Decadent Pastries Formed From Porcelain and Glass by Shayna Leib

All photos by Eric Tadsen

Glass artist Shayna Leib (previously), like anyone, is deeply attracted to the seductive pull of decadent desserts. Unlike most however, Leib is unable to indulge. Her body reacts to several aspects of puffed pastries and chocolate mouses, causing her to have many severe dietary restrictions. It was this void that pulled her towards the desire to work with the unattainable, to recreate the objects she couldn’t eat.

“This body of work started as a therapeutic exercise in deconstruction and a re-training of the mind to look at dessert as form rather than food,” says Leib in an artist statement about her series Patisserie. “It soon became a technical riddle, and I became a food taxidermist of french pastries.”

To create the glossy sculptures she combines elements of porcelain and glass, utilizing nearly every technique for both to achieve the hyperrealistic quality of each faux dessert. Like a typical French pastry would be rolled, glazed, baked, and trimmed, Leib hot-sculpts, fuses, casts, grinds, throws, and even pipes with a theme-appropriate pastry tube. You can view more of her sweet imitations on her website, Instagram, and Facebook.


An Optical Illusion Tile System Designed by Casa Ceramica

British tile company Casa Ceramica have designed a novel optical illusion flooring system that uses real tiles to create a vertigo-inducing warped floor. The skewed checkerboard floor functions as the entryway to their showroom in Manchester, lending an Alice in Wonderland atmosphere to a generally traditional medium. You can see a couple more photos on their Instagram. (via Laughing Squid)



Embracing Change: Health Scares, Retirement, and Travel

retired travelers posing for a photo
We have such a large community and I love sharing everyone’s story. I think highlighting a variety of perspectives and experiences helps inspire so many of us! This month we’re featuring Donella and her husband. After her husband had a health scare a few years ago, they decided to stop waiting, finally sell their stuff, and head on the road. As more and more adults consider a “nomadic” retirement (especially here in the U.S. where it wasn’t always so common), I wanted to interview them and have them share their advice.

Nomadic Matt: Hi Donella! Thanks for doing this. Tell everyone about yourself!
Donella: We have been raising children and grandkids for the past 30 years in South Florida. Now at 58 years of age, and with my husband retiring at 65, we decided to sell our home and take off to see the world.

I was a divorced single mother of two when I first met my husband, who was working in the construction of the hospital where I was employed. He stalked me for five weeks before getting the courage to ask me out. When he did, he said, “If I like you, I am going to marry you!” That was his proposal, and a few months later we were married. He has been a marvelous provider, father, and grandfather these past 30 years.

Fifteen years into our marriage he suffered renal failure, and the doctors did not expect he had enough life left in him to get a transplant. They asked me to prepare for his funeral, which I did. It was a nine-year journey, until we got a call late one night in 2008 that they had a kidney available for him. Since that time you would never know by looking at him that he had ever been sick a day in his life. It was truly a miracle!

retired travelers

How did you get into travel?
For several years now, I have had the urge to travel, which has been a dream of mine before marriage and children. My husband was never keen on the idea until one afternoon last year he said, “Let’s do this!” The next day I began to sell, donate, and give away (almost) EVERYTHING so that the day we moved we wouldn’t need any trucks. I called a realtor, and our home sold within 24 hours for more than we were asking. We were able to drive away with everything we owned in our two vehicles. My husband was a bit shocked how quickly it all happened once he agreed to go!

Did you and your husband take a lot of trips before this big one?
Over the past 30 years we only went to visit family in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Delaware, though we also explored areas on the way, such as Savannah and Charleston. I visited Texas often to see my brother, Puerto Rico to see our son, and California to see our daughter. We are going to continue to visit family as we explore the country and travel abroad but take more time to see things that we have only read about. We have learned so much about the world in travel blogs, and we want to experience that.

a retired couple posing

Tell me about your current trip. After you sold your house, what happened? Where did you go?
As soon as our house was sold we found a beautiful beach bungalow in Juno, Florida, directly across from the beach. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever imagine ourselves being able to live so close to the ocean. We saved just enough things to use to live here. We’ve basically done what we learned online from the nomadic community: living with less and enjoying our surroundings more. Our lease here is only until the end of the year; in the meantime we are getting our van prepared for full-time camping around the country next year.

This past March we took a long trip to Andalucia in Spain, which was the first time my husband had ever traveled to Europe. We went to enjoy but also to look into living there the next time we visit. We will do basically the same thing: find a small space so that we are able to take time to travel to other countries as well.

What inspired this current life change?
My daughter told me that my granddaughter was talking about traveling when she grew up. In an instant it brought back all the memories of my own plans at that same age. That rekindled the spark in me from my own childhood. Traveling was the way I grew up with my own parents, who were nomads in the ’50s and ’60s. I grew up in North Africa, Europe, Britain, and the United States all before the age of 10. My father continued traveling the United States until he passed away. My mother continues to travel the US and Europe while residing in Spain. It’s in my roots, and I long to visit new places and revisit other places that I have seen as a child. Sharing this with my husband seems like a dream come true.

retired couple traveling

Did people say you were crazy when you said you were setting off to travel the world?
We were surprised at how many people have been so excited to watch us start this journey. There are also people who look at us with that deer-in-the-headlights look, because they can’t imagine living life without their homes and their stuff. I get that, and don’t really believe this is for everyone, but it is definitely for us.

Has your husband’s health been an issue at all? What precautions do you have to take?
My husband is in good health now but he still needs blood work routinely and anti-rejection medicine. We decided to find a different doctor, who would be more accessible in case of emergency. She will be able to order blood work wherever we are and get the results. We will continue to return here to South Florida once a year for his follow-up. When traveling to Europe, we got travel insurance, and the cost was reasonable.

a retired couple traveling the world

Is it easy to see a doctor overseas? How do you handle medication? Have you ever had to get a prescription filled on the road?
Our doctor here in the States made sure my husband had all the medications needed for our trip. We contacted a doctor in Spain who said they would be able to write prescriptions if needed. Between the two doctors we felt my husband was in good hands, along with the travel insurance we purchased for our trip there. We haven’t had to fill any prescriptions while traveling, but our doctor says it would not be a problem.

What are your future travel plans?
Once my husband’s work commitments are complete, we plan to leave here and live on the road. In the meantime, this fall we are planning a road trip through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Next spring we are planning a trip up the East Coast from Florida to Nova Scotia. Then we will travel across the northern states until we reach Chicago and take Route 66 west.

We plan to return to Spain, once we finish up the trips through the United States. We hope to have our kids and grandkids join us for a visit, too. Europe is cheap enough to find a small flat to reside in and use their public transportation to see other countries.

retired couple living abroad

How do you keep to a budget?
We have a budget in which we divide all our costs into home, auto, entertainment, food, gifts, medical, miscellaneous, personal, and travel. I keep envelopes with receipts for each item and calculate what we are spending in each area by month. We decide where we need to make adjustments and keep within our budget. It helps to determine if we have a realistic budget or not. Everyone’s priorities are different, but it is good to be able to see where your money is going routinely. It is the best way to determine how much we are able to spend in for our next travel adventure.

Young people are traveling like this and have wonderful advice on how to make it work, as we have read on your blog. Being retired, we have a pension for financial support, but we’ve found ideas for all types of work from young bloggers if more funding is needed.

We spend a lot of time reading and researching on the internet for great advice from people who are already living this lifestyle. We now plan smarter and more cost efficiently because of the knowledge that we have received and feel confident that we are going to be able to do more than we ever dreamed possible!

What advice do you have for travelers your age?
Some of the best advice we have received have been from all the young bloggers online such as yourself, Matt. We learned to plan our trips for dates that are less money. Our first trip to Europe cost us less than one of our family trips here in the States!

Another important travel lesson has been not to get our information from news media but instead to rely on the US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. They don’t sensationalize what is going on in each country but give you the information you need in order to make good decisions.

Become the Next Success Story

One of my favorite parts about this job is hearing people’s travel stories. They inspire me, but more importantly, they also inspire you. I travel a certain way but there are many ways to fund your trips and travel the world. I hope these stories show you that there is more than one way to travel and that it is within your grasp to reach your travel goals. Here are more examples of people who made their travel dreams a reality:

P.S. Looking to step up your travel photography? We are hosting a Q&A with professional photographer Laurence Norah on October 29th, so mark your calendars!

The post Embracing Change: Health Scares, Retirement, and Travel appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

New Paper Textured Editorial Illustrations by Eiko Ojala

With a minimalist approach to editorial work that blends silhouettes and shadows, Estonian illustrator Eiko Ojala has become a staple of major newspapers and magazines as of late including the New York Times, The Washington Post, Wired, and New Scientist. His distinctive style involves the look and feel of paper cut-outs to achieve surprising depth, both visually and conceptually, in clear statements perfect for the limited space of editorial design. Seen here are a collection of illustrations from the last year or so, but you can see much more on Behance. (via Abudeezo)

Origami Inception: Paper Artist Folds Four Works From a Single Sheet of Paper

Vietnamese paper artist Nguyen Hung Cuong (previously) just unveiled this new origami work titled “Fly High, Dreamers!” that incorporates four sequential objects—a hand holding a crane with a rider also holding a smaller crane—each connected to the other, all from a single uncut sheet of paper. “I created this work to show my deep gratitude to origami community,” Cuong shares. “The boy is myself, and the hand represents all origami creators who inspired me, making my dream come true.” The piece is on view at the Jaffa Museum in Tel Aviv as part of the current Paper Heroes show.

Basketball Courts Transformed Into Large-Scale Artworks by Project Backboard

Project Backboard began in 2014 when Daniel Peterson, a former college basketball player and employee of the Memphis Grizzlies, noticed the neglected state of several basketball courts scattered around the city. To revive these spaces, Peterson began to refurbish the courts with small improvements—filling in cracks or repainting the basic lines needed for a regulation game.

As Peterson began updating courts across Memphis, his interest widened to include ways he could not only improve his local courts, but generate excitement in surrounding neighborhoods for their public parks. After learning local artist Anthony Lee was already designing an installation for a nearby court, he partnered with the artist to paint the park’s gray asphalt with bright blue and pink designs. The collaboration marked the beginning of Project Backboard, while also inspiring Peterson work with local artists who were already engaged within a chosen community.

“I prefer to work with artists who have a connection to the park or city where we are working,” Peterson told Colossal. “Having the artist on site is very helpful for installation and, especially if it is a city I am not as familiar with, a local artist can create a work with more meaning and context. That said, there are artists I have worked with in the past that I would love to work with again if the right opportunity comes along!”

After reviving several basketball courts in Memphis, Project Backboard has moved on to produce projects in St. Louis and Los Angeles. Currently the organization is working with cities along the East Coast, specifically Baltimore and New Rochelle, New York. To explore other updated courts, and how you might be able to collaborate on an installation in your own city, visit Project Blackboard’s website or Instagram. (via Artsy and the National Endowment for the Arts)

A New Book Filled With Interactive Paper Pop-up Gadgets by Kelli Anderson

Kelli Anderson, a self-described artist/designer and tinkerer has just released her long-awaited book, This Book is a Planetarium. Anderson, who is based in Brooklyn, works in a variety of digital and analog media but is best known for her use of paper in the form of educational apps and animations, as well as interactive toolsThis Book is a Planetarium features several different paper gadgets designed by Anderson, all of which are fully functional.

From the namesake planetarium to a musical instrument, message decoder, and spiralgraph, Anderson also includes readers in the sense of wonderment by offering detailed explanations of how each gadget works. In choosing to compile these tools into a book format, Anderson told Colossal, “Pop-up books are fairly unique among analog experiences in that they engage the reader with both text and experience—and can therefore simultaneously demonstrate and explain a concept. My intention was to create a memorable way to learn foundational physics concepts—especially for artists, children, and people who think with their hands more than they think in numbers.”

As a designer who works with one hand in the digital world and one hand in the tactile world, Anderson described to Colossal a flurry of literal back-and-forth between paper and glue and equations and schematics. Most gadgets started as rough physical prototypes followed by researching mathematical refinements to make them work. In deciding which tools made the cut for the book, the designer created 25 prototypes and evaluated them by the criteria of pop-up-aesthetics, educational value, production feasibility, ease-of-use for the user, and utility. Anderson describes her motivation for the book:

I’m really interested in learning about how the world works through my projects—whether it is the physical world or the world of aesthetic signs and signifiers. The lo-fi devices in the book may be less functional than their digital counterparts, but they reveal structural forces in our world that are otherwise hard to see in isolation. At their fundamental core, digital experiences are always made of rules built by humans. With the book, I hope that I can prove that possibility hides in even the most mundane materials—and that you do not need a specialized education, math genius, or sophisticated equipment to tap into it.

This Book is a Planetarium is available in The Colossal Shop.