community · creativity · play

Knitting the potholes together in Paris

In 2009, Juliana Santacruz Herrera began filling Paris’s potholes with elaborate knitted plugs; she called it “Projet Nid de Poule” (Project Pothole). What the yarn lacks in durability it makes up for in whimsy.

projet nid de poule (via Craft)

brain · community · creativity · happiness · mental health · play · psychology

Grandma the superhero

Mental health is important throughout the entire human lifespan, from infancy (see previous post) to old age.

Courtesy of Boing Boing, I ran across this great story about actively pursuing good mental health, helping out a fellow human being, and using creativity and silliness to accomplish it.

“Sacha Goldberger found his 91-year-old Hungarian grandmother Frederika, a WWII survivor, feeling lonely and depressed. To cheer her up, he photographed her dressed up as a fictional superhero. To his surprise, she loved it. The photos are a bit comical, but there’s an underlying sense of hope, strength and courage in them.”

View Grandma’s Superhero Therapy (18 photos). From the blog: 

Frederika was born in Budapest 20 years before World War II. During the war, at the peril of her own life, she courageously saved the lives of ten people. When asked how, he tells us “she hid the Jewish people she knew, moving them around to different places everyday.” As a survivor of Nazism and Communism, she then immigrated away from Hungary to France, forced by the Communist regime to leave her homeland illegally or face death.

Aside from great strength, Frederika has an incredible sense of humor, one that defies time and misfortune. She is funny and cynical, always mocking people that she loves.

With the unexpected success of this series, titled “Mamika,” Goldberger created a MySpace page for his grandmother. She now has over 2,200 friends and receives messages like: “You’re the grandmother that I have dreamed of, would you adopt me?” and ” You made my day, I hope to be like you at your age.”

People often forget just how much fun, funny, and spunky people can be after living on this Earth for a few decades. My grandmas were and are unstoppable forces of nature.

There have been a few photographic projects with older folks, in retirement homes or elsewhere, but the artist in me definitely feels like this demographic is an important part of humanity to explore that has been relatively neglected.

architecture · technology

Funny Shaped Buildings

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe…and a young woman who lived in a basket.
People enjoy oddly-shaped structures, especially if they are functional. But what is the point? What do they do for us? They make us laugh, inspire creativity and "out of the box" thinking, and make us think of things in new ways. Oh yeah, and provide shelter.

And, in some cases, provide free advertising (free other than the cost of the building).

Mental Floss put together a fun gallery of 10 buildings shaped like the products they offer. Above, the Kansas City Library garage with its facade of 22 giant book spines, including Catch-22, Invisible Man, and The Lord of the Rings. To the left, the headquarters of Newark, Ohio’s Longaberger Company makers of, you guessed it, maple baskets. "10 Buildings Shaped Like What They Sell"

Courtesy also of Boing Boing

architecture · design · Nature

Norway’s Grassy Rooftops

Boing Boing is an awesome filter for culture and science enrichment! Heck the whole site is enriching. Once again they deliver, with this choice nugget from Norway: rural Norwegian homes whose roofs have been given over to the traditional turf — and even small forests.

Image from Amusing Planet

Turf roofs in Norway are a tradition and you will see them everywhere. Roofs in Scandinavia have probably been covered with birch bark and sod since prehistory. During the Viking and Middle Ages most houses had sod roofs. In rural areas sod roofs were almost universal until the beginning of the 18th century. Tile roofs, which appeared much earlier in towns and on rural manors, gradually superseded sod roofs except in remote inland areas during the 19th century. Corrugated iron and other industrial materials also became a threat to ancient traditions. But just before extinction, the national romantics proclaimed a revival of vernacular traditions, including sod roofs. A new market was opened by the demand for mountain lodges and holiday homes. At the same time, open air museums and the preservation movement created a reservation for ancient building traditions. From these reservations, sod roofs have begun to reappear as an alternative to modern materials.Every year, since 2000, an award is also given to the best green roof project…

The Grass Roofs of Norway (via Geisha Asobi)

Farm buildings in Heidal, Gudbrandadal, Norway
Image via Wikipedia

They remind me a little bit of the houses built by SunRay Kelley (my father-in-law)…