Improvised Life » nature If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 11 Sep 2014 21:22:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Trees Growing Through Obstacles (Like Us) Wed, 06 Aug 2014 23:00:07 +0000

Fast Forward

Our friend Cara De Silva sent us a link to images of trees growing through concrete, with these words.

…I was startled and grateful when I looked at these beautiful and inspiring photographs.

But not only for the usual reasons. For months now I have been seeing such trees as a metaphor, (more…)

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Ornithology Wall Mural: Proseck’s Practice of Seeing Tue, 05 Aug 2014 17:00:20 +0000

(Video link HERE.)  There is something enchantingly low-tech and intimate about artist James Proseck‘s painstaking process of making this wonderful, public wall mural: painting bird silhouettes a la Field Guide series of nature books. His technique is very interesting and could easily be applied to the walls of any interior or exterior space – bedroom, dining room, patio, pool house, you name it.

We’ve excerpted a saliant chunk of the rather long, slow video. It shows not only Proseck’s technique but delves into his view of what it means to “see” nature, a practice that can be cultivated. (more…)

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How to Think in Haiku (and a Haiku about Grasses) Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:41:12 +0000

Sally Schneider

At the very end of May, we planted grasses in the planter on the Laboratory’s patio. Since then, they’ve grown like wild fire, along with the Morning Glory vine we plunked into their soil to further screen us from our neighbors. We love watching the grasses move in the breeze; they seem to constantly change and catch the light in new ways.  The other day, we read a haiku by Issa that revealed a quality that we hadn’t been conscious of:  (more…)

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Gif of the Week: Spreading Wings Wed, 16 Jul 2014 23:00:28 +0000


If this beauty of of a gif doesn’t show in the post (gifs can be glitchy), click here.


via Hedviggen]]> 0
Makoto Azuma’s Living Walls and Floors Tue, 15 Jul 2014 17:00:39 +0000

We’ve recently come across Japanese botanical artist, Makoto Azuma who works with plants as sculpture and installation. He’s made a career out of using micro-climates as an art form, but we’re particularly taken by one installation which brings botanicals into the home — with walls and floors covered entirely in living plants. (more…)

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GIF of the Week: Fractal View Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:00:27 +0000

If the gif isn’t here, click here to view.

via Holton Rower via Beautiful Decay

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3 Animal Improvs: Inspired, Inspiring, LOL Funny Tue, 08 Jul 2014 23:01:49 +0000

(Video link HERE.) Over the past few weeks, we’ve inadvertently collected three strangely fabulous animal videos and gifs. (We recommend watching with the sound off.) The first is of a guy transporting his goat on a bike…and the goat holding tight and looking like he travels that way all the time.

The second, (more…)

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Ordinary Joy. The Joy of Ordinary and…Linden Tea. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 08:05:34 +0000

Courtesy of Steidl/ Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

On Friday morning, we were blasted out of our normal routine by a call from a friend in dire straits. With that, we abruptly entered another world: of Emergency Room and hospital…different air, vibration, requirements altogether as life and death co-existed (as they always do) but now we felt them clearly.  Priorities reordered instantly: many things had to be set aside in order to help, keep vigil, suss doctors, make food, comfort…we hoped that all else would take care of itself, or others would take care of it…

We posted sporadically and still notices of new subscriptions kept appearing from strangers who seemed to be saying, It’s all fine. Take some time. We’re there!

In the midst of it, going to or coming home from the hospital, we were aware of the scent of linden in the air. (more…)

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15 Seconds of Gorgeous from Tom Ashcraft Tue, 17 Jun 2014 23:00:31 +0000 Tom Ashcraft "Artisan, Naturalist, Electroreceptor and Scientific Instrument Builder" is a man who completely defies categorization. He's got all sorts of gear that constantly monitors and records wondrous things that are going on in the sky all around us. His lovely little film is like watching the night sky out in the country...]]> 0 Tree Slab and Stone Bench + Other Improvs at Camp Mon, 09 Jun 2014 20:00:01 +0000

Sally Schneider

Some time ago, I spent a week at Omega Institute, a non-profit educational retreat center located in Rhinebeck, New York. It’s kind of like a summer camp for adults who want to retreat, take workshops, be in nature, mull over where they are in their lives. Since Omega was originally a summer camp for kids so it’s got that kind of feel. I

Walking the woods one day, I came across a bench someone had made out of a tree slab, stump and some some flat rocks. It allowed whomever came upon it to sit across from a huge anceint tree, or lie down under it, looking up at the branches. Beautiful. Like all improvisations it arose out of a desire or a need, and was made with what was at hand. I, too, found myself improvising in desperation (more…)

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A Portrait of One Tree with A Mighty View Mon, 09 Jun 2014 08:50:44 +0000

Michael Nichols/National Geographic

It took National Geographic photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols 32 days to photograph the President, a 3200-year-old giant sequoia in Sequoia National Park in California.

Using a rig system of ropes, Nichols and his team raised a camera in increments so that they could take shots of every part of the 247-foot-tall, 27-foot-wide giant, one of the largest trees in the world. The final image is stitched together from 126 individual photos, creating the first picture of the President captured entirely in a single frame. (Click on the image twice to embiggen and get a full measure of BIG.)

At over 3,200 years old, the President has stood witness to millennia of history. We spent quite a bit of time trying to fnd out just what exactly those 3,000 years might have entailed (more…)

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What Ancient Looks Like in Trees and People Thu, 05 Jun 2014 08:46:25 +0000

Our friend Chris Eldredge emailed us this image:

A good friend of mine is in Japan researching Bonsai culture. He sent this picture to me today. This tree is over 2000 years old. He spent some time yesterday talking to the man whose family has cared for it for 7 generations.

That same day, we came upon Anastasia Pottinger photographs of people 100+-years-old, nude. From The Dish: (more…)

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Virtual Surfing with Ocean Music Wed, 04 Jun 2014 23:00:45 +0000

Cy Kuckenbaker  compressed one hour’s worth of surfing footage into a two minute film. Ahhhhhh, such a nice break, especially viewed full screen. 

We were going to find some music to go with it, and then realized the music is built in: the ocean’s surf. 


via Design Boom

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The Creative Impulse Behind A Gardener’s 100′ Dragon Hedge Mon, 02 Jun 2014 08:06:13 +0000

Damien McFadden

John Brooker, a 75-year-old retired fan-maker in Norfolk, England, has spent 10 years patiently sculpting a hedge into a 100-foot-long dragon, complete with a massive pair of wings, six sets of legs, flaring nostrils and pointed teeth. We love the dragon and especially love Brooker’s reason for doing it, found in this succinct 50-second clip. With little ado, it totally sums up the creative process. (more…)

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