Woman Spends 12 Hours a Day Sewing for the Last 17 Years to Create Largest Embroidery by a Single Person

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We all have our small hobbies and passions, but for Heather Hems sewing has been a huge part of her life for the last 17 years. She has dedicated at least 10 -12 hours to sewing every day and has created a collection of embroidered artworks twice the size of the Bayeux Tapestry.

The 69-year-old pensioner claims she has dedicated over 70,000 hours to sewing, over the last 17 years, time in which she also managed to hold down a job as a typesetter, raise three children and do house chores. But how did she find time to do it all, you ask? Mrs. Hems says she worked all day, then took care of her kids, and finally sat down and sewed 10 to 12 hours every night. She only slept for two hours before doing it all over again. This amazing lady says she owes her ambitious mentality to her father who used to challenge her to do things as a child, and race to see who could collect various stuff faster.

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Finnish Artist Uses Discarded Car Parts to Make Giant Sculptures of Cows

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Helsinki-based Miina Akkijyrkka has made a name for herself in the art world based almost exclusively on the image of the cow. Throughout her long career she has created various representations of the bovine that have managed to spun both interest and controversy.

Using the cow as inspiration for an art career may seem strange, but it makes a lot more sense once you take a look at her schooling history. She studied horses at the Equine College Ypäjä, then turned to studying dairy farming at the Dairy Farming School of North-Savo, before attending the School of Fine Arts of Finland. Miina is known as a protector of Finncattle, the native Finnish dairy breed, and even owns her own cows.

Asked about her relationship with cows, Miina Akkijyrkka told art21: My feelings for the cows are deeper than a mother’s feelings for her children, stronger than any feeling I have ever had for a lover, more than any other thing on earth; it’s like blood vessels. I share a placenta with cows. We share the same blood. I look at the world through a cow’s telescope. I have a tiny piece of macaroni through which I look at the world from a cow’s point of view. 

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Toasted Celebrity Portraits by Henry Hargreaves

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New York artist Henry Hargreaves makes portraits of modern icons using dozens of pieces of toast. You have to admit, burnt toast never looked this good.

With his series of toast portraits entitled “Toasted”, Henry Hargreaves joins the ranks of established artists who chose toast as their art medium, the likes of Maurice “Toastman” Bennett, Laura Hadland or Adam Sheldon. Using dozens of pieces of toast, some barely toasted, other burned to a crisp, Hargreaves managed to create a series of mosaic portraits that includes The Beatles, Che Guevarra, Jim Morrison and Marylin Monroe. I gotta say they all look good good enough to eat.

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Artist Turns Dull Buildings into Fairytale Settings

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Ukrainian artist Daria Marchenko and her team were commissioned by a night-time delivery company to turn their dull-delivery points into something truly special, and the results are just fantastic.

Night Express, a courier service operating in the Ukraine, decided to remind their clients about their favorite fairytales, cartoons and childhood dreams, by turning delivery points in various Ukrainian cities into mind-blowing optical illusions. The fact that Night Express operates at night, when people dream, was the inspiration behind this amazing project carried out by Daria Marchenko and her team of gifted artists.

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Artist Writes Detailed Portraits of Dogs

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Florida-based artist Stephen Kline has created a new artistic technique that allows him to draw detailed portraits of dogs, using only text. For example he can draw the portrait of a poodle just by writing the word ‘poodle’ a few hundred times. You’d think writing the same  word so many times would eventually get boring even for the most patient artist, but Stephen has so far created hundreds of these brilliant litographs of every dog breed you can think of.

Stephen Kline introduced his Lines of Language technique in 1999, and since then he’s gained thousands of art-collecting fans from 20 different countries and every state in the US. His litographs have so far generated tens of thousands of dollars for dog rescue centers around the world.

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The Magnificent Floating Puppets of Les Plasticiens Volants

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Les Plasticiens Volants is a world-renown theater group that stages monumental performances using giant inflatable puppets, some over 20 meters long.

Ever since it was established, in 1976, the unique group has been entertaining audiences world-wide withe their amazing shows. From just two members, the group has grown to a company of 30 enthusiasts who create the puppets and masterfully operate them over the heads of the audience, telling a story. According to the members of the Les Plasticiens Volants, the advantage and at the same time the biggest challenge is building a marionette without a solid or fixed structure. They bend in the air and turn their heads in a way that makes them seem alive. But, as you can imagine, they are lot harder to control from the ground.

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Designer Creates Modern Persian Rugs Using Google Earth

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Using images from Google Earth, German designer David Hanauer was able to give a contemporary twist to the ancient craft of Persian carpet making.

Hanauer first began working on his “Worldwide Carpets” project in 2008, after finding himself fascinated with Las Vegas’ uniform, top-down suburban planning. After he got the idea of using aerials images of the city as prints for a modern Persian carpet, he needed to find the best aerial views, and what better alternative than the free-to-use Google Earth? And since our eyes are used to a horizontal view, rather than seeing things from above, at first most people assume it’s just an abstract pattern, instead of a Las Vegas building block.

Persian rugs are arranged around a central point and are always symmetrical, so after David Hanauer finds the right sections from the 3D satellite maps, all he has to do is mirror the images in four directions, which automatically gives the carpets a Persian look. But instead of being hand-knotted, like the original carpets, these contemporary interior design accessories are printed on polyester using colorfast dyes.

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The Landfillart Project – Turning Hubcaps into Works of Art

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The Landfillart Project is an artistic endeavor that tries to get people thinking about the amount of trash they generate, by repurposing hubcaps as unique artworks.

The idea was thought up by Ken Marquis, from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, who has spent the last three years convincing other artists from all the US states and 52 foreign countries to give old hubcaps the artistic treatment. Ken got the idea to use hubcaps while attending an auto show near Allentown, where a collection of 41 rusted wheel covers inspired and got him thinking they could be repurposed. He bought the entire cache for $82, and just a few weeks later acquired 1,000 more, from a collector in Quakertown.

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Thai Artist Stages Modern Day Gold Rush

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Acclaimed Thai artist Surasi Kusolwong is challenging art lovers to get down and dirty for the chance to get their hands on a real gold necklace.

Kusolwong’s latest art installation, called Sickness, is one big pile of colorful wool and yearn, but it contains precious treasures in the shape of gold necklaces planted by the artist himself. Lucky visitors at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center have the chance to get down on all four and look for one of the ten gold necklaces hidden withing the sea of thread waste. There is no info on how long a person is allowed to search for the precious necklaces worth hundreds of dollars, but I’m thinking it’s not a lot of time, considering only one of the ten necklaces has been found since the Sickness exhibition opened, on August 21. If someone manages to find one of the small treasures they are allowed to keep it.

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The Creepy Taxidermy Creatures of Andrew Lancaster

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Andrew Lancaster is a New Zealand taxidermist who has taken the art of stuffing animals to new heights by creating impossible hybrids like three-headed chickens of winged possums.

Lancaster has been creating his creepy creatures for about two years, but he began practicing taxidermy after he moved to New Zealand, from England, 14 years ago. After seeing heaps of dead animals on the side of the road , he thought to himself “what a waste”, and decided they were good material for his art. Now whenever he drives past roadkill, he backs up and puts in his his trunk. At home, he either puts them in the freezer, “right under the ice cream and vegetables” or on top of the hot water cylinder, to dry.

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Japanese Artist Creates Structures from 30,000 Post-Its

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Japanese artist Yo Shimada, of tat-o architects, has created a series of fragile structures using thousands of brightly-colored post-its.

This isn’t the first time someone has used the good old post-it as an art medium, but it may well be the first time it serves as a building material. Aided by students from the Kyoto University of Art and Design, Yo Shimada painstakingly glued around 30,000 colored post-its to create building components which were later assembled to create a wall-like structure currently exhibited at the Gallery Artzone, in Kyoto.

Visitors were given the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the post-it structure by writing their thoughts on post-its and sticking them to the facing gallery walls.

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The Awe-Inspiring Paper Sculptures of Allen and Patty Eckman

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Allen and Patty Eckman create detailed cast paper sculptures inspired by Native American culture, using a special technique they themselves invented.

Allen Eckman took an interest in art and design after returning from Vietnam, where he served as a Sargent. He attended the Art Center College of Design, where he met Patty, who obviously shared his passion for the arts. They married, had kids and managed an advertising company in the Los Angeles area for about 12 years, after which they decided they had had enough of their stressful careers and agreed it was time for a fresh start in something they were truly passionate about, art.

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Beautiful Panographies by Mareen Fischinger

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Panographies are wide-angle pictures composed of several individual photos manually stitched together. They give the impression one would get when looking around and putting the images together in his head.

Mareen Fischinger, a talented photographer from Dusseldorf, Germany, has come up with a technique that allows you to capture an entire scene, by assembling dozens of photos of that scene. Here’s how she does it: first she picks something interesting to photograph, than searches for the perfect spot to shoot from and doesn’t move from that position until the process is complete. Next she manually sets the white balance, focus, f-stop and shutter speed of the camera so that all the photos are identically exposed. Then she points and shoots, making sure she moves the camera lens to cover all positions. The more her shots overlap the easier it is to assemble her panography.


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Artist Uses Recurring Words to Create Detailed Portraits

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Vietnamese-born photographer and artist Huy Lam uses tiny 4 point type recurring words and phrases to create beautiful portraits of modern and historical icons.

The Toronto-based artist has always been fascinated with the concept of perception, and the way we form opinions based on what we perceive as real.  At a glance, his works look like they’ve been painted or drawn with pencil or charcoal, but as you approach them further, you realize they’re made with an entirely different medium – differently colored words.  Through his art, Huy Lam tries to convey the concept of perception, but he also hopes that these images created with words “will provoke thought, discussion and even laughter.” But the hours he spends actually placing thousands of 4 point type words in just the right spots to create detailed portraits is no laughing matter.

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The Miniature Origami Wonders of Anja Markiewicz

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Regular size origami is just impossible to me, so I guess that’s why I find these nano-paper-wonders created by Anja Markiewicz simply fascinating.

We’ve featured some pretty impressive examples of origami, including the paper miniatures of Mui-Ling Teh, and the miniatures Anja Markiewicz creates are a welcome addition to our collection. She painstakingly folds almost invisible pieces of paper into beautiful origami artworks only a few millimeters in size. The fragile animals born from her hands – horses, dogs, swans and others – can rest on her fingertips and require a magnifying glass in order to be fully appreciated.

Her vast portfolio of origami artworks includes animals, fairytale creatures, cars, snowflakes, flowers and lots more. I’ve posted a selection of her most beautiful works but you can check out her entire collection on Flickr.

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