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Incredible Flower Carpets at the Genzano Flower Festival 2010

If you’re a flower enthusiast, and you happen to be in Rome, in the second week of June, you just have to visit the small town of Genzano, for its world famous Infiorata.

The Genzano Infiorata is a flower festival that can be traced back to 1778. Every year, local artists cover an entire street (Via Belardi) with intricate flower carpets, inspired by famous artworks, religious paintings or geometrical shapes. The flower carpets are made by talented local artists who have to stick to a previously agreed upon theme, like ‘The Colors of Michelangelo’ or ‘The Designs of Bernini’.

The Infiorata of Genzano begins with the harvesting of millions of flowers, 2-3 days before the event. They are stored fresh, in caves around Genzano, while the artists draw their masterpieces on the pavement of Via Belardi, for the Saturday parade.

Preceded by a ‘mini Infiorata’, where children from local schools create the flower carpets, the Infiorata ends on the Monday of the third week of June, when children are allowed to destroy the colorful artworks, by playing on them.

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The Phone-Book Carvings of Alex Queral

51-year-old Alex Queral carves phone-books to create amazing portraits of celebrities such as Clint Eastwood or Kirk Douglas.

‘In carving and painting a head from a phone-book directory, I’m celebrating the individual lost in the anonymous list of thousands of names that describe the size of the community.’ That’s how Alex Queral explains his art, adding that he also enjoys creating an ‘object of longevity’ out of something that otherwise gets discarded every year.

The Philadelphia based artist got the idea of using phone-books as an art medium, 14 years ago, while he was looking for some wood to carve. He spotted a pile of discarded phone-books on the pavement, and the idea just hit him. Since people mostly use the internet, to look for things these days, most phone books just get dumped somewhere, so he sees his art as a way of recycling them.

Alex Queral carves up to two phone-book sculptures a month, then paints them with transparent acrylic paint, to make them durable and give them a glossy finish. So far, Queral has immortalized iconic figures like the Dalai Lama, Barrack Obama, Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, and many others.

The artist admits it’s pretty difficult to deal with a careless cut that ruins everything, right when he’s about to finish a piece. But all he can do is start his carving all over again.

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Housing Estate N – An Eccentric World Built of Cardboard

Abandoned Housing Estate Number N” is a unique miniature city, made entirely from corrugated cardboard.

So far I’ve seen a city made of toothpicks, another one made of staples, but this is the first cardboard city, for me. Created by a Japanese artist whose name eludes me, Housing Estate Number N is an ever-growing project that started back in 2001. The paradox of this art installation is that although it’s mostly abandoned, it keeps growing and evolving, with each passing day.

Some of the rooms in the estate are lit and completely furnished, while others are dark and empty. There are even some eerie characters that look like haunting spirits. Though pretty bizarre, Housing Estate N is an inspiring project that will keep growing as long as its creator desires it.

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Father And Son Build Awesome Backyard Stargate

Back in 2005, when Stargate was the coolest sci-fi series around, sg1archive user ‘mango’ teamed up with his father to build a sweet replica of the stargate.

The project began in AUTOCAD, where the first blueprints were drawn. Since they didn’t have access to a plotter, plans had to be printed on A4 paper and stuck together, in a circle. The small details of the gate had to be drawn up from scratch, using photos and video footage. The skeleton of the gate is made up of 18 X-shaped pieces, and the spinning part is made from small planks.

The intricate stargate symbols had to be painstakingly carved, from wood, and chevrons first had to be carved from Styrofoam. The back of the stargate, though painted in gray, is totally fake, but the front looks realistic enough, with chevrons locking and everything. Thanks to an inner track, it even spins. Mango wasn’t too satisfied with the paint-job, but all in all this is a geeky masterpiece, just like the Stargate home-cinema.

Be sure to check the video Mango made, at the bottom of the post.

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Qeswachaka – A Handwoven Bridge Made of Grass

The Qeswachaka hanging bridge, of Cuzco, Peru, is handwoven every year, from a local grass called Qoya.

Located approximately 100 km from Cuzco, Qeswachaka bridge was once part of a network of bridges, built in the time of the Inca empire, but is now the only one of its kind, in the world. Spanning 120 feet over the Apurimac river, at around 13,000 feet above water, Qeswachaka (also spelled Q’eswachaka or Keswachaka) is built using the ancient Qhapaq nan technique, used by the Inca people.

Qhapaq nan bridges were built from grass, and were wide enough for only one person to pass, at a time. In ancient times these bridges were constantly under surveillance and everyone crossing them was monitored. When Pizzaro began his march for Cuzco, Qeswachaka was destroyed, to slow his advance, but was reconstructed, many years later.

Made from a local herb, known as Qoya, the fibers of Qeswachaka bridge deteriorate rapidly, and local communities have to reconstruct the bridge every year. Around 1,000 men and women, from various Andean communities gather at Qeswachaka bridge, every second week of June, for the rebuilding ceremony. Long blade of Qoya grass are woven into six long cables, which are bound and secured by eucalyptus trunks, buried at each end of the bridge.

It’s not that building a more modern bridge would be impossible, but this is a way for the Andean people to celebrate and honor their Inca ancestors, and keep their centuries old traditions alive.

Photos by REUTERS via Daylife

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The Matchstick Art of David Mach

Using tens of thousands of matchsticks, David Mach creates detailed models of animals, symbols or historical figures.

53-year-old David Mach, from Scotland, has a passion for art and matchsticks, so he decided to combine them and create unique masterpieces. Using a clay mold he creates a plastic or fiberglass model of whatever he wants to create, and then begins the process of sticking matchsticks on it, one at a time. Most of his creations are made with tens of thousands of colored-tip matchsticks, imported from Japan, and take months to complete.

Along with his wife, who helps him run his art studio, David March has so far created over 350 matchstick artworks. They sell for anywhere between $30,000 and $52,000, but they don’t always make it to the auction, as the duo sometimes set them aflame at art exhibitions. With that many matchsticks involved, you can imagine the effect is truly impressive, though short.

Photos via Denoirmont

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The Jizo Army of Chausudake Volcano

Located on the barren slopes of Chausudake Volcano, in Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture, hundreds of small Jizo statues make up the eeriest spirit army I’ve ever seen.

One of the most beloved divinities in Japan, Jizo is seen as a savior working to ease the suffering of those serving time in hell, and answers the prayers for health, and success of the living. He is a friend to all, and Jizo statues are usually placed at intersections of roads, to help travelers pick the right way to go. He is extremely important to pregnant women and children, and statues are often adorned with tiny children’s clothes or bibs. Parents whose children have died place toys and offerings beside the statues, asking for protection of their child’s soul.

The Jizo statues of Chausudake Volcano offer a sight unique in Japan, and all over the world. Jizo representations can be found in many places around the Land of the Rising Sun, but the dark volcanic rocks, from which the statues have been carved, and the barren surroundings create an eerie atmosphere that’s hard to forget.

 

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LEGO Firearms Actually Shoot LEGO Bricks

Jack Streat’s LEGO firearms are cool enough to look at, but the fact they actually work makes them uber-cool.

Witha passion for LEGO and guns, there was just one thing Jack Streat could do, and that’s create an extensive collection of LEGO firearms that actually shoot LEGO bricks. From the common AK-47 to the Uzzi and even a working minigun, Jack Streat has created a large part of today’s military arsenal and even made videos of each weapon in action.

Some of you may have seen weapons made of LEGO bricks, before, but the collection created by Jack Streat would make both Rambo and the Terminator crazy with envy.

via NowhereElse

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Football Fan Turns Living Room into World Cup Stadium

Just because he wasn’t able to travel to South Africa, and support his national team, on the scene, doesn’t mean football fan Mark Thompson can’t experience the vibe of a crowded stadium, right in he comfort of his own living room.

45-year-old Mark Thompson, and his 55-year-old wife Kate decided to pick a theme for this year’s Football World Cup, and after doing some online research, they decided the stadium would do just fine. They covered the side walls of their living room with England emblem wallpaper, designed a six yard line and penalty spot, on their green carpet, and set up a giant poster of the World Cup stadium, complete with drawn supporters.

The English couple were planning to redecorate anyway, and thought this was the perfect way to celebrate the greatest event in football, before giving their house a whole new look. Now they’re ready to invite friends to watch Engalnd’s football games, on a “real” stadium, with a theme for every match. When they played the US, Karen served burgers, with Algeria she will cook curries, and against Slovenia they’ll have goulash.

A big fan of Manchester United, Mark says he’s taken out all the furniture and replaced it with some garden chairs, during the World Cup. Although his wife, Karen, would like things to get back to normal once the football tournament is over, Mark confesses he’d like to keep his makeshift stadium for a lot longer.

via Daily Mail and Oldham Evening Chronicle

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Ferrari Modena Meets Hello Kitty

After the pink assault rifle, and the bedazzled Gundam robot, Hello Kitty has tainted yet another bastion of manliness, the Ferrari Modena.

Some have suggested this kind of auto blasphemy should be illegal, but unfortunately, the person who afforded to buy it can do whatever they want with it. This particular Hello Kitty car was spotted on the streets of Jakarta, in Indonesia, where the Japanese icon apparently has quite a following. Now, the exterior doesn’t look so bad, except for the Hello Kitty exhausts, huge rear window decal, and hideous side-mirrors, but the interior s simply beyond words.

Hello Kitty seat covers, steering wheel cover, mats and all kinds of other memorabilia taint the inside of this Ferrari road monster. There’s really just one thing the owner of this car could do to complete this “massacre” and that’s replace the Ferrari logo with that of Hello Kitty. Can you imagine the horror?

If he can afford to but a Ferrari and turn it into a Hello Kitty shrine on wheels, maybe this person should build himself a Hello Kitty castle to go with the car.

Photos by Detikoto and GT Spirit

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Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Museum

Barney Smith, a former plumber, from Texas, has spent the last 30 years decorating toilet seats and setting up his unique toilet seat art museum.

It all began over 30 years ago, when Barney Smith was looking for a mounting for a set of antlers. Considering his profession, he found a wooden toilet seat worked perfectly. From that moment on he began painting and attaching all sorts of things t this bizarre art medium, and now, he is the proud owner of over 700 toilet seat artworks.

After his wife forced him to move them out of the house, Barney’s masterpieces are now stored in his garage. The artist finds inspiration for his work in pretty much everything he’s ever done. Some are inspired by his travels around the world, others by his profession, or his 60-year wedding anniversary. That’s also the reason 89-year-old Barney Smith doesn’t sell any of his artworks – they all mean too much to him.

The toilet seats, made from sawdust and glue, are donated by a local company, and the decorative accessories were donated by various people, by mail. And even though his rapidly approaching 90, old Barney still has a nice supply of blank toilet seats, waiting to be adorned. So if you have any unique items you’d like used in the name of art, don’t hesitate to contact the artist.

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So You Think You Can Eat

I don’t care how much you like Pho soup, beating the Pho Challenge of the Pho Garden restaurant, in San Francisco, is nearly impossible.

The Pho Garden restaurant, on Clement’s Street, San Francisco, has become internationally famous for its unique Pho Challenge. The object of this trial is to finish a massive bowl of Pho soup, in one hour. Whoever passes this stomach test will have his/her photo posted on the wall of Pho Garden Champions, and won’t have to pay the $22 cost of the soup. But the ultimate prize is undoubtedly the bragging rights.

The idea behind the Pho Challenge belongs to one of its owners. Always up for a good challenge, he thought of a way to challenge his own customers, and came up with the idea of a giant bowl of Pho soup. He managed to finish the whole thing, on his third try, and once he convinced himself it was doable, dared his customers to do it themselves. Even though you needn’t finish the broth to beat the challenge, the 4 pounds of noodles and 4 ponds of mixed beef are often to much to handle in a 1 hour time limit.

Opened in 2008, the Pho Garden has quickly become a popular eating destination, in San Francisco, and is about two open in a second location. If you’re ever in Frisco, go for the Pho Challenge.

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The Rusty Creatures of Jurustic Park

Jurustic Park is the brainchild of Clyde and Nancy Wynia, a couple of artists who create unique creatures, out of various metals, and scatter them through their yard, for the world to see.

This wondrous place was born in 1993, when Clyde decided to sculpt a giant iron bird, and hang it from one of the trees in his backyard. A curious neighbor asked him how he got his hands on something like that and the first thing that came into Clyde’s mind was “I dug it out of the nearby marsh where it inhabited the swamp during the Iron Age.” And That’s how his yard earned the name of Jurustic Park.

Clyde calls himself an amateur paleontologist who excavates and recreates the now extinct creatures that inhabited the large McMillan Marsh, near Marshfield, Winsconsin, during the Iron Age. he explains that these mysterious metal creatures went extinct during the 19th century, when farming and industry moved into the area. Many were used as parts for various machinery, while others were destroyed by the acid rains caused by pollution.

After 17 years of work, Clyde Wynia has managed to decorate his yard with over 250 iron sculptures, from large dragons, to tiny mosquitoes. Whenever he feels the urge to recreate yet another metal creature, he just has some iron delivered to his Jurustic Park, and starts welding.

Over 15,000 people, from all around the United States, and 30 other different countries, visit Jurustic Park, every year, and although Clyde never sells his large metal sculptures, he donates his works to charitable auctions, evey year, and earns about $6,000 for various causes.

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The Steampunk Orchestra of Doctor Evermore

Long before ‘steampunk’ was even a word, Tom Every was creating bizarre scrap metal sculptures, inside Dr. Evermore’s Scrap Metal Yard.

Located on Highway 12, in Wisconsin, Dr. Evermore’s Scrap Metal yard features a wide variety of strange metal creatures, from the famous Forevertron, the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world, to the steampunk orchestra, a band of 70 bird-like statues, made from different musical instruments.

The Bird Band, as this unusual orchestra is commonly known, is made up of a giant metal cello, tubes, flutes, xylophones and bells. Tom Every, the creative genius behind Dr. Evermore’s scrap metal world, built every one of the statues, without any blueprints or previous designs. He just builds them off the top of his head, adding various parts and instruments, as he goes along.

In case you’re wondering who this mysterious Dr. Evermore is, he ‘s a fictional character, created by Tom Every, to validate the construction of the Forevertron. According to the made-up story, Dr. Evermore wanted to use the Foreverton to launch himself into space.

Although Tom Every doesn’t live in his scrap metal yard, anymore, he’s still working on new creations, so every visit to Dr.Evermore’s Scrap Metal Yard is full of new surprises.

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W’eel Turtle – A Unique Roadside Attraction

Made up of 2,000 wheel rims, the W’eel Turtle of Dunseith, North Dakota, is arguably the largest turtle in the world.

Convinced that one day he”ll find a proper use for them, George Gottbrecht saved around 2,000 car wheel rims, over 16 years. In 1982 he had a vision of how to turn his impressive collection into an artwork that the whole town would admire. He decided to build a giant turtle statue, in honor of the famous Turtle Mountains state park.

Gottbrecht had master welder Curt Halvorsen do the work and ended up paying $5,000 for the world’s largest turtle statue. Eighteen feet high, and forty feet long, W’eel Turtle is one of those roadside attractions that you just can’t miss.

I personally think the turtle shape of the artwork is quite clear, but there were people who often mistook it for a cricket, and that inspired George Gottbrecht to install a motor that would make the turtle bob its head up and down. But then kids started climbing up on its head, and the motor had to be removed, to avoid any accidents.

The best time to visit the W’eel Turtle, in Dunseith, is during the winter holidays, when its head is covered with a giant, red Santa Claus hat.

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