least 12 ft into the air, allowing them better access to spike the ball. The ball can be touched with any part of the body. You can even double-touch a ball with your hands or your head. Only one player of a team is allowed on the trampoline at once. The others play on the ground.

..

Tribe Practices Finger Cutting as a Means of Grieving

2 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

In some cultures amputation is a form of mourning. This was especially true of the Dani tribe from Papua, Indonesia. The members of this tribe cut off their fingers as a way of displaying their grief at funeral ceremonies. Along with amputation, they also smeared their faces with ashes and clay, as an expression of sorrow.

It isn’t very surprising to learn that women were mostly subjected to this gruesome ritual. The religious beliefs of the tribe prompted this sort of ritual. If the deceased person was considered to be powerful, it was believed that their spirits would contain equal power too. In order to appease and drive away these spirits, several shocking practices were followed. Girls who were related to the dead had the upper parts of their fingers cut off. Before being cut, the fingers would be tied with a string for over 30 minutes. After the amputation, the finger tips were allowed to dry, before they were burned and the ashes buried in a special area.

..

Artist Uses iPad to Create Detailed Celebrity Portraits

4 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Long-gone are the days when painting was strictly done with specialized tools, like brushes, on canvases. Nowadays artists use anything from remote-controlled toy cars to Molotov cocktails to express their talents. So it should come to know surprise Kyle Lambert uses just one finger and the Apple iPad to create detailed celebrity portraits.

Kyle Lambert is a young English artist who specializes in portraits rendered using an iPad tablet and an $8 app, called Brushes. He only uses one finger as the brush, but judging by the detailed outcome, you’d think he has a whole set of professional tools and paints. Lambert starts out by sketching the basic facial proportions, drawing simple lines where the mouth, nose and eyes should be, making sure he gets the shape of the sitter’s head just right. It looks like the kind of sketch even I could do, but he says it’s the most important part of making a portrait, because it serves as the framework for the entire piece.

..

Page 31 of 153« First...1020...2930313233...405060...Last »