Artist Turns Insects into Fashionable Pieces of Jewelry

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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

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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 Dried Citrus Sculptures of Daniel Watson

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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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Designer Creates Functional Sofa Out of 8,000 Chopsticks

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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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The Eco-Friendly Junk Mail Portraits of Sandhi Schimmel Gold

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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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The Wonderful World of Japanese Manhole Cover Art

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Found across nearly 95% of Japan’s 1,780 municipalities, custom manhole covers have become an important part of national culture.

The history of manhole cover art can be traced back to the 1980s, when cities began making custom covers with designs inspired by the region’s cultural identity (mythology, history, culture, etc.). Every one of the over 6,000 custom manhole cover across Japan reflects the uniqueness of each city, keeping true to the country’s reputation for aesthetic sense.

Have a look at some of the most beautiful custom manhole covers spotted across Japan:

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The Bottle Cap Portraits of Molly B. Right

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Molly B. Right is a brilliant self-taught artist, from Charleston, South Carolina, who uses discarded bottle caps to create incredible portraits.

She began creating bottle cap portraits back in 1993, when she started pondering the phrase “Jesus Saves”. Saves what? – Molly asked – Does he just save souls, or if he had the time, would he also save things like string or rubber bands? Does he save bottle caps? And that’s when she took this question and turned it into a full size portrait of Jesus. “Now I’m doing bottle cap portraits of archetypal women that don’t have anything to do with Jesus saving anything. Now I’m the one who is saving bottle caps.” Molly says in the artist statement on her official site.

The process of creating bottle cap portraits begins with a painted portrait on a sheet of metal. Molly then glues the vintage bottle caps in an overlapping pattern, sort of like scales on a snake. She pays great attention to details, making sure there are no visible glue traces, and using several transparent washes of glaze to define her portraits even further.

The bottle caps Molly B. Right uses for her beautiful portraits are considered collectibles on their own, since all of them date from the 30’s to the 70’s.

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The Giant Talking Lamp of Malmö

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One of the most popular tourist attractions in the Swedish city of Malmö, the giant lamp of Lilla Torg square seems like something taken out of Alice in Wonderland.

First installed in 2006, the 5.8 meters high lamp quickly became a favorite spot for both locals and tourists. Featuring a foot that also acts as a bench, this installation was created with the idea of giving passers-by a chance to sit down, relax and forget about daily stress, if only just for a few minutes. Throughout the year, the enormous lamp tours the various squares of Malmö, but on December 15, just before Christmas, it always returns to Lilla Torg.

It looks cool enough as it is, but it would be even better if someone would build a giant nightstand, and maybe a glass of water, to go with the lamp. And if it wasn’t bizarre enough, the giant lamp of Lilla Torg actually talks, as well. Check it out in the video at the bottom.

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New York Apartment Is Decorated with 25,000 Ping Pong Balls

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Known as the “Box Box Project”, this 90-square-meter apartment designed by Snarkitecture is decorated with 25,000 ping pong balls.

Daniel Arsham’s apartment in Brooklyn is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The first time you walk through the door, its walls look like large gray pixelated screens that fade to white towards the ceiling, but as you approach them, you see thew are actually covered with ping pong balls, 25,000 of them, to be exact.

The rest of the apartment is decorated in minimalist  style, featuring only a bed, a few shelves and s built-in dresser, but that just means the ping pong balls get center stage in this decor. Attached to the offices of Snarkitecture, the Box Box apartment can be accessed by climbing a ladder  in the office’s employee bathroom.

This one-of-a-kind loft took two months to complete, at a cost of less than $100 per square foot, almost $50 cheaper than an average apartment. Cheaper is better, of course, but considering ping pong balls are among the most flammable objects on Earth, I hope the residents are non-smoking.

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Artist Makes Stomach Turning Art Out of Marzipan

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In an attempt to show the world things can look unattractive on the outside but be sweet on the inside, artist Helga Petrau-Heinzel has created a series of disgusting sculptures out of delicious marzipan.

It all began when the artist saw a picture of Dame Barbara Cartland, a romantic fiction author, and was fascinated by this bizarre old lady dressed in pink. It felt like she just had to create a sculpture of her, and because she looked so “artificially sugary”, she used marzipan as a medium. “It seemed to prove that sweet material cannot only create ‘cute’ things. On the contrary – the bitter sweet side tempted me,” says Helga.

Satisfied with her first marzipan artwork, Helga started making even more repulsive sculptures, like animal organs and rotting pig heads. She admits her creations look so real she herself is sometimes disgusted by them.

Marzipan was one of my favorite sweets, but after seeing what it can be molded into, I think it’s time to go on a little diet… ..

The Matchstick Insects of Kyle Bean

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Although he only just graduated from art school in 2009, Brighton-based artist Kyle Bean already has a very impressive portfolio under his belt. Throughout his yet short but successful career, Bean has collaborated with important names like the BBC, New York Times Magazine, Selfridges or Hermes.

His latest collection, “Stick Insects”, features a series of insect models created entirely out of matchsticks.

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Chocolatier Carves World Heritage Monuments in White Chocolate

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Mirco Della Vechia, one of Italy’s most talented chocolatiers, has created a series of replicas of world heritage monuments carved in white chocolate.

Demonstrating immense talent and patience, Della Vechia has taken huge blocks of chocolate and, using a series of fine carving tools, turned them into sweet models most people would love to sink their teeth into. The Chocolate World Heritage Monuments collection, currently on display at a Hong Kong shopping mall, features white chocolate models of famous landmarks, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum, Stonehenge, the Parthenon, or Egypt’s Abu Simbel.

Apart from this incredible collection of chocolate models, Mirco Della Vechia also holds the Guinness record for the largest chocolate sculpture in the world – a 1.5-meter-tall, 2.5-meter-long and 5.37-ton-heavy replica of the Dome of Milan.

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Porcelain Dragon Is Made from 2,800 Porcelain Dishes and Cups

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The Songjiangcheng scenic spot, in Yangzhou, China, has become an even more popular tourist attraction, thanks to a unique dragon statue made of over 2,800 porcelain dishes and cups. The 30-meter-long installation is made up of a metal frame, upon which porcelain dishes and Chinese tea cups were masterfully placed to form a realistic-looking dragon. It’s amazing what some people can do with porcelain…

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Vietnamese Artist Turns Recycled Timber into Intricate Mosaics

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Nguyen Van Vien is a talented artist who collects all kinds of discarded piece of timber and uses them to create incredibly beautiful wooden mosaics.

The Vietnamese village of Khuc Toai has long been famous for its traditional carpentry, but a local artist is taking things to a whole new level with his original painting-like mosaics made from various types of recycled wood. Born in 1957, Nguyen Van Vien has always had a passion for the arts, and at age 19 he left his home village to study at the Indochina College of Fine Arts, in Hanoi. But it was a very difficult period for the Vietnamese, so after just two years of school, he had to return home and support his family. He turned to traditional carpentry, which barely earned him enough to put food on the table, but everything was about to change for the better.

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The Photo-Like Ballpoint Pen Drawings of Juan Francisco Casas

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They might look like sharp photographs of ordinary people, but the images below are actually ballpoint pen drawings created by artist Juan Francisco Casas.

34-year-old Casas, from Spain, was originally a traditional painter,but started experimenting with the ballpoint pen as a joke, just to see if he could draw something so realistic people would think it’s a photo. It all started six years ago, when he began reproducing photos of nights out with his friends, and he liked it so much that he never gave it up. The joke eventually turned into a quest to show that “it’s not about what material you use, it’s what you do with it.”

In 2004, Juan Francisco Casas submitted one of his ballpoint pen drawings to a national art competition, in Spain. He thought the judges would probably treat it as a joke, seeing most of the entries were actual oil paintings, but he won second place, and things just starting moving from there. Now he’s a well known artist who exhibits his works in galleries around the world and sells them for thousands of euros, each.

His amazing works, measuring up to 10 feet high, take up to 14 ballpoint pens and up to two weeks to complete, but the final result is absolutely mind blowing. The only drawback of the ballpoint pen is that errors can’t easily be erased, so Juan tries to be extremely careful, especially towards the final stages of the drawing process.

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