Pencil sculptures by Jessica Drenk

In her sculptures Jessica Drenk transforms familiar objects – such as books, pencils and toothpicks – into nature-inspired forms and patterns. My favorite is definitely Jessica’s “Implement” series. For this series she used glue and pencils to create nature inspired pencil sculptures. Each one is made of several thousands of pencils. After being glued together the artist applies a belt sander among other power tools before finishing each piece by hand. Jessica’s elegant pencil sculptures blur, deconstruct and inverse the boundaries between natural and man-made things.

“Manufactured goods appear as natural objects, something functional becomes something decorative, a simple material is made complex, and the commonplace becomes unique.” (Jessica Drenk)

Pencil sculpture by Jessica Drenk

All images © Jessica Drenk


“Toys from trash” to learn about science by Arvind Gupta

Toys from trash? Recently I stumbled upon a website and a TED talk by Arvind Gupta, an Indian toy inventor, educator and popularizer of science for kids. Since the 1970s he proves that it takes indeed very little to make science education fun. Gupta creates simple toys from trash and everyday goods and illustrates many scientific principles in a hands-on and memorable fashion.

Science is a game, not a formula

Sometimes teachers and schools tend to complain about the lack of funding or equipment when it comes to science education.  Sometimes that serves as a justification of the fact that students don’t do experiments on their own but learn formulas instead. Sometimes you just don’t have no school but kids want to learn anyway. After watching Gupta’s videos and trying some of his toys and experiment with my son, I am convinced that Gupta has found the right approach. He brings together what isn’t so far from each other anyway: scientific research and playing games. Science means fun, curiosity, discovery and often a game of trial and error. In science education learning formulas should always come afterwards and should never be a stand-alone feature of a lesson.

Arvind Gupta works at the Children’s Science Centre in Pune, India, and is the author of numerous books available in English, Hindi and other Indian languages, including Little Toys (PDF), Science Skills & Thrills: The Best of Arvind Gupta (PDF) and Low-Cost Equipment for Science and Technology Eduction, which is available as a PDF download through the UNESCO.

Most of his low-cost, entertaining toys are explained in one-minute films available on Arvind Gupta’s Youtube channel or his website, but also in pictures.

All images courtesy of Arvind Gupta


Cluster balloons and a flying HOUSE!

Jonathan Trappe: Cluster Balloon. Flying House. Up.

Wow! That’s my dream. Jonathan Trappe from North Carolina flew above the International Ballon Festival in Leon, Mexico, in a house inspired by the Disney Pixar movie Up. Two years ago, he was the first man to fly across the English Channel with a cluster balloon. And before that he had already crossed the Alps with toy balloons. Jonathan also holds the Guinness World Record for the Longest cluster balloon flight of all time. Read more


WebGL Globe for 3D Geographic data visualization

The WebGL Globe is an open platform for geographic data visualization. It was created by the Google Data Arts Team and is still in early development. Users are encouraged to copy the code, add their own data, and create their own globes. The user generated visualizations can then be featured on the project’s website. The WebGL Globe is able to display a JSON file. It requires latitude, longitude and the magnitude related with the location. It would certainly be interesting to visualize education related data with open data from the WorldbankOECD and others.

WebGL-Globe-Emotiglobe Read more


Wild Animals Book by Rop van Mierlo

The Wild Animals Book is a wonderful piece art. Dutch Graphic designer, illustrator and animator Rop van Mierlo first self-published his book in 2011, when Wild Animals won the Dutch Design Awards in the category ‘Best Graphic Design’. The book is a collection of Rop’s amazing wash paintings of wild animals. When the inks and watercolors are dropped on the paper they create wild formations without hard lines or angles to confine them. Watch the video below to get an idea about how the technique works.

About the Wild Animals Book

The snake rattles,
the lion yawns
and man makes a book.
A wild book
for civilized people.
A sophisticated book
for wild people.
A beautiful book
with wild animals
for civilized people.
A book with beautiful animals
for wild people.

(Rop van Mierlo)

Read more