Friday, December 30, 2011

Lunar Calendars

Every year I think I should make a calendar, but I never do... though I do tend to gather a bunch of proofs of my prints to make a calendar just for our home. This year I went so far as to work on a design of a lunar calendar. I think that there is too much information to easily capture in a relief print (unless made on an impractical scale) and that this is something better suited to screenprinting or digital prints. Further, the more I worked on it, the more convinced I became that this was something I should be programming, rather than making by hand.

Here are a few of the lovely 2012 lunar calendars I was able to find.

Lunar Calendar 2012 Poster
Silkscreen over Black paper 240 g/m² 48x66cm
Made with programming using Nodebox
Lunar Calendar, Moon Calendar, Calendário Lunar
by Brazilian designer Dimitre Lima, available here

Lunar Calendar 2012

Lunar Calendar 2012
This is a visualization of the lunar calendar for 2012.
columns = months, rows = days.
© Copyright 2011 Michael Paukner.
This doesn't appear to be in his shop right now, but you should check it out (and his photostream) anyway, for lovely design and sciencey goodness!

This calendar on tries to do it all:
Calendar 2012 is a Gregorian calendar with, moon phases and the Chinese Lunar-solar Calendar integrated, layed out as a circular color wheel. The new additional Chinese calendar is in simplified Chinese.

This years edition of the color wheel calendar marks the End of the Mayan long count. The Maya Long count is the most sophisticated calendar created so far. It consists of different length cycles that makes up the long count which is 5126 years. This long count ends on the winter solstice 21st of December 2012.

Calendar 2012 includes:

- Hebrew, Chinese, Hindu, Buddhist, Gregorian and Islamic year count.
- Fully integrated lunar phase cycle for each day.
- Simplified Chinese Calendar

This calendar is actually from 2011, but you can get the letterpress 2012 version here from lizardpress on Etsy

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays

Whichever of the many December holidays, when days in the Northern Hemisphere grow short and nights are long, which you may celebrate, I hope it's a good one.

These are Mummers in St Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador:

Mummering is a Christmastime tradition in Newfoundland and Labrador, which settlers brought from England at some point. I involves, in various proportions, costumed house visits (sometimes in drag), singing, performance, recitation, challenging hosts to guess identities, and of course, last but not least, drinking.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Maps and UnNatural History

The work of Vancouver-based Paul Morstad involves some of my favorite things, and I don't just mean the magpies (as in Magpie Bacchanal, above). His series of multimedia paintings on nautical charts and maps have a sort of chaotic and romantic welter of natural history (flora, fauna, gems and geology) and subtle, imaginative, visual puns.

Consider the ruby-throated hummingbird raising a ruby in her nest.

Humbolt's Acordion seems to allude to one of my favorite, heroic nineteenth century naturalist-explorers, the biologist-meterologist-earth scientist-freedom fighter Alexander von Humboldt, who, amongst many adventures, famously learned 40 words of the dead language of the lost Atures tribe of South America, from a parrot, the last surviving speaker. Though, it isn't impossible it may have just been inspired by accordion players in Humboldt, Saskatchewan (or any number of other places of the same name). It makes me imagine tucans passing on the lost accordion music of some imaginary people. I love how the natural lines of inlets and rivers become trees and branches. I wouldn't have thought forks in rivers were isomorphic to branching in trees, (and I happen to be the sort of person who has spent hours looking at the Canadian Hydrographic Service chart for Jervis Inlet) but the organic lines work so well.

There is something magical and menacing about the regal prairie chicken, over the sedimentary section with cut gem stones, grasshoppers and smoking black-eyed susans in Prospector.

I too am charmed by weather prognosticating rodents.

Paul writes that he is deeply influenced by the "landscapes, people, flora and fauna" of the Western provinces (Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia) where he was raised. Do yourself a favour and check out the rest of his portfolio. I stumbled upon it while looking at some of the animations of his immensely talented sister Julie Morstad; they created the animations together.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


(image: Puffin on a Tuba, by Oliver Lake, available at society6)

This is a strange sort of post. Sometimes I like to gather little themes. This is really just two unusual tuba-related observations this week. Firstly, French cows clearly enjoy some jazz on brass and this tuba and trumpet duo. Made me smile:

(via swissmiss)

Meanwhile, in LA, there have been a rash of tuba thefts, leaving Southlands high schools bereft. Compared to some crime stories in Los Angelos, the idea of banda-crazed theives stealing from high school bands and a tuba-blackmarket seems humourous, but it's actually sad. High schools haven't the budget to replace these instruments. Though, at least these thefts will result in music, not mayheim.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Stick Charts and Woven Branch Maps

Via I'M REVOLTING come these woven branch maps, described as a collaboration between architect Tim Koelle and an unnamed local Mexican craftsperson (available at mc&co). They (mc&co) explain, "The branches are woven together when freshly cut & flexible. The designs are based on local topographical regions, serving as 'maps'."

I think the branch maps are lovely (if pricey!), but I do think it a bit odd that they do not mention the Polynesian tradition of making maps of branches. To navigate and explore a world of Pacific ocean, sparsely dotted with thousands of small islands, Polynesians created maps with knots, shells and bamboo or coconut fronds to identify routes to islands. They used the sun and stars to identify cardinal directions, and cues such as wave swells, winds, flights of birds, tides, reefs, cloud formation and flotsam to allow them to travel thousands of kilometers in canoes, long before Captain Cooke and other European explorers were able to explore the Pacific. They marked these cues on their maps called Rebbelibs, Medos and Mattangs, or Stick Charts. (You can find more on the history of navigation at sea, including Polynesian and Micronesian methods and maps curtesy of NOAA, the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration or about stick charts here and here).

I suppose it's possible they are less interested in maps, charts, navigation and the history of science and exploration than I (frankly, it's a bit of an obsession) and they may have actually produced their topographic branch maps in ignorance of Polynesian stick charts through a sort of convergent evolution of design (an idea which in itself interests me). Though, the lovely "Decorative Wall Hangings" might not be a case of cultural appropriation at all, I would far rather have a useful piece of naviation history if I had the choice.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Doily Science

Sometimes I neglect to mention artists who strike me as well-known, or blogosphere favorites. But, I would be remiss to neglect Lisa Solomon's 'doily drawings' which are at the cross-section of art, science and needlework, as they are both beautiful and very much in keeping with magpie&whiskeyjack's favorites things.

doily brain: 2006, coloured pencil and embroidery on duralar, 12 x 9 inches

doily lungs: 2006, coloured pencil and embroidery on duralar, 12 x 9 inches

Solomon writes, "when I started drawing doilies I realized that en masse they reminded me of internal organs.... these doily body drawings represent the 4 things I think you need to make art: your lungs, heart, brain, and guts." She's also used doilies and colour pencils to show beautiful versions of the chemical structure of toxins and the geometry of viruses. More recently she's moved on to even more sculpture representations of molecules by combining the crochet with glass balls.

carbon tetrachloride, 2007
colored pencil, acrylic, graphite, watercolor and embroidery on duralar
10" x 10"

chloro benzine, 2007
colored pencil, acrylic, graphite, watercolor and embroidery on duralar
16 3/4" x 20 1/2"

crochet doilies on glass
3.5 x 8.5 x 8.75 inches
8.9 x 21.6 x 22.2 cm

As well as anatomy, chemistry, toxicology, and microbiology, she's also tackled deforestation, tanks and rifles (which would fit in with the craftivism post) and a variety of domestic themes. Her work includes the aim of fusing and 'mending' masculine icons with traditionally feminine crafts. You should check out her extensive portfolio.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I wrote previously about my favorite book which I've never seen in person (or, should I say, in analogue form), the Codex Seraphinianius, by written and illustrated by Italian architect Luigi Serafini from 1976 to 1978. It's a visual encyclopedia, of a foreign, paradoxical yet familiar, world, complete with its own language and obscure meanings. Today, I bring you more art which reminds me of this particular brand of marvelousness; personal wonderland wunderkammer.

English artist and illustrator Ellis Nadler describes his "pictures as key frames or storyboards for some sort of bizarre movie. Or perhaps as stage sets for an opera I shall write some day." The "Scenes from the Speonk Archipelago" (one of which appears above) and gloriously mysterious and surreal Tarot-like 'Cards of Wu' in particular, make me think of Serafini. Do yourself a favour and peruse his portfolio!

from "Scenes from the Speonk Archipelago"

from "The Cards of Wu"

from "War"

Finland-based Vladimir Stankovic also creates bizzare, otherwordly wunderkammer (see in particular his Biophilia set), strange yet somehow familiar characters and a sort of personal mythology.

Beautiful feeling*
Beautiful feeling

The Mushroom Princess
The Mushroom Princess

Underneath the Reflection - Her Majesty
Underneath the Reflection - Her Majesty

"The Cursed Forest" characters/paper dolls
The Cursed Forest

Local Toronto favorite, illustrator Nicholas Di Genova (currently being exhibited at Galerie Dukan Hourdequin, Paris, but often found here in Toronto at Magic Pony or Narwhal) has invented this incredible, detailed, pseudo-scientific diagram style of illustration, complete with his own imaginary wunderkammer of composite creatures and seemingly obessive compulsive sets of flora and fauna - which has to be seen to be understood. He's quite prolific, so you should expect to spend some time at his site. Consider 'Angler Tortoise', 'Chluthu Toad' and '211 Herbivores' below, but do visit his site for a better look!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I found this inspiring. I am a fan of murals and graffiti. Who doesn't love variations on the theme of the matryoshka, or Russian nesting doll? Or braids and rainbows? Mostly, the film makes this collaboration between Supakitch and Koralie, working on their installation Euphorie for the Metroplastique boutique exhibit in Paris, seems natural, organic and spontaneous. (via HonestlyWTF and fubiz)

SUPAKITCH & KORALIE "Euphorie" Paris from Raphaël Hache on Vimeo.

Or, for that matter, I do love calligraphy, Japanese art, anthropomorphic animals and paper boats too (from CULTURE MUSEUM // GÖTEGORG+).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Olympic Art

The BBC News website has a article on and collection of photos of the 12 posters commissioned for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. I could not help but share one by Bridget Riley, because it reminded me of the magpie&whiskeyjack banner I created (in 2009), though horizontal, different aspect ratio, more muted and uniform in colour selection. Still, though I'm new to her art, there's a certain coincidental something akin.

"Bridget Riley is celebrated for her optically vibrant paintings. The horizontal lines in Rose Rose (pictured) indicate the direction of the Olympic swimming lanes or athletic tracks. Riley, who began her career using only black and white patterns, started to experiment with colour in 1967, the same year she began painting stripes"

See the rest of the posters here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Destino: Dalí meets Disney

Beginning in 1945 Salvador Dalí spent eight months, with Disney story board artist John Hench making storyboards for a short film called Destino but the project was abandoned. Rediscovered in 1999 by Roy E. Disney (nephew to Walt), the film project was completed by director Dominique Monfréy at Disney Studios France, 58 years after it began, by 2003. They were able to encorporate 17 seconds of completed film, and seek advice from Hench and Dalí's widow Gala.

I found the baseball player the most unexpected thing in this intriguing surrealist animated short.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Day of the Dead

Mound by Allison Schulnik from garaco taco on Vimeo.

This lovely short film by Allison Schulnik, stop-motion, claymation even, is so beautiful and ephemeral, with its dancing skeletons and trembling ghosts. Plus, it feature Scott Walker's 'It's Raining Today' which really sets the tone. The motion of the clay is beautifully choreographed to the music (though she identifies Walker by his birth name, Noel Scott Engel). (via TeenAngster)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Art on Science

I like to blog about the intersection and cross-breeding of art and science. Today I bring you some beautiful objects which are really more just art on top of scientific ephemera - but they are lovely.

Philadelphia- based multi-media artist Matthew Cox embroiders x-ray photographs. He writes about the contrast between the labour-intensive needle work and the rapid technological image making, the decorative and artisanal versus the x-ray images "devoid of aesthetic intention", the stereotypically feminine art of embroidery versus the stereotypically male technological output.

Laughing Skeleton

Waterproof Watches


Wading Knees
(via Honestly WTF)

You know I love a wunderkammer and adore scientific collections re-imagined. CoriKindred, one of my Etsy favorites, has done something of such beautiful simplity. She's created rock collections of beautiful minerals, and labelled them whimsically, with unexpected, conceptual names. It's easier to look at than to describe, but it's like she's managed to illustrate things as ephemeral or intangible as anticipation incarnate as a rock, simply by adding typewritten labels.

Legend Rock Collection

Bohemian Rock Collection

Dress-up Rock Collection

Thursday, October 6, 2011

MÖBIUS - Federation Square

Since we're talking about Möbius strips, and specifically adding the time dimension to the concept of a looped strip with a single side, a 2D object embedded in a 3D space (with, of course the 4th dimension of time) I would be loathe to neglect the MÖBIUS - Federation Square project by ENESS which used sculpture and stop-motion animation to extend the concept to 4D.

MÖBIUS from ENESS on Vimeo.

ENESS describes the project thus;
Twenty-one large triangles animated by Melbourne, throughout Federation Square. MÖBIUS is a sculpture that can be configured into many cyclical patterns and behave as though it is eating itself, whilst sinking into the ground. The result is an optical illusion and a time-lapse of people interacting with the sculpture and moving through Melbourne's landmark location throughout the day.

MÖBIUS was animated over two weeks Friday, Saturday & Sunday between the 6th - 20th of May 2011.

The 'making of' video is also inspiring. I love the public participation in art, design and whimsy.

Making of MÖBIUS from ENESS on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

infinity elephants

Something a little different today. Vi Hart has a whole series of videos called 'Doodling in Math Class' which are awesome (which you can find on YouTube). While she disavows having a love for numbers, seeming to favour geometry over algebra, these are wonderfully talky videos with a real love of the beauty of mathematics (over the unloveable way it is too often taught) and drawing.

I confess, I think in a very similar way sometimes. I'm flumoxed by the question, "What are you thinking?", because I'm unconvinced anyone wants to hear this sort of monologue, though I'm charmed hearing hers.

I also love the Möbius Strip Musical Box.

Find more on her website.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

headgear in the wild

Speaking of interesting things on heads, I love the series of illustrations of animals in hats by Lisa Hanawalt featured on the hair pin in honour of New York Fashion Week. Be sure to check out the rest. (via Etsy Tumblr)

The colour blocking morbidity bonnet is the best thing ever. I think she's satirizing fashion with love.


Related Posts with Thumbnails