Textile artist Bisa Butler illustrates history by repurposing fabrics into portrait quilts

May 9, 2019 by  
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While the fashion industry continues to take a hit as one that contributes heavily to the pollution of the planet, one Brooklyn-based artist is focused on lessening that impact by repurposing fabrics into quilts filled with cultural and artistic significance. It may not seem like fabric and art directly intertwine, but they do when the artist creates a canvas from vintage and repurposed materials . Bisa Butler, an American textile artist, upcycles the fibers not only to find a use for them, but to tell stories through the people she creates using it. Each quilt is a passionate retelling of history and culture through a portrait frozen in time. The scraps come together in layers of colors and texture that reflect the personalities of the faces she builds. The completed pieces come alive with emotion and a sense of being that demands attention. More than just the resulting picture, the materials she chooses and how she layers them, give each character depth and personality. Related: Ioncell technology creates eco-textile clothing fibers from birch trees Butler’s evolution from classically trained painter to textile artist is evident in the sweeping, fluid motion of the colors as they blend into each other. With her efforts to represent African-American heritage her work has been displayed at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the Epcot Center, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and other venues. She is represented by the Claire Oliver gallery in New York and her art has also caught the attention of publishers, resulting in her quilts being featured in several books. “I have always been drawn to portraits. I was the little girl who would sit next to my grandmother and ask her to go through her old family photo albums. I was the one who wanted to hear the story behind every picture. This inquisitiveness has stayed with me to this day. I often start my pieces with a black and white photo and allow myself to tell the story. My stories are told in the fabrics that I choose, the textures I combine, and the colors that create a whole new composition. My portraits tell stories that may have been forgotten over time. When you see vintage lace and aged satin it tells you the story of delicacy and refinement of times gone by. When you see African printed cotton and mud cloth it tells the story of my ancestral homeland and the cradle of civilization. When you see multi-colored organza and netting layered you are being told a story of something or someone colorful and multifaceted,” said Bisa Butler. + Claire Oliver Gallery Via Treehugger Images via Claire Oliver Gallery, Harlem

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Textile artist Bisa Butler illustrates history by repurposing fabrics into portrait quilts

Britain celebrates first week without coal power since 1882

May 9, 2019 by  
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England has officially gone seven days without using any coal-powered source of electricity for the first time in centuries. Britain was the cradle of the industrial revolution, opening the world’s first coal powered plant in 1882. In an attempt to transition to renewable energy , the country removed its last coal generator from the power grid on May 1 and has effectively survived a week without needing to tap into coal resources. According to the National Grid Electricity System Operator, which runs the electricity network serving England, Scotland and Wales, Britain still maintains backup coal-powered plants when high energy demands are needed. Otherwise, cleaner energy sources, including wind, solar and natural gas have been able to meet energy needs for the first week in May. Related: Renewable energy surpasses coal for first time in US history Coal plants emit nearly twice as much carbon dioxide as natural gas plants. In the 1950s, Britain moved the last coal plant out of major cities in order to improve air quality, however the damage to the environment continued. In 2015, Britain closed its last coal mine, an industry that used to employ 1.2 million people nationally. Now, the country relies on coal imports. Due to rising prices, the coal industry is no longer a lucrative competitor to renewable energy . High international prices have led to investment and interest in solar and wind technology. The U.K. government has pledged to phase out all coal powered plants by 2025. In 2017, the country celebrated its first coal-free day, proving that government commitments and investments in technology can make meaningful progress in a matter of years. “Just a few years ago we were told Britain couldn’t possibly keep the lights on without burning coal,” said Doug Parr of Greenpeace told Reuters. “Now coal is quickly becoming an irrelevance, much to the benefit of our climate and air quality, and we barely notice it.” Some British environmental advocates believe a more ambitious plan to achieve zero-carbon operation of the national grid through investments in offshore wind farms and household scale solar facilities is also possible by 2050. Via The Guardian , Reuters Image via  jwvein

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Britain celebrates first week without coal power since 1882

This Costa Rican treehouse is built entirely out of locally sourced teak wood

May 9, 2019 by  
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There’s a good reason why this beautiful, natural wood treehouse blends in perfectly to its surroundings on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica — the entire structure was built using the trees from the property site. Nestled in the jungle and complete with ocean views, the house, designed by Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig , was inspired by the owners’ love for surfing and environmentalism. There are three floors to the treehouse , with the top floor visible from above the tree canopy, and the bottom two levels hidden among the dense trees. Occupants are able to check the surf at nearby Playa Hermosa Beach from the comfort of the top floor. Related: A rustic, surfside home connects a young family to the beach Wood has the power to be a green, renewable resource when used with sustainability in mind. Nowadays, there are plenty of companies that offer certifiably sustainable wood that comes from forests that are responsibly managed to avoid things like erosion, pollutants and habitat loss. Locally harvested trees, like the ones used to build this surfer’s treehouse, can reduce the environmental impact of construction projects. Apart from contributing to social aspects of sustainability by utilizing local employment, green construction using locally harvested trees also helps to minimize carbon emissions from transportation. The designers took advantage of the natural sea breezes and tropic environment through the passive , open-air design of the structure. The lush vegetation is accessible from the bottom floor, which opens to a courtyard that helps blend the house into its setting. A double-screen shutter system, also made of teak wood, allows the two bottom floors to either open up to the elements, ventilation and natural light, or close to provide privacy. The treehouse is powered using a 3.5 kW solar array, and a rainwater collection system helps reduce the house’s  carbon footprint . In the evenings, the lights shine through the slatted walls to create an ethereal glow that shimmers through the thick leaves and trees that surround the property, making this unique treehouse an even more beautiful addition to the area. + Tom Kundig Photography by Nic Lehoux via Olson Kundig

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This Costa Rican treehouse is built entirely out of locally sourced teak wood

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