Beautiful Sunday: Breathing life into paper

I came across this amazing art on the Cornell magazine, Living Birds, last week in a story featuring Toronto paper sculptor Calvin Nicholls. By laying down paper layer-by-layer, feather-by-feather, Nicholls sculpts birds that emerge from the page in a burst of light and shadow. Nicholls also sculpts other animals including a dozing grizzly, a prickly hedgehog, and a tiger emerging from the grass …and the frame. Read more here and scroll down to the video…

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Wednesday Wordcraft: The Urban Wild

I was texting my family this morning with clips from our trail cams, showing them the fox and the raccoon that visited overnight. My sister replied, “Foxy came through our yard this morning too! Scared Flash!” Flash is her cat.  I joked back that she has as much wildlife in her suburban Maryland yard as I do on my five acres of wooded lakefront fifteen miles from town. “We have 7 deer in the back yard.  Good grief.”…

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We’ve got cams!

In December 2017, we installed four Nest outdoor security cameras on our house. This was partly for security reasons — to warn us when someone comes up our driveway; to see who’s at the front door; and to keep an eye on the house when we’re away. But more exciting was the idea that we might catch wildlife on the cams. It’s hard to know what you have in your neighbourhood if you only count…

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Beautiful Sunday: Endless Forms of Science Art

Two weeks ago, hundreds of artists around the world took Twitter by storm during the annual Sciart Tweetstorm. These illustrators, cartoonists, jewelry and clothing designers, painters, sculptors, photographers, and more have one thing in common – a passion for science! So today’s Beautiful Sunday post is a selection of pieces from the Sciart Tweetstorm that caught my eye. I won’t call them “favourites” because there’s simply no way to pick favourites from such a diverse…

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Taste of the Week: Writers on writing

I never get tired of listening to writers talk about their craft. I don’t care if they are novelists, non-fiction authors, essayists, poets, journalists, columnists or screenwriters. I’m not talking about “how to” books on writing. No, I want to hear the story behind the story — why they wrote this particular piece, what it means to them, how they approached the storytelling, who they interviewed, what went well, what didn’t, and why they thought…

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Illusuak: A study in curation

Does it feel like I’ve been working this  Inuit cultural centre project for eons? It was really a huge endeavour. We kicked it off in June 2016 and my role wrapped up in October 2018 when the final text panels were signed off. Unfortunately, I can’t show it to you yet because the centre hasn’t had its official opening. But I’ve seen photos and the place is just gorgeous. It’s the most beautiful gallery I’ve…

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Beautiful Sunday: The Story of Flowers

I wasn’t sure I was going to resurrect my Beautiful Sunday series, but when this crossed my desk this morning, I realized I had to. There’s just too much beauty in the crossover between art and nature to let this go. This gorgeous animated film (linked below) is designed to teach students about the biology of flowers — life in the soil, pollinators, the spread of seeds through the air and the glorious eruption of…

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Wednesday Wordcraft: Old books, old friends

An occasional weekly post on writing, reading, books and other wordy topics. I probably have some five hundred books, give or take. Many are reference or background books on topics I’ve written about. Few are novels because I tend to borrow those and give them away. Lots are by writers whose prose I just can’t get enough of– the books I pull out over and over to reread portions for their beauty and inspiration. But…

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2019: A Fresh Start

I’m back! How do you like the new digs? I always feel like February is the middle of winter, but here we are, only a month from the spring equinox. The February weather has been all over the place. It started with the polar vortex, chased that with freezing rain and ice, and then last week dumped a load of fresh powder on us. When I got up Friday morning it was 40F and raining…

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Why yes, I did do a species inventory of my Christmas ornaments

  I’ve had a lot of years to collect Christmas tree ornaments. Looking at the tree this year, I realize I have amassed quite a biodiversity of animals. So, what’s a naturalist to do, but inventory them? Because many are mere suggestions of animals, we can’t get down to species for most of them, but I’ll give classification my best shot. Ready? Alright, let’s go — Kingdom – Animalia Phylum – Echinodermata Class – Echinoidea…

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