30 September 2010

Deco Fan Print.

More prints. Inspired by those turn of the century novels. A friend of mine from long days pasts back in time to my primary schoolgirl days contacted me and said they'd look nice on the dust jackets of books. Check out the new Penguin Classics covers :)

Creative Commons Licence

28 September 2010

Begonia Rex Print

Aftter days of digging around online for inspiration, I've decided to get down to it and make my own. There's a lot of lovely, cute stuff out there, but very few that strike a chord with me. My favourite prints are still from Erika Wakerly. Personalljavascript:void(0)y, I prefer prints that are more abstract, drawing inspiration from scientific illustrations of exotic flora and fauna and geometry.

Inspired by the Begonia Rex plant on my kitchen still.

Creative Commons Licence

27 September 2010

The Closing of the Western Mind.

The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason
Philip had this awesome book on his shelf dedicated to books solely against religion. I can't think something like this is happening again, but the religion this time is the school of rubbish economic development policies. In the hope to preserve their power and current status in the world, the paranoid economise engineer their own demise.  Here are a few reasons why:
Their Moon Shot and Ours, NYT.
China is doing moon shots. Yes, that’s plural. When I say “moon shots” I mean big, multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing investments. China has at least four going now: one is building a network of ultramodern airports; another is building a web of high-speed trains connecting major cities; a third is in bioscience, where the Beijing Genomics Institute this year ordered 128 DNA sequencers — from America — giving China the largest number in the world in one institute to launch its own stem cell/genetic engineering industry; and, finally, Beijing just announced that it was providing $15 billion in seed money for the country’s leading auto and battery companies to create an electric car industry, starting in 20 pilot cities. In essence, China Inc. just named its dream team of 16-state-owned enterprises to move China off oil and into the next industrial growth engine: electric cars.
Not to worry. America today also has its own multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing moon shot: fixing Afghanistan.
And the UK cutting funds for science and axing the film council.

The moral? The good guys get shafted and the bad ones are allowed to do as they please. Because after the expensive mistakes they made, they surely must be billions of dollars the wiser to manage the economy better.

21 September 2010

Grow House Grow.

I found this collection of wallpapers inspired by female naturalist during the Victorian era. I think they are an interesting artistic tribute to the work of the scientists represented. I like the designs for their quirkiness, although I think it is the narrative behind the design that makes these wallpapers more than they are on the surface.

Mary Treat (1830-1923) was an American-born naturalist devoted to the understanding of carnivorous plants. Throughout her many years of autodidactic study, Treat made extensive contributions to the botanical world, published several books and was an outspoken correspondent to Charles Darwin.

Treat and Darwin’s recorded discourse extends over five years, and most notably involves the inner workings of the Utricularia plant's trap. Darwin believed insects wedged their heads into the traps, thus becoming stuck and then consumed. Treat's extensive research, fueled by her curiosity and vigor for experimentation, revealed that the Utricularia plant actually snapped shut when small hairs around the entrance of the trap were triggered. Treat so influenced Darwin's understanding on the subject that he references her several times in his Insectivorous Plants (1875).

Though much of Treat's work has been forgotten, four species of plants and animals bear her name, including the ant species Aphaenogaster treatiae. Look hard enough, and you might spy one of the little critters within her leafy carnivorous menagerie. 

Mary Ward (1827-1869) was born into to a renowned scientific family in Co. Offaly, Ireland, she was educated at home with her sisters and by the age of three had developed a penchant for collecting bugs. These insects became the subject of study for Mary, and with the help of a magnifying glass she began meticulously drawing and reproducing their details. By a stroke of luck, astronomer James South discovered the drawings, and was so impressed with her talent that he persuaded her father to invest in a microscope.

Owning her own microscope allowed her to transform her love of insects into full-blown, self-taught microscopy. She spent her time reading everything she could get her hands on regarding the subject, and became so skilled that her knowledge surpassed that of most experts. Over the years she wrote a series of books, of which A World of Wonders Revealed by the Microscope (1858) was reprinted eight times. It became a go-to student text in the field of microscopy, which considering her sex, is truly representative of her talent.

Further distinctions include her work as an illustrator for scientific publications, and her significant status as one of just three female recipients of the Royal Astronomical Society's newsletter (of the other two women, one was Queen Victoria).

True to her love of scale, this pattern blends late-Georgian silhouettes with over-sized insects; an entomologist's dream.
Visit Grow House Grow.

20 September 2010

There is Light on Earth.

Poverty is big business, and it's really quite amazing how designers have managed to put a gloss over the whole affair and market poverty as a pet project for the rest of us not in the majority. Artemide's new campaign features light sculptures by some of the world's top designers throwing light onto evocative portraits of some of the heroes in the world of aid and political turbulance.

It's a very catchy idea. Now if only the people with the most money had a bit more taste (see Inside the world's mos opulent private jets.), this campaign might just be more then just a very clever gimmick selling light fittings.

19 September 2010

Generous Gesture

While digging around for awesome fonts, I came across Generous Gesture. Another one of those fair trade outfits that provide decent work and decent pay for the underprivileged in Bangladesh. I'm skeptical as to how much these women are paid for every €129 shawl is sold, but they are very beautiful. I particularly like how the letters are stiched on. They would be a lot better though, if there were a wider variety of fonts to choose from.

16 September 2010

Natural Media.

Gosh, am I so behind the curve? I noticed while cycling to the gym a few days ago an imprint on the pavement advertising the location of the Gemeente Museum. These imprints are very popular in Holland, and are done by a company called Green Graffiti.

It's genius isn't it. You don't ever have to pay for advertising space, it's natural and oh-so-playful. Reminds me of that Art Attack show I used to watch when I was a kid where the guy goes out into nature and makes a really, really big piece of art with random materials. Like salt, sand, chipwood, etc.

The work at Curb is pretty amazing. There's something beautiful about taking such precise forms and implementing them in nature.

15 September 2010

Interactive Magazines.

I saw this today.

It might not look like much in terms of the differences between the layouts of magazines form print to digital, but one day we'll look back at those mag archives and wonder at how stale the experience had been before these arrived.

The magazines I regularly read are New Scientist, Wallpaper and the Economist. I think particularly for mags whoes sole function is to instill material desire (like Wallpaper) e-readers are fantastic. You get to see the glam in 3-D, like in The Elements, for the iPad. I can't help but wish such things were around while I was still studying high school science. For visual thinkers, words and static images just don't cut it. Digital animation can get to the point faster and clearer. As for political magazines, linking to interactive infographics can get the point across so much better, cross referencing alot easier.

I also have a particular love for Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I know it's great that because books usually don't have pictures in them, you're compelled into imagining your own. But sometimes, it's just nice to have pictures, and e-readers can link to the best fan art out there. Why not?