Some ideas are so good they come around again, even thousands of years later. I recently stumbled across this beautiful glass bottle adorned with a sinuous octopus on Etsy seller Elstwhen’s shop. You can find this particular bottle here.
It reminded me of Minoan pottery, which is often adorned with vividly rendered sea life. While Elstwhen’s work is not a copy of the Minoan style, it makes similar use of asymmetry, flowing lines, and strong contrasts to create a similarly impressive effect.
(We have no connection, financial or otherwise, with Elstwhen.)
In Making Stuff, we share fun arts and crafts done by us and our fellow geeks and nerds.
As a kid, I spent time playing in the small wooded areas nearby and imagined all sorts of critters living there. I know I did, but at some point I lost the ability (or willingness, or perhaps leisure? I remember an increase in homework around the same time). By the time I read of the enormous woodlands in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, I remember having trouble imagining the really large trees of Lothlórien or Mirkwood, or how Ents might be mistaken for trees.
You see, I grew up two hours south of the Arctic Circle. We have woods up there, of course, thanks to the Gulf stream. The trees may not necessarily grow very big, however—although there are exceptions—and the ones that do grow tall tend to be relatively thin and arrow-straight instead of bulky and gnarly. (Two examples here and here. Both are further south than where I grew up, but nevertheless very similar.)
So, even I can easily imagine how a forest might invoke stories of elves, trolls, ents, and other creatures on the basis of photos of Wistman’s Wood in Dartmoor, Devon, England.
Isn’t it breathtaking? It’s like there are Ents about to walk out from behind a tree at any moment!
As usual, some days ago while doing something quite different I found an intriguing detail I wanted to look into. Finally I had the time to chase it down.
So: I was struck by this scene from an English illuminated manuscript.
The way the woman in the image is holding a distaff under one arm while she feeds chickens from a bowl feels incredibly authentic. I may not have to spin my own yarn nor feed chickens in 2018, but I have often held a thing under my arm momentarily while taking care of a small, short task. Such a lovely, realistic detail.
I do have one question for the artist, though: what on earth is that chick doing, standing on top of the hen and pecking her? (“Mom, look, I’m up here! Mom? Mom? Mooom!”) LOL!
The manuscript is from England and known as The Luttrell Psalter. Fortunately for us, British Library has digitized the whole manuscript. In addition to the chicken-feeding one above, the illuminations include a slew of other everyday scenes, like a miller in his windmill, bear-baiting(!), a wattle pen full of sheep, and various stages of tending fields and preparing food.
Being a textile nerd, I enjoyed the image of two women preparing fibers into yarn: one is using a spinning wheel, the other is carding.
The coloring is quite lovely. I do wonder, however, what’s with the awkward poses. The chicken-feeding image felt much more natural in that respect, too.
My very first WoW character, created towards the end of vanilla, was a female gnome mage. I still have her—specced the same, too—although I don’t play her as my primary anymore.
Anyway, I was looking for something else on the Internet when I fell into a hole on Tumblr and found all of this AWESOME female gnome fanart. I’ll share just five of my favorites below. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
An alchemist by Boz:
Love the thoughtful expression!
A custom portrait of a gnome with goggles by Azuralynx (aka Niniel-Gnoll):
The grin! 😀
Sketch of a mage by Bryss (aka Alynissia):
Chromie, the dragon who prefers a gnome humanoid form, by mhazaru:
A death knight by Flyingterra—she clearly means business!
The range of illustration techniques is impressive, but even more so is how all of these artists capture the range of possibilities for gnome characters.
In the 1970s, NASA designed potential space habitats in three basic shapes—toroid, Bernal sphere, and cylinder. Artwork depicting some of the plans has now been published in several sizes without copyright restrictions. Here’s the NASA description of the images:
“A couple of space colony summer studies were conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s. Colonies housing about 10,000 people were designed. A number of artistic renderings of the concepts were made.”
Below are some of my favorites.
A version of cylindrical habitats has since been seen in popular media—Babylon 5, anyone?
The residential buildings look kind of cutely 1970s. (And I say this as a non-fan of the 70s aesthetic!)
Apparently all of these designs were meant for thousands of people: the toroid and spherical stations could house around 10,000 and the cylinder a million. Wow. They certainly did not dream small!
All images courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center: Cylindrical habitat / interior view looking out through large windows (NASA ID number AC75-1086) and toroidal / cutaway view exposing the interior (NASA ID number AC75-1086-1) by Rick Guidice. Bernal sphere / construction crew at work (NASA ID number AC76-1288) by Don Davis. Bernal sphere / cutaway view (NASA ID number AC76-1089) by Rick Guidice.
Out There is an occasional feature highlighting intriguing art, spaces, places, phenomena, flora, and fauna.
Due to a post-winterstorm blackout a week more than two weeks ago, I’m still catching up on my Internet reading, so I only saw these awesome, nerdy motivational postersnow after the International Women’s Day. It was worth the wait, though:
“Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”
Referring of course to Shuri from the movie Black Panther. As another tinkerer, I wholeheartedly agree! 😀
“Behind every successful woman is herself.”
The posters are by letterer, illustrator and designerd Risa Rodil. She posted them on Tumblr in honor of the International Women’s Day (March 08).
The Snow Village hotel in Kittilä in Lapland, Finland, has gone all-out Game of Thrones for their 2017-2018 season. The snow and ice sculptures of various characters and scenes embellishing the resort were created in collaboration with HBO Nordic.
According to an Yle article (NB. in Finnish only), the hotel’s current look was finished at the beginning of December. While Finns built the structural parts of the snow village, the carving was done by an international team of artists with members from Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, and Russia.
It looks absolutely amazing! Just out of curiosity, I also had a look at the restaurant menus, and it sounds. So. Delicious! (Sadly, now I miss home!)
The downside is that the pricing is, erm, quite high, to stick with a polite understatement. Then again, what else is to be expected when you have to rebuild a significant part of your infrastructure every winter?