The Decaying House Models of Daniele Del Nero

Italian artist Daniele Del Nero uses scale paper models of houses and mold to create a series of grotesque yet fascinating buildings that look like they’ve been abandoned for centuries.

In reality, it only takes Del Nero a few weeks to achieve this repulsive yet intriguing effect. With a background in building engineering and architecture, he creates realistic models out of black paper, which he then dampens and covers with a thin dusting of flour. The models are then placed in a transparent plexiglass case, where the mould takes over. Within two days it starts to grow on the building’s walls and after just two weeks it dies and leaves behind what the artist calls “a dusty spider-web which covers the model like a rambler plant”.

Del Nero avoids direct contact with the mould, removing the glass cover only to take photos of his artworks, and he even used to throw the models away after shooting them, but his vision has changed and he now believes “the models are part of my work as well as my photographs.”

Daniele Del Nero says the idea for his grotesque collection, entitled “After Effects”, was inspired by man’s perception of urban spaces – “We are used to imagining our cities as permanent and definitive, but it’s amazing how little time it takes for nature to reclaim its spaces”.

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Feline Lover Collects over 2,000 Ceramic Cats

60-year-old Pamela Cole has spent most of her life putting together an impressive collection of over 2,000 ceramic cats, and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.

When Ms. Cole says she’s crazy about cats, you best believe she means it – her house in Hollywood, Birmingham is practically full of ceramic cats, from a common replicas of cartoon characters like Top Cat, to 7th century BC Egyptian statuettes.

This unusual obsession with ceramic cats can be traced back to Pamela Cole’s childhood years, in the 1940s, when her mother bought her a cat to stop her feeling lonely. It was a simple pottery cat from a gift store in Corporation Street, but it kick-started her passion for collecting, and from then on she spent her days scouring shops and craft fairs in search of cat china.

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The Cat Museum of Kuching

Located in the strange UFO-like DBKU building, in Kuching, the Cat Museum is the perfect tourist attraction for cat lovers interested in anything and everything feline.

The Malaysian city of Kuching translates as The Cat City, so it makes perfect sense it have its very own cat museum, especially since many Malaysians believe cats bring good luck. The Cat Museum, along with dozens of cat statues around Kuching were erected in celebration of the city’s name, and the important role cats play in the every day life of the locals. It was inaugurated in 1993, and has since then become a favorite destination of cat lovers all over the world.

The Cat Museum of Kuching features over 2,000 feline related items, but it’s much more than just a collection of artifacts – it’s also a research center that focuses on the history and various beliefs surrounding cats. Among the most impressive displays are a mummified Egyptian cat dating back to 3500 BC, and the only stuffed specimen of the world’s rarest cat, Felis badia,  which lives in the jungles of Borneo. There are also plenty of cat statues made by various cultures, cat photos, posters and even stamps for cat loving philatelists or morbid cat burial scenes.

Believed to be the only one of its kind in the world, the Kuching Cat Museum offers plenty of valuable information into the history of cats and their part in human life, and is a must-visit attraction for cat enthusiasts everywhere.

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Artist Turns Insects into Fashionable Pieces of Jewelry

The “Living Jewels” created by Etsy artist aquakej are made from real colorful insects collected from all around the world.

Insect art is definitely not for everyone, but if the mere thought of bugs doesn’t make your skin crawl, you might actually consider wearing one of these unusual accessories. The Insects come from various insect farms that provide a healthy and eco-friendly living for people in developing countries, so you don’t have to feel guilty about wearing insect species into extinction.

Here’s what aquakej has to say about her rather creepy collection of insect jewelry:

Insect Art is made of real insects from around the world. They come to me dried out and all folded up. I re-hydrate them to make them flexible again, and then spread them out on a styrofoam board with sewing pins and little strips of paper. I do not put any pins through the bodies of my insects; I like them natural-looking and lifelike. This makes the insects a bit more difficult to handle, but the end result is worth it. Lastly, I choose an art background for the shadowbox frame and glue the insects onto that. The whole process takes several days, and each end result is unique.

Unique is right, but I’m not sure I’d willingly have these creepy crawlies on my body, but if you like them, you can check the artist’s shop and official site.

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Unique Matchstick Furniture Made in the USSR

Many people don’t realize it when they first walk into Roman Yerokhin‘s apartment, but many of his beautiful pieces of furniture are decorated with some of the most unusual materials – burnt matchsticks and broken tiles.

But as soon as they sit at the large monolithic table in his kitchen and notice its decorative patterns are actually made from thousands of burned matchsticks, their jaws instantly hit the floor and then the questions start. The first thing that pops into their heads is that his family used these common materials because they were poor, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, Roman says his ancestors were wealthy jewelers before the communists came to power, and even during their regime, his parents made a decent living as graphic artists. The main reason they resorted to matchsticks as decorations is that any other materials were scarce, and having lived under a communist rule myself, I know just what he means. Communism put a roof over your head, provided you with a job and put some food on the table, but it did absolutely no toleration for exercising cultural and spiritual freedom.

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The Sanctuary of Truth – Pattaya’s Wooden Wonder

Rising105 meters into the sky, the Sanctuary of Truth is a one-of-a-kind gigantic structure that pays homage to the ‘Ancient Vision of Earth’, ‘Ancient Knowledge’ and ‘Eastern Philosophy’. It looks like a Thai temple or a palace, but it’s actually neither of them, so many people just look at it at as a monument to Thai craftsmanship.

Covering thirty two acres of land, on a rocky hilltop overlooking the ocean, the Sanctuary of Truth is the most magnificent sight in North Pattaya, and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand. It is entirely carved out of teak wood and features the most beautiful and elaborate wood carvings I have ever seen, inspired by the four major artistic and philosophical influences in Thailand (Chinese, Thai, Khmer and Hindu). Buddha heads, sacred animals and all kinds of  religious and philosophical themes are depicted in the thousands of wooden sculptures and carvings adorning both the interior and outside walls of the sanctuary.

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World’s Most Expensive Bed Costs $6.3 Million

Stuart Hughes, one of the world’s most controversial designers, has set out to create the “Baldacchino Supreme“, a handmade bed priced at a whopping $6.3 million.

Everything Stuart Hughes creates has to be over the top, or chocking, and his latest work is no different. The Baldacchino Supreme has a structure made from the finest curving ash wood and chestnut wood with a canopy of cherry wood. It’s inlaid with 107 kg of 24 carat gold, and features various gold leaf decorations, while the headboard can be decorated with diamond buttons or other precious stones.

When it comes to fabric, you’ll have a hard time finding more luxurious materials than those used for Stuart Hughes Baldacchino Supreme. The finest Italian silk and cotton (with no burn certification) will have you sleeping like a king.

Priced at $6.3 million, this bed is so exclusive that only two of them will ever be created. The first one was completed in three months time and has already been acquired by an Italian businessman. And here I thought we had a serious financial crisis on our hands…Just so you know, the former world’s most expensive bed, from Parnian Furniture, was worth “just” $210,000.

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The Dried Citrus Sculptures of Daniel Watson

They say idle hands are the devil’s workshop, so inmate Daniel Watson tries to keep busy by creating these beautiful sculptures out of dried citrus.

I stumbled across Daniel Watson’s unique creations while reading Accidental Mysteries (the coolest outsider art blog I know) and they immediately caught my eye. They may look like ancient artifacts, but they’re really just dried citrus skins carved by Daniel, in his spare time. He’s serving a life sentence in a California penitentiary, so he’s got lots of time on his hands…

Described as “hovering somewhere between Pre-Columbian and alien,” Daniel Watson’s dried citrus skin sculptures have been sold at various art auctions. The two artworks below were created in 1998, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find any of his more recent creations. If anyone knows anything more about the artist and his work, please share with the rest of us.

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Hotel for Chicken Opens Up in Cornwall

I’ve read and written about a some pretty unusual hotels, in the past, but this is the first chicken hotel I’ve ever heard of.

The Chicken Hotel created by 31-year-old David Roberts, from Boskenwyn, Helston, is almost just like any other hotel out there, with one big difference – instead of people, it offers accommodations for chicken. I know it sounds like a joke, but this  place is for real, and apparently  it’s also very successful.

“With more people looking to escape the rat race and move out in the country with a little bit of land, keeping chickens is becoming more and more popular. But what do you do if you go away on holiday? Who looks after the chicken?” asks Mr. Roberts, who opened his unusual establishment to encourage people to raise their own chicken. A former cabinet-maker, David Roberts built the chicken coops himself and now rents them for 2 pounds each, plus 75 pence per chicken.

Each coop in the Chicken Hotel holds up to eight chicken and the current offer includes buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner of local produce, served in open-air. Guests are allowed to roam around the hotel grounds all day, before being gathered to roost at night. According to Mr. Roberts, the hotel was fully booked over Christmas time, and he hopes half term and Easter will be just as successful.

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Giant Porcelain Rabbit Is Made from 30,000 Plates

The people of Jingdezhen City, China have found an original way to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Rabbit – they’ve built a giant statue of a rabbit from 30,000 porcelain plates.

Ever since the Song dynasty, 1,700 years ago, Jingdezhen has been known as the “porcelain city” because of its porcelain-making history, so it made perfect sense the locals used centuries-old skills for the celebration. Just like that porcelain dragon from Yangzhou that I posted about last week, this giant rabbit sculpture features a metal frame covered with thousands of porcelain plates.

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Designer Creates Functional Sofa Out of 8,000 Chopsticks

Sofa_XXXX is the creation of German designer Yuya Ushida, is a unique expandable sofa made from 8,000 wooden chopsticks.

Showcased during the Designers Fair at the IMM Cologne 2011 exhibition, Sofa_XXXX attracted a lot of attention because of the unusual medium Ushida used, and its ingenious folding mechanism. The expandable and retractable sofa was created from 8,000 wooden chopsticks, individually cut to four different lengths and sanded to just the right angle, connected with metal rings and plastic joints. German-based designer Yuya Ushida spent three months working on the Sofa_XXXX project, but the stunning end result was definitely worth the effort.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this one-of-a-kind chopstick sofa is that it can actually support up to three 70-kg-heavy people at any one time.

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World’s Tallest Optimus Prime Statue Unveiled in China

An 11-meters-high, 21-ton heavy statue of Autobots leader Optimus Prime has recently been unveiled in one of the squares of Shenyang City, China. According to Chinese sources, this is the biggest Transformers replica ever created, beating the previous record (also set by China) by only one meter. Just like all the other Optimus Prime statues I’ve featured on Oddity Central in the past, this latest one was assembled from various old car parts, taken from 20 automobiles.

The world’s tallest Optimus Prime model was completed yesterday and can now be admired outside the “Guangzhou Street” metro station, in Shenyang. I didn’t know Asia was so big on the Transformers franchise, seeing it has its own giant robot creations, like Gundam or Tetsujin, but the most impressive Transformers statues so far were created in mainland China and Taiwan.

 

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Russian Couple Tie the Knot at -30 Degrees Celsius

The unusual event took place last Saturday, when Sergei Kaunov and his fiancee Irina Kuzmenko got married in the ice-cold waters of the Enisei River, in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, at a temperature of -30 degrees Celsius.

Sergei, also known as “The Walrus”, is a member of the local ice-swimming club, always dreamed of getting married in such extreme conditions, but his fiancee was never a big fan of winter and low temperatures. Still, her love for The Walrus was so great that she agreed to go through this heart-stopping challenge. So after taking a nice bath to warm up, Irina followed her beloved into the frozen waters, where their friends were already waiting. They formed a half circle around the happy couple, and since no priest was brave enough to marry them at -30 degrees, Sergei simply put a ring on Irina’s finger, while the crowd cheered.

Luckily, friends and family of the happy couple who were to cold to stand by them during the offbeat ceremony, got to join the festivities in a nice warm wooden cabin, where they danced the night away.

I tell ya’, nothing says “I love you” like getting married at -30 degrees, because that’s what your fiancee wanted. I wish my wife had been so understanding and agreed to have the wedding at a strip club…

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The Eco-Friendly Junk Mail Portraits of Sandhi Schimmel Gold

Using a technique she calls Acrylic Mosaic Fusion, artist Sandhi Schimmel Gold takes junk mail and other paper waste and turns it into beautiful portraits.

Phoenix-based Sandhi Schimmel Gold has been fascinated by art for as long as she can remember. In her youth, she spent most of her days sitting quietly in the bedroom, drawing, and she remembers cutting school to spend her days in museums and art galleries around New York City. Although she studied art in school, Sandhi says she is pretty much self taught, and most of her works are influenced by her extensive travels.

The artist first felt inspired to create mosaic portraits years ago, when she was in Venice, Italy. She saw a portrait made of small colorful glass fragments ans since it was to heavy to transport home, by train, Sandhi decided to create one just like it. After a period of trial and error using glass and tile, she decided to change her art medium to ephemera.

Now, using upcycle junk mail, post cards, photos, calendars and other paper junk together with water-based, non-toxic paint, Sandhi Schimmel Gold creates the most amazing mosaic portraits. She doesn’t use any kind of technology or dies in her art; everything is hand-cut, hand-applied, hand-embellished and hand-finished. “My vision is to create beautiful yet thought-provoking images of beauty” says Sandhi, and she manages to do it by using paper waste most people throw away.

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Colombian Chef Creates Edible Wedding Dresses

Juan Manuel Barrientos, a talented young chef from Colombia, has created two fully edible wedding gowns and showcased them during the Colombiatex fashion show in Medellin.

Barrieto admits he didn’t know much about fashion, let alone edible fashion, until someone asked him about clothes that you could eat. He started doing some research on the subject and didn’t stop until he was able to create two beautiful wedding gowns exclusively out of edible materials.

Wedding dresses are usually just something pretty for people to look at, so Juan Manuel Barrieto decided to use his newly acquired knowledge to give them a whole new purpose. Instead of just eye-candy for the wedding guests, his beautiful creations are real candy for the groom to enjoy on his wedding night.

The original wedding dresses are made of 2,000 sugar-glazed rose petals and champagne clothe and come with edible accessories such as bracelets, earrings, necklaces and rings made of candy, and a bouquet made of edible flowers.

Barrieto showcased his sugary gowns during a textile fair for professionals that takes place between Januarry 25 and 27, in the Colombian city of Medellin.

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