A while back I purchased a lens to create a whole room camera obscura. The only room in our home with appropriate sunlight conditions is where my wife practices her trade. Lucky for me the room wasn’t in use and I was able to black out the windows (I discovered not very well) and position the lens.
My eyes adjusted to the darkened conditions of the room. I was surrounded by our backyard – albeit inverted left-right and upside-down. Amazing! A better job blacking out the windows would enhance the spectacular effect. Nonetheless I was awestruck by watching tree branches sway in the wind in real-time.
I snapped a few pictures (stitched together above) before taking the cardboard off the windows and returning the room to its original condition (debatable if you ask Amy). When the next jumbo sized cardboard box finds its way into my possession I will return to the room with loads of tape and my lens for another try.
Saturday, April 11, 2015 is the Greater Newark Mini Maker Faire in Newark, NJ. For the second year in a row I will be exhibiting some of my wares. Last year my exhibit, titled Urban Lumberjack, was a collection of woodworking projects I created using found wood.
Wood, Wind & Wires is the title of my exhibit this year. I am planning a collection of small projects incorporating three of my interests: woodworking, whirligigs and hobby electronics. Charlie England, a friend and electrical / mechanical engineer, is collaborating on the project to bring everything to life. Thank goodness because I only know enough about electronics to be dangerous.
Together we’ve been busy designing fun projects for the exhibit. Along the way there have been various levels of success. What’s the point of the exhibit? To challenge, to have fun and to explore imagination. Too many things require a reason; it is important to remember to play and sometimes discover something new in nonsense.
Recently I hosted a few creative out of town friends at my home. During their stay they requested suggestions for inspiring places to visit in the area. I’ve intended for some time to compile a list of my favorite museums, unique places and things I have yet to visit [§]. My visiting friends provided the inspiration to compile the list.
Besides failing to write them, my problem with lists falls squarely in forgetting where I’ve saved them. Thus I decided to place the list on my blog in order to easily locate in the future to update and share. The following places have influenced the way I express myself creatively. The memories shaped in these spaces serve as my priceless reference volume.
Woodworking / Furniture Making / Sculpture
- The Wharton Esherick Museum : Malvern, PA USA – The home and studio of sculptor / woodworker Wharton Esherick.
- The Stickley Museum At Craftsman Farms : Morris Plains NJ USA- Craftsman Farms is Gustav Stickley’s early 20th century country estate.
- The Warther Museum : Dover, OH USA – Ernest “Mooney” Warther turned his joy of carving wood and ivory into creations that the Smithsonian has called “priceless works of art”.
- Loretto Chapel Miracle Staircase : Santa Fe, NM USA – Two mysteries surround the spiral staircase in the Loretto Chapel: the identity of its builder and the physics of its construction. [Nearby El Santuario de Chimayo is beautiful as well]
- Rosslyn Chapel : Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland – Famous, in part, by the The Da Vinci Code book, every inch of the structure is beautifully sculpted, inside and out.
- Knoebels Carousel Museum : Elysburg, PA USA – Learn about the history of the carousel in America and see examples of the work of all of the major carousel carvers.
- Southern Highland Craft Guild : Asheville, NC USA – The center showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary crafts of the Southern Appalachians.
- § Timberline Lodge : Timberline Lodge, OR USA- The lodge was constructed between 1936 and 1938 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project during the Great Depression. Workers used large timbers and local stone, and placed intricately carved decorative elements throughout the building.
- Riordan Mansion State Historic Park : Flagstaff, AZ USA – A remarkable example of Arts and Crafts style architecture featuring a rustic exterior of log-slab siding, volcanic stone arches, and hand-split wooden shingles.
- Climbing inside the Statue of Liberty : Liberty Island, New York, NJ USA – Climbing the double-helix spiral staircase and examining the structure of the Statue of Liberty in route to the beautiful view from the crown.
- Lincoln Borglum Museum : Keystone, SD USA – Over 5,200 square feet of interactive exhibits, which detail the history and development of the Mount Rushmore sculpture.
Mechanical / Industrial
- Thomas Edison National Historical Park : West Orange NJ USA – “Where Modern America Was Invented”.
- Guinness Collection of Instruments and Automata : Morristown, NJ USA – A permanent exhibition of the Morris Museum. Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata from The Murtogh D. Guinness Collection.
- § Maillardet’s Automaton : Philadelphia, PA USA – A permanent exhibition of the Franklin Institute. The draftsman automaton of Henri Maillardet, a Swiss mechanician of the 18th century.
- Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet : Rudesheim on Rhine, Germany – A vast collection, dating back three centuries, of fascinating musical instruments that function like computers, ranging from tiny, delicate music boxes to an enormous orchestration.
- Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream : Lake Buena Vista, FL USA – Displays 400 artifacts including: “The Dancing Man” automaton and the original Audio-Animatronics Abraham Lincoln figure from the 1964 New York World’s Fair
- The Longwood Organ : Kennett Square, PA USA – Composed of 10,010 pipes divided into 146 ranks, the Longwood Organ is the largest Aeolian organ ever constructed in a residential setting. [The fountains on the grounds are amazing as well]
Unusual / Interesting
- Koreshan Unity : Estero, FL USA – The colony, known as the Koreshan Unity, believed that the entire universe existed within a giant, hollow sphere.
- Mutter Museum : Philadelphia, PA USA – Displays its beautifully preserved collections of anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments in a nineteenth-century “cabinet museum” setting.
- Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum : Oradell, NJ USA – Hiram Blauvelt hoped to promote the cultural value of wildlife art and the need for conservation of its subjects and their habitats. Galleries are full of wildlife art and taxidermy.
- Ringling Circus Museum : Sarasota, FL USA – Wonder at the 44,000-piece Howard Bros. Circus Model and the Greatest Show on Earth Mural.
- Sun Triangle : NewYork, NY USA – by Athelstan Spilhaus, demonstrates the relationship between the sun and earth at the solstices, with each “leg,” or side, of the sculpture pointing to the sun’s position at solar noon in New York at the solstices.
- Panorama of the City of New York : Queens NY USA – The Panorama was built by a team of more than 100 people working for the great architectural model makers Raymond Lester & Associates over the course of three years for the 1964 World’s Fair.