Comments Off on Antique farm equipment reborn as delicate works of art
These stunning nature-inspired sculptures are so beautiful you might not notice at first glance what they’re carved from—old farm equipment. Self-taught artist Dan Rawlings recycles these discarded tools into canvases and sculptures . By giving these forgotten tools new life, he hopes to remind others to appreciate the value of our existing possessions and the environment rather than succumb to the never-ending excesses of commercialism. Based in Gloucestershire, UK, Rawlings is drawn to the fun challenge of working with old found objects that still have sentimental value even if they’re damaged beyond use. Using a variety of tools including a handheld plasma torch, welders , and scalpels, the artist reshapes and carves intricate nature-inspired scenes. He writes: “I try to create images that remind people of the moments when everything seems possible and free; times when climbing a tree, or sitting admiring the way its branches twist and curl means nothing, but means everything.” Related: Artist Nikki Ella Whitlock recycles wine bottle fragments into ethereal mosaics Although Rawlings works with many different materials, he’s most well known for metal carvings . His manipulation of metals can be seen in his reworking of old saws to the walls of vans. + Dan Rawlings
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Antique farm equipment reborn as delicate works of art
Comments Off on The Biomimicry Manual: What can the honeybee teach a designer?
What exactly is biomimicry ? I think of it as a way of unlocking a whole world of super-powers for humanity. It is literally the next stage of human evolution. Leonardo DaVinci himself said, “Those who are inspired by a model other than Nature, a mistress above all masters, are laboring in vain.” Maybe we’ve been studying the wrong master, trying to make a living on this planet in ways that will ultimately deplete us all. That’s certainly the case with humans and honeybees . Yes, humans love honey, and the busy hum of bees in the garden is a sound that gives us peace on a warm day. But we have much more to learn from them. Find out the lessons they have to teach in today’s entry of The Biomimicry Manual ! Great designers know that people feel good when they are surrounded by plants and other living things. Gardens are good for the soul. That’s ‘biophilia.’ Nature makes us happy. We love using ‘organic’ raw materials, like honey and beeswax, because they are useful and renewable, pleasing and non-toxic. They won’t sit in a landfill for the next thousand years like yesterday’s plastic. The Earth will recycle them. That’s ‘bio-utilization,’ using nature because it’s just good stuff. Our herds of goats and sheep, the crop varieties we’ve grown and selected for millennia because they taste the way we want, and even the family dog are ‘bio-assistants.’ They help us make and do the things we need. Honeybees, for instance, are not ‘wild animals,’ but domestic helpers. We have shaped their evolution to suit ourselves. Biomimicry is a little different. It only “uses” life’s ideas. It’s when you have a problem, and you ask, “how other living creatures solving it?” Instead of harvesting that creature or its by-products, you copy the idea itself and make it anew, make it human. Every plant and animal , fungus, and bacteria has a whole genome worth of time-tested, sustainable ideas to inspire us. That’s a lot of superpowers. Myself, I like bioinspiration of all kinds. John Todd ‘s ‘ Living Machines ‘, for instance, do a little of everything: biophilia, bio-utilization, bio-assistance, and biomimicry. He uses a pleasing array of living plants and bacteria (both domestic and wild) to imitate the way a natural wetland ecosystems works, filtering and treating sewage in the process. Believe it or not, a bee has to eat eight pounds of honey to make a single pound of wax to safely store her honey and larvae in. It’s an expensive proposition, and it has to be done efficiently. The ancient Greeks understood that modular hexagonal honeycomb makes the most storage possible with the least amount of material. Architects and designers are tapping this for all sorts of applications. Panelite , in New York, offers hexagonal ClearShade insulating glass. It passively regulates heat, while still letting in lots of light. The Sinosteel skyscraper in Tianjin, China uses honeycomb windows the same way. Our honeybee has other brilliant design ideas as well. For instance, her 300 degree field of vision literally gives her eyes in the back of her head. Nissan Motors is working on a laser range finder inspired by these curved, compound eyes, which will detect and avert potential collisions. German researchers are designing a honeybee-inspired wide-angle lens for aerial drones, while other researchers are using their navigation tricks to optimize GPS and tracking systems. We know that it’s physically impossible for bumblebees to fly. And yet they do, with incredible efficiency and maneuverability. So what are we missing? We aren’t completely sure, but one thing they have is the ability to zip and unzip their two-part wings for flight and landing. What if our airplanes could do that? Wouldn’t that save space on aircraft carriers and in busy airports? And when we say something is “the bees’ knees,” it’s even better than we thought. Insect joints contain ‘resilin,’ a springy protein. Turns out to be the most efficient elastic known, dramatically better than natural or synthetic rubber. With it, bees can flap their wings a thousand times a minute, and fleas can jump one hundred times their body length. An Australian government research group has mimicked this “near-perfect” rubber, creating 98% bounce back. That’s practically a perpetual-motion machine! These examples are taken from Jay Harman’s new book, The Shark’s Paintbrush: Biomimicry and how Nature is Inspiring Innovation . There are so many good ideas in nature, it boggles the mind, And that’s just the bees! There is literally an infinite world of time-tested, sustainable ideas to learn from. And if we get “buzz-y” studying them, we can unlock a whole new set of super-powers to take us into the future. + The Biomimicry Manual An evolutionary biologist, writer, sustainability expert, and passionate biomimicry professional in the Biomimicry 3.8 BPro certification program , Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker blogs at BioInspired Ink and serves as Content Developer for the California Association of Museums ‘ Green Museums Initiative. She is working on a book about organizational transformation inspired by nature.
Comments Off on Alex Féthière Creates Eco Art in His Sustainable Metalworking Studio
Alex Féthière ‘s metalworking studio operates more sustainably than traditional metal artist studios. Castings are poured from reclaimed scrap aluminum in a homemade blast furnace powered entirely by discarded motor or cooking oil. The fires of the furnace are kindled from chopped shipping palettes. Once polished, an aluminum piece is anodized, a process whereby an electrical current is run through it while it is immersed in a mildly acidic bath. This causes it to grow a porous layer of synthetic sapphire that absorbs dye. No toxic paints are used; instead Féthière applies eco-friendly sealants and epoxies from Earth Safe Finishes . Read the rest of Alex Féthière Creates Eco Art in His Sustainable Metalworking Studio Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Alex Féthière , Alex Féthière metalworking , earth safe finishes , eco metalworking , green metalworking , metalworking , non toxic metal work , recycled vegetable oil , sustainable metalworking
Comments Off on Enter Your Tape Sculpture in Scotch’s “Off The Roll” Contest to Win $5000
Any regular Inhabitat reader knows that we are suckers for awesome art made from recycled or repurposed materials. So we were totally excited to discover Scotch’s “Off the Roll” design competition , which tasks the creatively-minded to create an original piece of art using packaging tape as your medium. To enter the contest, all you have to do is submit your photos here and you could win a whopping $5000! Last year’s winners include two different sculptures featuring life-sized people, an underwater scene complete with a mermaid, and a beautiful wreath-like piece made up of 1440 tape triangles. Several artists have already submitted their creations for this year’s competition , so you should check them out to see what you’re up against! ENTER HERE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cash prize competition , Design Competition , design contest , design with tape , eco design , green design , make stuff out of tape , recycled art , repurposed art , scotch , scotch tape , scotchtape , sustainable design , tape contest
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Enter Your Tape Sculpture in Scotch’s “Off The Roll” Contest to Win $5000