It’s horrendous and snowy and rainy and just overall gross outside today, which makes me dream of bouquets of spring flowers, and also makes me want to stomp things. Put those two impulses together, and you get a handful of colorful ideas for making prints with unusual materials that I’ve been collecting for the past few months, just waiting for an excuse to try out!
Printing with Natural Materials
Using a tree cookie as a pattern: like woodblock, but less carving required! Click for source.
Printing with celery and other vegetables. Pinecones don’t work as well as you’d think, based on my previous efforts, but starfruit are great! Click for source.
Printing with Recycled Materials
Cardboard tubes are one of the most useful things ever. I bet it would be fun to squish them and make different shapes to print as well. Click for source.
There are entirely too many plastic bags under my sink. This seems like a genius way to give them some bright new life. Click for source.
Probably my favorite of the lot–surprisingly pretty and definitely helping with my wintry mix grumpiness. Click for source.
Printing with Surprising Materials
Definitely click through for this one: they made a lego print Millenium Falcon! Click for source.
This one has all kinds of possibilities based on how you mix the paint and how much you ‘squish’ the balloon in printing. I love the element of chance involved! Click for source.
Looks surprisingly sharp for rolling paint over a pan of jello. I like the way the give of the substrate means you get nice even pressure. Click for source.
For a softer look, using liquid watercolors in a spray bottle works great. Seems like a ‘let’s do this outside!’ activity if you don’t want to have to do a lot of clean up, though! Click for source.
If you’re looking for other online archaeology interactives, check out the extensive list at Fun Archaeology For Kids. The list includes lots of different cultures and time periods, with a great many of the interactives created by museums and other reputable sources.
And now for the creepy. (It is, after all, the week before Halloween, and I’m not entirely immune to the Salem atmosphere.)
*waves* Hello All! I have returned from my trip to Italy and essentially recovered from the Italian cold I brought back with me, and I’m back on track to keep bringing you fresh Brain Popcorn. Today’s post celebrates unusual music.
ASIMO conducts the Detroit Symphony. Click for story.
Music is a great interdisciplinary doorway. Though I ran as far as possible from the calculations necessary for the ‘physics of music’ class they offered in undergrad, the fact remains that music and physics *are* closely linked, and so are music and art, music and history, music and literature, music and myth, music and….you get the refrain. Today we’re going to focus on a few science connections.
Gravity Makes Music!
Gravité from Renaud Hallée: check out some very cleverly edited percussion work with falling tennis balls, forks and knives, televisions, basketballs, and light sticks. It reminds me a lot of the number “Trashing the Camp” by Phil Collins, from Disney’s Tarzan. (Thanks to Rob over on Politics et Alia Sensae for the heads up!)
For a slightly more complicated set of interactions (with some entertaining moments and some real physics –there’s a Newton’s Cradle in there!) check out the Rube-Goldberg-inspired “This Too Shall Pass” by OK Go. Once you’ve watched it once and have stopped laughing, go again and keep your eyes out for levers, weights and counterweights, wedges, and a number of other simple machines.
Vegetables as instruments?
Well, it beats eating them… If you missed my earlier link to the ViennaVegetable Orchestra, here it is. This is a great way to talk about materials engineering (what qualities are they looking for when they pick their vegetables? How do they change those materials to get the sound they want?), and also just to discuss the ways people make noise (beating, blowing through a tube or over a tube, plucking, shaking…how do these veggie instruments resemble or differ from what a regular orchestra/band/jam session uses?).
Did you know? The palm cockatoo is known to beat hollow logs with sticks to make loud drumming sounds. ~courtesy of @AMNH, the American Museum of Natural History’s Twitter feed
Animal Music–apparently not confined to cetaceans and songbirds! (Does anybody else have the lines from Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb running through their heads yet? “Many more monkeys drumming on drums! Dum ditty dum ditty dum dum dum!”)
The Stalacpipe Organ at Luray Caverns, photo from their website
And finally, for sheer amusement value, “Flight of the Bumblebee” played on an iPad. Is this cheating? Having played this piece on the flute, I’m going to say yes. If you’re not out of breath by the end, it doesn’t count. 🙂
You would think I’d be done with cool snow-themed links by now, right? Nope.
Guide to Snowflakes from CalTech. Great chart of the immense variety of snow crystal shapes, with neat pictures by Ken Libbrecht and descriptions of some of the conditions needed to form specific kinds of snowflakes. This is just one page out of a pretty impressive site all about snow and frost. Well worth exploring. (One of my favorite accidental discoveries on this site was the page on how to make snowflake fossils.)
Solstice: the day the sun stands still (from the Latin)
Newgrange at Solstice, from Fodors.com (Click for original page)
Find all kinds of cool facts about the solstice today from National Geographic (you’ve all noticed I love these guys by now, I should hope?) I particularly enjoyed the mention of Newgrange, an incredibly cool Stone Age monument/tomb in Ireland which is 1000 years older than Stonehenge. When it was built, it was designed to exactly align with the winter solstice dawn. I visited it in summer, and it was still impressive then.
Here we come a wassailing
What’s the solstice without a touch of celebration? Despite my general fondness towards things historical, I haven’t tried either of these recipes yet. However, they look delicious and have very positive reviews, so taste at your own discretion.