On amazing packages that just take your breath away, Natalya Zahn’s book, Tropical Forest, just arrived in this stunningly illustrated mailer! How beautiful is that Takin? Natalya Zahn is a natural illustrator based out of Cambridge, MA and a selection of her work and other nature related discoveries are on her blog, i (heart) odd-toed ungulates… the book, Tropical Forest, contains text and illustration from her blog between 2010 and 2011. They look stunning printed in this Blurb book! Take a peek inside on the next page!
Entries tagged with: nature
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The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.
The diversity of wildlife is astounding and nowhere more is that more evident than amongst the insects, a class that account for about 80% of the world’s animal species. As a ‘creepy crawly’ loving kid and amateur entomologist, I’ve been lucky enough to encounter a pretty wide range of insects, nonetheless I was blown away by the array of insect life we encountered during our trip to the Amazon rainforest. Despite the fact that the trip was not an explicit entomological expedition, far from it, we found our boat home to hundreds of incredible insects that were attracted during the night to our rather conspicuously bright white boat, the Captain Logan, as we traveled along the Rio Negro!
The Amazon is thought to be home to a staggering 20 million insect species, which just goes to show how tiny and insignificant a fraction of the region’s biodiversity these photos represent, but nonetheless capture the impressive variations in shapes, colors and textures evolved to fit a variety of lifestyles and offer a glimpse into the rainforest. I was paricularly amazed by the variety of moths who ranged from ultrasleek to heavily furred, from streamlined stealth bombers to complex origami masterpieces. More photos of these incredible insects on the next page.
The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.
There are so many species I love in the Reptile (and amphibian!) house at the London Zoo, but these two species were particularly fascinating to watch as they boldly courted around the enclosure. The black-legged or bicolored dart frog (Phyllobates bicolor) and the strawberry poison-dart frog (Oophaga pumilio) were chasing prospective mates and rivals around their enclosures and calling so loudly you could hear them over the din of school groups (a very impressive feat!).
The latest from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.
I recently had the honor of spending a quiet weekday morning completely mesmerized by these incredible creatures at ZSL London Zoo. The beautiful grey slender loris (Loris lydekkerianus) is an incredible nocturnal primate and it’s hard to describe the experience of watching them. It’s simultaneously very relaxing and thrilling to see them moving with a unique combination of elegance and awkwardness with their long limbs stretching from branch to branch. At the London Zoo, these creatures live in the nocturnal house below the Rainforest exhibit and the zoo recently welcomed twins! See more pics on the next page!
I love art as objects… there’s something fun about paintings and photographs as transformed into large pillows you can hug and squeeze… the change in texture changes the way you relate to the pieces (like these i’ve long loved from click for art)… the latest find are these beautiful pillows from East Camp Home Pillows featuring the creature photography of Valerie Shaff. The two initial collections are Exotics (Tigers and Crocs and Peacocks and such) and Fable (Doves and Snakes and Hawks and such)… see the gorgeous pillows on the next page!
This season Areaware is launching this series of adorable new beech wood animals by Karl Zahn (who was also behind Areaware’s animal boxes. The new selections include a set of dovetail animals as well as stackable crocodiles! Each of the dovetail animals is composed of three segments, so you can mix and match parts from the five styles: dog, llama, elephant, horse and crocodile. More photos and a video of the new wooden animals on the next page.
A Linne’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus) at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.
National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore is on a mission to capture our incredible biodiversity before it disappears. Using zoo animals to create stunning portraits of amazing creatures. The project began with amphibians (and the gallery includes some real gems), but now includes all sorts of creatures, totaling over 1,800 already. Find out more about the ambitious and stunningly beautiful The Biodiversity Project and see a selection of photos from the project on the next page.
The latest from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.
I finally made it to the California Academy of Sciences in its new Golden Gate Park home! I have been looking forward to checking the new facilities out in person, ever since Jean visited (and posted about) it a few years back (see previous posts here, here and here). As expected, the facilities are incredible and the animals it houses are phenomenal. I can’t recommend visiting strongly enough. With a walkthrough rainforest filled with terarria and aquaria as well as the dedicated Steinhart aquarium, the Cal Academy is a real treat to visit and proved to be the perfect playground for a macro lens! Here are just a few of the academy’s incredible creatures. More pictures on the next page!
Remember a few years back when i visited California Carnivores? Well my carnivorous plants that came home with me from that trip are still doing their thing happily… and the other day NOTCOT.org editor, Justine Aw, came by and noticed that this sundew (most likely the cape sundew, Drosera capensis) caught its own prey! Fascinating to see it in action up close as its little tendrils wrapped tighter and tighter… see her close ups on the next page as well as the BBC’s time lapse footage of the a sundew at work!
Over the summer, our friend’s at Chandelier Creative had an awesome Surf Shack in Montauk… and around the surf shack, they also have beehives filled with 20,000 honeybees! Well, come new years, a fun jar of honey arrived (part of their 75 limited edition bottles)~ “Our Chandelier bees will each have flown over 500 miles: feeding in gardens from the McMansions in the Hamptons to the surf-side gardens. Our queen bees kept a loving eye over all their devoted workers ensuring they made the best honey possible. So from our hive to yours, we wish you a sweet 2012.” What a fun way to ring in 2012… take a peek at last summer and an unboxing of this playfully delicious honey on the next page!
Catch up with the latest from London with our UK-based editor Justine Aw.
You may noticed the little spectacled cormorant in our post on the Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibition. The cormorant is part of the visual identity of the exhibition, created by Peter Hodgson of Goodpilot. Having a strong visual identity throughout the show really helps tie all of the diverse pieces together. Here is a closer look at the visual identity work from the show, including the lovely logo and series of ghost stories and other materials. Read more about the stories behind the posters here.
Clemens Wirth’s Macro Kingdom III is a video poem of sorts diving into “a special place, unseen microcosmos within a unseen universe bind us together.” The way the sounds pull it all together is mesmerizing! See the video on the next page…
Here’s the latest from our London-based editor Justine Aw
Naturalists and art lovers are in for a treat with the stunning exhibition Ghosts of Gone Birds. Ghosts is the brainchild of filmmaker Ceri Levy and Chris Aldhouse of Goodpilot and an exhibition which captures and celebrates extinct bird species and raises awareness and funds for conservation. The show includes over 300 pieces created by an army of 120 artists, writers and musicians (see the full list here and all proceeds from the show will aid conservation through Bird Life International.
Those who can’t catch the show in London can still purchase some of the gorgeous prints through the online shop, but I would strongly recommend heading down to see this amazing show in person if you can. The exhibition runs until November 23rd at the Rochelle School in Shoreditch, full details here. In the meantime, take a look at the show through our eyes with our photo gallery of personal highlights and Ghost’s facebook page.
Grenade Bunny!!! Tonight’s current inspiration obsession are the adorable Grenade Bunnies of Lucky Bunny ~ triggered by the giant (larger than human) one that Vinyl Pulse shared from DesignerCon this weekend… i ended up on the Lucky Bunny site, facebook, and store exploring the world of Lucky Bunny and the making of the various Grenade Bunny creatures! Take a peek on the next page… and keep an eye out for the next limited edition series of Grenade Bunnies hopefully in the near future.
Wow. SO CUTE. The various species of boobies (red-footed, brown, etc) and sharp coastline are amazing! These are also in from my dad’s adventures in Christmas Island (which according to wikipedia - The mountain was originally a volcano, and some basalt is exposed in places such as The Dales and Dolly Beach, but most of the surface rock is limestone accumulated from the growth of coral over millions of years. “The summit of this mountain peak is formed of a succession of tertiary limestones ranging in age from the Eocene (or Oligocene) up to recent reef-deposits, with intercalations in the older beds of volcanic rocks.”)… so far you’ve seen the insane crabs… see the rest of the bird and jagged coastline pics on the next page!
Freshly returned from his latest adventure, my dad just sent over pictures of some of the amazing robber crabs, red crabs, and other random crabs he found in Christmas Island. They are HUGE! And gorgeous! And amazing! Take a look on the next page!
Last night, popped by the latest show of Peter Gronquist, The Evolution Will Be Fabulous at Gallery 1988 in Venice. It’s AMAZING, definitely something worth checking out in person, because the mix of gilded luxe brands, weaponry, skeletons and taxidermy are just something you can’t completely comprehend through pictures… the shear scale of things is pretty mesmerizing in real life. But for now, take a peek at some pics and details on the next page!
One of my highlights of this year’s 100% Design event would have to be finally seeing the amazing animal chairs from Maximo Riera in person! You may remember his octopus chair which we previously featured here and more recent rhino and walrus additions. These beautiful throne-like pieces of furniture are even more amazing to behold in person. The detailing on the animals is exquisite and incredibly realistic. Another feature that is evident upon seeing the chairs is their enormous size! Like the animals they are designed to reflect, these pieces are truly colossal. More photos of the beautiful walrus, rhino and octopus chairs on the next page!
On great escapes, the Orient Express (and their Journey Like No Other) seems to know how to do it ~ this week in particular we’ve been hiding out at La Residencia in Deia, Mallorca, Spain in between trips (See the madness surrounding this escape and a peek at the views at night). I can guarantee your stress levels will drop ten fold even from the drive in from Palma (or via private jet)… the softly twisting roads bring you deeper into the island’s canyons and terraced lush green hillsides. The hotel and surrounding town have apparently changed little over the last few decades, and before joining the Orient Express family in 2002 was owned by Richard Branson since the late 80s, and a favorite escape for many high profile clients over the years. Luxurious accommodations, great service, and breath taking views… not to mention divine tapas… while you have multiple pools, tennis, spa and lots of hiking, sailing, and more available, it’s hard to beat taking a few hours curled up on the patio of our suite staring out at the mountains and ocean… so take a peek inside the Alfabia suite, our ridiculously large bathroom, luscious four poster bed (with tv that pops out from the foot of the bed)… in addition to a few other fun details ~ from the call buttons that are poolside… to the various donkeys, sheep, and olive groves around the property (which they make their own olive oil from!) as well as an organic garden next to the spa!
p.s. You have to see the amazing little cove that is a quick walk/hike down into the canyons to the water…
Here’s the latest discovery from Justine based in London!
20 Dalston Lane in the heart of East London seems an odd address for a farm. But Dalston’s FARM:shop is literally a farm in a shop. Once a derelict store, the shop is now a shop/cafe/meeting place and farm all in one. It is home to hundreds of growing plants arranged in every setup imaginable from a backyard polytunnel to hydroponics setup where plants are fed by the fish. It is even home to a flock of rooftop living chickens!
A perfect combination of public spaces/projects with urban farming, I knew this one would be right up our alley, and when I heard about the hydroponics and chickens on the roof, I knew it would be one not to miss. More photos on the next page!
Teaser from the Keystone Design Union just came through with these awesome designs featuring iconic creatures of the pacific northwest for K2 Snowboards’ 25 Year Anniversary Collection. I’m already lusting after all of the stickers and shirts ~ everything from owls and beavers ~ bears and deer ~ to bigfoot! Nice black and white, fun “Don’t Mess With The North West” slogan, and illustrations that just scream ROAR. Take a look at more graphics on the next page!
On fun emails ~ my dad just got back from Sitka and sent over some adorable Brown Bear pics. Turns out they are from one of his favorite non-profits that he visits a few times a year ~ Fortress of the Bear… “a 501 (c)3 non-profit education and rescue center with an exquisite three-quarter acre habitat for orphaned Brown Bear cubs complete with covered viewing areas.” Mind blowing that the tiny cubs he saw in the years past are now 300-600lbs cubs! And apparently these Sitka Browns “represent a distinct population, genetically dissimilar from any other bear. Research suggests these bears are remnants of a Polar bear population stranded in Southeast Alaska following the last ice age.” Interesting, right? Rumor has it they may have started as browns that turned white to adapt (and into polar bears of the region) only to evolve back to browns to adapt again… Regardless, it sounds like a beautiful, playful, peaceful space for orphaned cubs to call home, and definitely a better alternative to the usual reaction of shooting them! Some grow up to move to zoos around the country, others live out their days there… and all get delicious salmon and food from local fisherman, restaurants, and more! So, if you’re ever in Sitka, Alaska go visit (and support!) Fortress of the Bear! Take a peek at more of the pics he sent over on the next page.
Popped by Dwell on Design in LA today ~ highlight? CHICKENS! Particularly mod wooden chicken coops by 100xBTR and Chicken Co-op. Fun, playful, and perfect for your modern rooftops and yards ~ i love the seeing designs that enable more and more folks to expand their sustainable hyper-local/home grown possibilities… (without sacrificing their innovative design loving tendencies). Read to see the chickens and more of the fun little details (and full views) of these pre-fab chicken estates? To the next page!
Justine went to check out the incredible RCA 2011 Graduate show! Here’s a peek at what she found…
One highlight for me was the work of Jack Smith! My favorite of his pieces was the Birdbox, a flat packable birdhouse composed of two flat plywood pieces that assembles easily to form a cozy birdhouse. So beautiful in its simplicity, you simply must check out its pieces and how it comes together! See it all on the next page!
Justine was sharing this incredibly intriguing project she found happening in the UK… supposedly its like Farmville, but in real life… while still online… anyhow, take a peek below at what she has to share about it!
Last month, the National Trust launched the MyFarm project, which creates and bridges digital communities with the daily realities of farming. Although the project was heralded by the BBC and others as “FarmVille meets reality”, those behind the project are clear to stress that this is not a game. Instead, the community of 10,000 online Farmers have a direct impact on the workings of the farm at National Trust’s Wimpole Estate and are effectively working with farm manager Richard Morris to decide how it should be run. The first MyFarm vote took place last month, with internet farmers voting to grow wheat and that decision is already being implemented!
The project is a fascinating mix of real and virtual worlds and demonstrates a great use of digital and social media to raise awareness about the National Trust and British farmers. It also provides unrivaled access to a working farm. No matter where you are, you can follow the estate on twitter (@WimpoleEstateNT) as well as farm manager, Richard Morris (@farmermorris) as he goes on his rounds to check on the farm and reports on the many new arrivals (the last few days have seen many new piglets and calves!). They team have also just set up a dedicated MyFarm twitter account (@MYFarmNT) and an account for Emma who looks after the Shire horses (@EmmaMyFarm). The Shires are one to watch at the moment, with a new streaming cam for MyFarmers to be able to watch the pregnant Queenie and hopefully witness the birth of a Shire foal live in the next week or so!
In addition to being a fascinating project, the Wimpole Estate is an incredible place to visit. Located just outside Cambridge, it is one of my favorite escapes, with a beautiful stately home and gardens as well as the farm. It is also home to many of my favorite rare breeds. The home farm is a Rare Breeds Survival Trust approved farm park, home to a number of rare breed livestock including horses, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry. The estate also runs a great events/courses series. I recently learned to hand shear some rare breed sheep and may be back soon to try my hand at hedgelaying, blacksmithing or ferretting. The next MyFarm vote is coming up soon and is about a subject near and dear to me, SHEEP! So let’s get voting to save native breeds!