“It’s the shape of the stories that matters, the way belief forms around it. The story has real weight,” He pointed at himself. “Patupaiarehe look like monsters in some stories, but they’re beautiful in a lot. I guess people believed more in the beautiful version. And the ideal of beauty changes. If I’d been born two hundred years ago, I bet I wouldn’t look like this. The stories shaped me. They shape everyone, inside and out, but me more than most, because I’m magic.”
I see now that the path I choose through the maze makes me what I am. I am not only a thing, but also a way of being—one of many ways—and knowing the paths I have followed and the ones left to take will help me understand what I am becoming. ― Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon
But resiliency only means that a thing retains its shape. That it doesn’t break, or lose its ability to function. It doesn’t mean a child forgets the time she shared in the backyard with her mother gardening, or the fun they had together watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks at the Astro. It just means she learns to bear it. The mechanism that allowed Lisa Sample to keep her head above water in the wake of her mother’s departure has not been described or cataloged by scientists. It’s efficient, and flexible, and probably transferable from one person to another should they catch the scent on each other. But the rest of the details about it aren’t observable from the outside. You have to be closer than you really want to get to see how it works.
―John Darnielle, Universal Harvester
Nature is a great source of inspiration for creatives of all types. Lina Cofán takes a whimsical look at cacti.
Lina Cofán was working as a performance and theater based artist in Berlin when she decided to move back to Spain and pursue an interest in ceramic sculpture. The majority of her pieces are plants, specifically cacti. Cacti come in a wealth of textures and shades of green to which Cofán adds her imagination and skill. The result is simply enchanting.
Cofán’s creations are life size, rendered with playful ridges in glowing greens that delight the eye. From barrel shaped to tall saguaro, from prickly pear to pincushion, these quirky cacti have an astonishing amount of personality.
Please check out Lina Cofán’s website. I hope to see and learn more about this talented artist in the future.
In the countryside, the old stories seemed to come alive around me; the faeries were a tangible aspect of the landscape, pulses of spirit, emotion, and light. They “insisted” on taking form under my pencil, emerging on the page before me cloaked in archetypal shapes drawn from nature and myth. I’d attracted their attention, you see, and they hadn’t finished with me yet.
When creative pathways become blocked most of us give up or force ourselves forward. What if we changed direction instead?
Peter Gentenaar was originally a printmaker who became dissatisfied with the effects he could produce with commercial paper. He decided to try his hand at making his own. In the process, he created a new beater to process paper pulp and discovered effects that put him on a new artistic path.
The paper Gentenaar created has extremely long fibers that twist like leaves as it dries. This might not be great for making prints, but by attaching the paper to bamboo frames he is able to exert some control over the form the paper takes. Learning how the paper shrinks as it dries has allowed Gentenaar to create incredible three dimensional sculptures, quite unusual and lovely.
All of these pictures are from the 25th anniversary of the classical music festival at Saint-Riquier Abbey in Picardie, France and are used in accordance with fair use policies.
If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself. You must know all the while that it is there, but until it is needed you must never let it emerge into your consciousness in any shape that can be given a name.
―George Orwell, 1984
Snowflakes reveal an astonishing level of detail and beauty. Macrophotography lets us get even closer to these miniature masterpieces.
Looking at Alexey Kljatov’s stunning macrophotography, you might imagine that he has expensive equipment. That is not at all the case. In fact, he assembled his own rig from spare parts and lenses from old cameras. To see a schematic of the add on he created for advanced macrophotography, please click here. By mounting a lens backwards he changed its function from making large scenes appear smaller to making the small larger. The result is mind-blowing.
Snowflakes are classified by their shape. The classic snowflake is known as stellar, or star shaped, and possesses six branches radiating from a hexagonal (six sided) center. Ice crystals are by nature hexagonal, but there is a great deal of variety caused by temperature, humidity, and even dirt in the air.
Temperatures at or just below freezing produce simple hexagonal plates. Despite their lack of branches, these flakes frequently have markings and indentations and are often very elegant.
Alien Data Disk
One hexagon that is particularly striking is a rare formation that looks like a triangle with blunted corners. Science has not yet come to a consensus as to how these snowflakes take their particular shape. It’s amazing how alien nature can look when examined closely.
At around 25 degrees Fahrenheit, -4 degrees Celsius, needle shaped crystals begin to form, followed by hollow columns as the temperature drops still lower. They are shaped like standard pencils, retaining their six sides.
Needles and Pins
Snow Queen’s Capacitors
Sometimes the elongated form of a needle or column is capped on one or both ends, resulting in a stunning and relatively rare formation.
Stellar snowflakes form at temperatures at or below 14 degrees Fahrenheit, -10 degrees Celsius. As the temperature drops they change from blocky forms called sector plates to lacy ones called dendrites.
Sometimes a stellar snowflake rotates as it makes its journey from the heavens to earth, becoming a star with twelve branches.
Let’s not discount the beauty of asymmetry.
The Beauty of Imperfection
We live in a glorious art gallery! It has never been easier to appreciate a snowflake in such detail than it is today. Delightful.
All photos are the work of Alexey Kljatov, ChaoticMind75, and appear under this Creative Commons License. These photos retain his descriptive and imaginative titles. We hope you will follow this artist on Flickr, where he has many more beautiful images.
I speak to maps. And sometimes they say something back to me. This is not as strange as it sounds, nor is it an unheard of thing. Before maps, the world was limitless. It was maps that gave it shape and made it seem like territory, like something that could be possessed, not just laid waste and plundered. Maps made places on the edges of the imagination seem graspable and placable.