Chinese Pavilion Made Entirely from 668 Abacuses

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Showcased during an abacus-themed exhibition held in the Chinese city of Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, this large pavilion model is made from 668 different-size abacuses. Used as a calculating tool centuries before the adoption of the written numeral system, the abacus is a big part of Asian culture, and is still widely use by merchants and clerks around Asia and Africa. Apart from the impressive abacus pavilion, visitors at the exhibition could admire over 100 abacuses, from the simplest to more complex versions.

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Embroidered Eggs – The Coolest Thing This Easter

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Just when you think you’ve seen everything, along comes another mind-boggling art form that you didn’t think existed and probably never even imagined. This time it’s embroidered eggs.

I can say I’ve seen my share of wonderful Easter egg artworks, including intricate eggshell sculptures, colorful Easter Egg mosaics, an Easter Egg Tree and even an Easter Egg theme park, but I had never seen something as beautiful and original as these embroidered eggs. It’s something I know I will never be able to do, but like Mary Corbett says, it’s amazing to know someone out there did do it.

I know they look pretty unbelievable, and at first glance you’d be tempted to think the embroidered motifs are done separately and glued on the eggs, but after taking a closer look you notice the holes, and realize these are real embroidered eggs. I don’t know who invented this incredible technique, but I’m pretty sure they require years of practice and a lot of patience to create. So, even though Easter 2011 is behind us, you can start practicing now, and you might just have something to brag about to your friends, next year.

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Indian Sadhu Has Kept His Right Hand Up for the Last 38 Years

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Sadhu Amar Bharati is an Indian holy man who claims he has kept his right hand raised in the air since 1973. Now, 38 years later, his hand is just a useless piece of skin and bone, but has become a symbol for Shiva worshipers around India.

Until 1970, Amar Bharati was an average middle-class man who lived a normal life. He had a job, a home, a wife and three children, but none of that mattered when he woke up one morning and decided to leave everything behind and dedicate his life to serving the Hindu god Shiva. He began wandering the roads of India dressed in his simple Sadhu clothes and carrying only his trusty Trishula (a metal trident). After three years, in 1973, Amar realized he was still too connected to the fading luxury and pleasures of mortal life, and decided to separate himself from them by raising his right arm and keeping it raised. 38 years later, his arm is still up and he couldn’t use it, even if he wanted to.

Other sources claim Amar Bharati felt disillusioned by all the fighting going on in the world, and decided to raise his right arm for peace. A respected Sadhu at the Kumbh Mela, in Haridwar, Amar has inspired other Sadhus to raise their arms for peace and harmony, and some of them have kept them raised for the last seven, thirteen, even 25 years. But doing something like this doesn’t just mean giving up the functionality of an important body part, it also implies dealing with a lot of pain. Bharati himself says he went through excruciating pain for a long time, but not anymore. That’s because his arm is completely atrophied and stuck in a bizarre, semi-vertical position, a useless bony structure ending in thick, twisted nails that he never clips.

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Incredible Etch-A-Sketch Artworks by George Vlosich

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Placed in the hands of a great artist, even a children’s toy like Etch-a-Sketch can become a powerful tool able to deliver mind-blowing masterpieces. Case in point – George Vlosich

George has been drawing since he was two years old, but it wasn’t until he got his hands on an old Etch-a-Sketch, in 1989, that he discovered his unique talent. He and his family were getting ready to go on a trip to Washington D.C., when they decided to drop by grandma’s house to say goodbye. His mother found her 1960’s old Etch-a-Sketch and gave it to George and his brother, so they wouldn’t get bored in the car. The ten year old artist etched a picture of the U.S. Capitol, and when his parents saw how detailed it came out, they pulled up at a nearby gas station and took a picture of his work, before it got erased.

In the beginning, Vlosich Etched a lot of simple things like Batman, Spiderman, and pretty much anything he took interest in, and before long the Etch-a-Sketch became the favorite way of expressing his artistic talents. The more he Etched, the better he got at drawing, and the more he drew, the better he Etched. At first, his works didn’t take himvery long to complete, but the more complicated his art became, the more time he had to dedicate to them. Now, every one of his Etch-a-Sketch artworks takes him between 70 to 80 hours to finish.

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comBATON – Welcome to Martial Arts Football

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Do you like American Football but wish kicking was allowed in the game? Are you a martial arts student who wishes classes weren’t so darn boring? If this is you, comBATON will be your favorite sport.

ComBATON was invented back in 1998, by Steve Blanton, but the first practice game didn’t take place until November 2004. You see, although Blanton had a vision, he needed someone to develop the game into a playable version, and that person was David Turnbull, president of the Florida A.A.U. Tae Kwon Do Association. He had more than a few black belt students more than willing to play in a game of comBATON, and when he saw how naturally they acted as a team, on the field, he knew he had struck gold.

The word comBATON is derived from combat and baton, and“the object of the game is for the offense to move the baton down field and score on their opponent’s goal pole. The defense must stop the offense and end the attack by kicking the baton carrier.” The goals are more like poles from which the opponent’s baton hangs, and a member of the attacking team carrying their baton has to kick the opponent’s baton to score. Sounds a little confusing with all these batons lying around, but martial arts enthusiasts seem to love it.

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Designer Makes Furniture from Discarded Electronics

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Benjamin Rollins Caldwell of BRC Design recycles old computer components by using them to create original pieces of furniture.

Discarded electronics are a major problem for the environment, and there’s no better example than China’s Guiyu electronics waste site, but some people come up with original ideas that make recycling them look easy and cool. Take Benjamin Rollins Caldwell, who’s Binary Collection features pieces of furniture any computer geek would love to have in their home.

For the Binary Low Table, the designer used bent computer tower cases as a basic frame, and proceeded to add various computer parts like motherboards, computer chips, LED displays and hard-drives, until the structure was completely covered. Even the glass panels were salvaged from an old warehouse. For the Binary Chair 01 and Binary Chair 02, Caldwell used a frame made of an old industrial printer, covered with a collage of electronics. Apart from being completely functional and visually appealing, the Binary Chairs also have an interactive quality, as the various buttons and keys can be pressed, the hard-disks can be spun and the antennae raised.

So why dump a bunch of toxic electronics in a landfill when you can create something as beautiful as BRC’s Binary Collection?

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Marker-Wielding Artist Turns Rooms into 3D Installations

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German artist Heike Weber uses dozens of permanent markers to completely transform a dull space into a mesmerizing three-dimensional environment.

The artist starts out by drawing her loopy shapes on sheets of paper, then proceeds to making them permanent by repeating the process on a room’s floor, ceiling and walls, with markers. I can’t imagine how much patience you need to do all the drawing by hand, considering you’re pretty much tracing the same lines over and over again, but I guess that’s just one of the qualities that make Heike Weber a great artist. What’s even more impressive is some her installations are larger than 5,000 square feet.

Apart from using the marker’s colors, Weber’s technique allows her to control the white space between the lines, creating a three-dimensional world that somehow feels alive. I can’t imagine anyone being able to live in a space that seems to be constantly flowing around them, but if you can’t make up your mind about how to decorate your home, maybe you should try a permanent marker and unleash your artistic talent. This guy did it, and it turned out pretty darn amazing.

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Artist Draws Portraits Using the Ashes of Her Subjects

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Raven J. Collins thinks she may be the only artist in the world to brush the raw ashes of a deceased person onto a pencil portrait.

Using ashes as a medium is a growing trend in the artwork, but while some are mixing it with paint to create abstract works, moulding them into bizarre sculptures, or even compressing and using it as pencil filling (like lead), Raven Collins uses the ashes to create commission portraits of the deceased, whether they be human or animal. She’s only been doing it for a while, but ash-portraits already make up 90% of her business.

As cremation becomes the more popular option in the funeral industry, the number of choices of what to do with the ashes also increases. Some people prefer to keep them in a fancy urn, others spill them into the ocean or over a peaceful pasture, but more and more people opt to incorporate their loved-ones’ remains into various artworks. Artists like Raven sometimes get referrals from funeral homes, but most of their advertising is word of mouth and online exposure.

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Insane Puzzle Collages by Gerhard Mayer

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Gerhard Mayer, a talented artist from Nürnberg, Germany, uses thousands of puzzle pieces to create incredibly beautiful collages.

If you’ve ever tried to complete a common jigsaw puzzle you know how hard and time consuming it could be. Now imagine you have to assemble dozens of puzzles into a gigantic one that actually looks like a scenery taken out of a fantasy novel. Sounds impossible, right? Wrong, and Gerhard Mayer’s intricate works prove it can be done, provided you have loads of talent, patience and time on your hands.

Up to 18 meters in size, sometimes covering entire gallery walls, Mayer’s gigantic mosaics are made of thousands of colorful pieces carefully pieced together to create breath-taking images. The artist uses a special technique that includes creating multiple layers of puzzle pieces over already completed sections to create an entire new landscape, and putting together multiple puzzles in an imperceptible way. Gerhard Mayer places all the pieces by hand and uses no other type of coloring other than that of the puzzles.

The artist says he tries to create children’s worlds to heal the world of adults.

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Crazy English – To Learn the Language by Shouting Out

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Crazy English is a non-traditional Chinese method of learning English, which encourages students to practice by shouting English words at organized rallies and even on top of buildings.

According to Li Yang, the creator of this unusual learning program, Crazy English can best be described with the quote “To shout out loud, you learn”. He claims the traditional way of learning English in China is ineffective, and that in order to overcome their shyness and master the language, people have to shout out the words in public. It’s no secret that his revolutionary technique has long been criticized by many traditional Chinese people, because it goes against the ancient Oriental virtues of restraint modesty and moderation, but Li stood by his unusual methods despite all the opposition, and has so far lectured to tens of millions of people.

As a child, Li was very shy and showed no aptitudes for foreign languages. He was so shy that he was afraid to talk to people, and wouldn’t even go to the cinema by himself. Once he was electrocuted during physical therapy, but was to shy to even mention it to anyone. The years went by, but Li’s sistuation didn’t change very much. He got into the Engineering Mechanics Department of Lanzhou University, but failed all of his 13 exams, including English. Determined to make a change, the young student began preparing for the College English Test level 4, a standardized English test for college students.

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Hungarian Collector Shows Off World’s Smallest Library

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Jozsef Tari has been collecting miniature books since 1972, and is now the proud owner of over 4,500 literary works, including the world’s smallest book (2.9 x 3.2 mm).

A printer by trade, Tari has always been fascinated by the written word, and in 1972 he began collecting miniature books. Most of the items in his collection are in Hungarian, but he also has quite a few from the US, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Indonesia and Japan. Ironically, he only has a few books from the countries neighboring Hungary. As far as topics are concerned, Jozsef Tari is interested in everything from religion to sports, literature and even cooking, but he only collects books that are 76 mm in size, or smaller. His collection features books that are over 100 years old, but his most prized miniature is the world’s smallest book – it measures only 2.9 x 3.2 millimeters and fits into a nutshell.

Apart from the 4,500 books in his collection, Tari also has 15 kinds of miniature newspapers, including the smallest in the world, which measures only 19 x 26 mm.

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Valle de la Prehistoria – Cuba’s Jurassic Park

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Valle de la Prehistoria, near the city of Santiago de Cuba, is a prehistoric-themed tourist attraction that features life-size models of over 200 dinosaurs and cavemen.

Located inside the Bocanao National park, Valle de la Prehistoria spreads over 11 hectares of land and is as close as it can get to a real-life Jurassic Park. The vast recreational park dedicated to science and palaeontology is split into multiple areas separated by geological epochs, and features lush vegetation, man-made waterfalls and 227 concrete statues representing 59 different species, including dinosaurs, mammoths, felines and early cavemen.

Perhaps the most spectacular statue in the whole Valle de la Prehistoria is the 12-meter-high Cro magnon welcoming tourists at the park entrance, with a giant stone axe in hand and a Flintstones-like sign post that reads “Do not hesitate! Go! Dare to discover the Jurassic Park dreamed by Spielberg himself”. According to people who visited this popular tourist attraction, it is indeed a fun way to travel back in time, and no other facility manages to recreate a prehistoric atmosphere as faithfully.

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The Crunchy Cereal Art of Ryan Alexiev

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American artist Ryan Alexiev uses different kinds of cereal to create colorful mosaics,from portraits like that of Barrack Obama to recreation of popular artworks.

Cereal is America’s number one breakfast choice and the third most popular product in supermarkets, so it makes sense why Alexiev chose it as a medium to examine the ideology of American consumerism, through his art. He hand places thousands of crunchy cereal bits to create detailed mosaics that literally look  good enough to eat.

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Alaska by two Bulgarian immigrants, Ryan Alexiev has worked with a lot of materials over the years, but he is mostly known for his cereal mosaics and landscapes like the Wizard of O’s and The Land Of A Million Cereals.

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Cindy Jackson – The Woman Who Refuses to Age without a Fight

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At 55, Cindy Jackson currently holds the Guinness Record for the most plastic surgery, but doesn’t look like a monster at all. She’s just doing what she can to look as young as she feels inside.

In 2004, during an interview with CBS, Cindy Jackson admitted she never outgrew her obsession with looking like a Barbie doll. She saud: “I looked at a Barbie doll when I was 6 and said, ‘This is what I want to look like.’” That’s probably what a lot of little girls say, but they eventually grow out of it, which wasn’t the case with Cindy. Growing up as a farm girl in Fremont, Ohio, Cindy recalls she wasn’t very good looking, unlike her sister who was breathtakingly beautiful and always attracted more attention.

At 21, she moved to London where among other experiences, she had a short-lived career as a punk rocker. The years went buy, but her childhood obsession with looking like Barbie stuck with her, and at 33, Cindy got her chance to make her dream come true. When her father died, she inherited some money and decided to invest it all in her appearance. She began by having her upper and lower eyelids reshaped to open up her eyes, then moved on to liposuction on her knees and collagen injections. She admits her surgery was pretty extreme, considering she had multiple nose jobs, breast implants, cheekbone reshaping and implants, liposuction and microdermabrasion, but thinks her investment was wise as it allowed her to become a pioneering case study of plastic surgery. She also launched two best-selling books about her experiences, launched her own skin care treatments, traveled the world and got her singing career off the ground.

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Guarachero Boots – When Long Is Simply Too Long

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They’ve only been around for about a year, but these ridiculously long Mexican pointy boots have already become a major fashion trend at dance clubs and rodeo dance floors around northern Mexico.

The guys at Vice heard about the unusual footwear and journeyed to the Mexican city of Matehuala, in the northern state of San Luís Potosí, to learn more about it. Apparently the trend started about the same time the music known as “tribal guarachero” became popular among the youth of the area. A combination of pre-Hispanic and African sounds, Colombian cumbia and modern house music mixed by young DJs, tribal quickly became the favorite dance music of young Mexicans who soon began organizing dance-offs in clubs and at rodeo festivals.

At first, everyone wore normal size cowboy boots, but at one point people started making them longer and longer, until it got out of control. It turned into a competition between ranches and neighborhoods over who had the longest, pointiest boots, and before long contests for the best chuntarito boots were organized. Much to the dissatisfaction of many fellow Mexicans who see the new fashion as a latino version of the “Jersey Shore” trend, fans of tribal guarachero kept making even longer boots and highlighting them by wearing skinny jeans. Some say they’ve seen guys wearing seven-foot long boots.

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