Monday, March 22, 2010

Recycled Forest

I love artist, Yuken Teruya's work in which he transforms everyday objects (like toilet paper tubes and Happy Meal Bags) into intricate vignettes. I also thought it fit in nicely with our series of posts about the creative reuse of cardboard.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christina Katerina and the Box

I can't write about cardboard box creations without mentioning one of my favorite books, Christina Katerina and the Boxby Patricia Lee Gauch.

When Christina's family gets a new refrigerator, she gets a world of possibilities from the box it came in. The story follows Christina and her friend Fats, as they transform the box from a castle to a secret clubhouse to a race car to a summer mansion where they throw a lavish ball for their stuffed animals and dolls. The box is finally damaged beyond repair when Fats decides to wash it off with a hose. Fortunately, Fats' family just got a new washer and dryer...

The simple line drawings, by Doris Burn (who also wrote and illustrated the wonderfully imaginative Andrew Henry's Meadow, another favorite of mine) provide lots of inspiration for box creations.

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Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year 2010

Photograph by Toby Melville

Wishing you and your family the best for 2010!

Check out more celebrations from around the world on the The Big Picture.

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Todd Oldham's House of Cards

I love this idea from designer Todd Oldham's book, Kid Made Modern, inspired by the Eames House of Cards. Not only is it a unique take on the classic cardboard box house, but it provides lots of "canvases" for kids creativity and can be reconfigured again and again.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Max's Jet Box

I knew when I walked into Max Gibbons' house for a portrait party that his family was hosting, I had found a friend. Upon seeing the jet plane that Max had built out of cardboard with his dad, I was reminded of the hours of fun I have had racing down the track, soaring through the sky and sailing across the ocean in cardboard boxes, first as a child and now with my children. I don't think any of my creations have been as impressive as Max's, but in my imagination (and in the imagination of my children) they were the real thing.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Not a Box

What better way to start a series of posts about the creative reuse of boxes than with a book about a rabbit with a box and an active imagination.

Not a Box is a simple and engaging book (think Harold and the Purple Crayon) that encourages imagination and thinking outside the box.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Save the cardboard

Grown-ups often joke that children like the box more than the gift that came in it. While this is certainly not always the case, an empty box holds enormous potential for imaginative play and creative art projects. If your home is anything like ours, you have a bunch of new cardboard sitting around - from online orders, gifts sent by distant relatives, empty tubes from wrapping paper, gift boxes, etc.

With this in mind, I will be posting lots of creative reuse ideas for all of your cardboard boxes, tubes, bags, and more over the next few weeks. So, before putting your cardboard in the recycling, save it for a little creative reuse first.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Giving Gifts

Photograph by: Lynn Johnson

Words of wisdom from Mister Rogers:

"If you like to make things out of wood, or sew, or dance, or style people's hair, or dream up stories and act them out, or play the trumpet, or jump rope, whatever you really love to do, and you love that in front of your children, that's going to be a far more important gift than anything you could ever give them wrapped up in a box with ribbons. And what's more: the last thing in the world you have to be is perfect at it. It's the spirit that gives that kind of gift its wings."

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Unique in all the world

My mom used to tease me about how my big toe curved up. Now, as a parent, I understand that it is those unique traits, those one-of-a-kind features that she observed clear back in the quiet moments of my young life, that bonded her to me, and now bonds me to my two children.

I am reminded of the fox's comments in The Little Prince,"to me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys...But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world....I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me...But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat..."
The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

2008 in Pictures

Kartoula, 14, a refugee from Sudan's western Darfur region, enters a distribution centre to receive monthly food rations at Djabal camp near Gos Beida in eastern Chad, June 5, 2008
Photograph by Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

The Big Picture is one of my favorite sites for viewing photojournalism online. Below are links to their look back at the past year in pictures. As Alan Taylor, the editor of The Big Picture, points out "it is difficult to sum up the thousands of stories in just a handful of photographs. It's not the story of 2008, it's certainly not all stories, but as a collection it does show a good portion of what life has been like over the past 12 months."
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Caution: Some images are graphic in nature and are not appropriate for all ages.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let it snow!

Books are a big part of our family's holiday tradition. We pack up most of our Christmas and winter books at the end of the season so that we can rediscover them the next year. I have always been a big fan of pop up books. With the turn of each page a new three dimensional world comes into being.

If you have ever seen Robert Sabuda's intricate pop-up books, you know that they are wonders of engineering and creativity. In addition to several books with Christmas and winter themes, he has created pop up books based on such literary classics as Narnia, Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Mother Goose. He also has a line of boxed gift cards. If you are looking for a last minute gift, I would definitely recommend checking out Sabuda's books.

If you are feeling crafty and want to make your own pop up cards or books, Sabuda's extensive website provides detailed instructions (including photographs of each step) on how to create your own. There are over forty designs including, seasonal holidays, animals, Star Wars characters and more.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Let it snow!

"Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind."
Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, 1925

In my 10-plus years of photographing children, I see similarities to Bentley's passion for photographing snowflakes and mine for photographing children. Children, like snowflakes are each entirely unique and beautiful. Now as a parent of two, I see even more clearly how this beauty is ever changing and melting into new complex and fascinating works of art.

Snowflake Bentley tells the true story of a farm boy who was so fascinated by snowflakes that he made photographing them his life work. Wilson A. Bentley's passion for snowflakes led him to spend 50 years pioneering the scientific study of ice crystals, and developing a technique of microphotography that allowed him to capture the integrate details of snowflakes for others to see. Mary Azarian's beautiful woodcut illustrations for the book won the Caldecott Medal in 1999.

If you want to see some examples of "Snowflake" Bentley's work, Snow Crystals contains more than 2,000 black and white microphotographs of snowflakes by Bentley, graphically demonstrating that each snowflake has its own unique beauty.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Google Life

Children at the Guignol puppet show, Parc de Montsouris, Paris, 1963
Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt

No doubt, looking at the black and white photojournalism in Life magazine when I was a child inspired my future career and the style of my work. Google has a new feature that allows you to search through millions of images from the archives of LIFE magazine. One of my early favorite photographers was (and still is), Alfred Eisenstaedt.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008


I love art created by children (which is one of the reasons I enjoy photographing at preschools - so much art). I find their creativity, and freedom from the "rules", inspiring. All this to say, I was really excited and inspired when I came across the work of photographer Yeondoo Jung whose Wonderland project was inspired by the drawings of children. (via How About Orange)

(Images © Yeondoo Jung)

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