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Posts Tagged ‘sand castles

“Nothing is built on stone; all is built on sand, but we must build as if the sand were stone”*…

Calvin Seibert (Box Builder on Flickr) explains his commitment to his ephemeral craft…

Building “sandcastles” is a bit of a test. Nature will always be against you and time is always running out. Having to think fast and to bring it all together in the end is what I like about it.

I rarely start with a plan, just a vague notion of trying to do something different each time. Once I begin building and forms take shape I can start to see where things are going and either follow that road or attempt to contradict it with something unexpected.

In my mind they are always mash-ups of influences and ideas. I see a castle, a fishing village, a modernist sculpture, a stage set for the oscars all at once.

When they are successful they don’t feel contained or finished. They become organic machines that might grow and expand. I am always adding just one more bit and if time allowed I wouldn’t stop.

See more of Calvin’s modernist monuments to mutability here.  Then check out SpongeBob SquarePants‘ “Sandcastles in the Sand.”

[TotH to Colossal]

* Jorge Luis Borges

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As we gather a collection of rectangular pails, we might spare a thought for Sir James Dewar; he died on this date in 1923.  A distinguished chemist and physicist (Dewar was an expert on the liquefaction of the “permanent gases,” conducting his work at temperatures approaching absolute zero), he is probably best remembered as the inventor, in 1892, of the “Dewar flask,” a vacuum-insulated vessel that can keep liquids at hot or cold temperatures for long periods.   The first commercial vacuum flasks were made in 1904 by a German company, Thermos GmbH, which patented Dewar’s work (as he had not).  Dewar sued to recover his invention, but lost.  “Thermos” remains a registered trademark in some countries; but– in a 1963 decision that sent chills down spines at Kleenex (Kimberley-Clark) and Xerox– it was declared a genericized trademark in the US,  since it has come to be synonymous with vacuum flasks in general.

Sir James Dewar

source

Written by LW

March 27, 2013 at 1:01 am

The Riddle of the Sands…

With thanks to reader MK for the lead, a look at the Sand Sculpture at Harrison Hot Springs.  For 19 years, proprietors Karen and Bob Bell hosted the World Championships of Sand Sculpture.  For reasons obscure, there was no competition last year; still, the accomplishments of the 157 artists who worked there are nifty to behold.  Consider, e.g., this piece by Carl Jara:

or this one, by Brett Terry:

 

More at the Harrisand gallery.

As we brush off our feet, we might recall that on this date in 1519, Hernán Cortés entered Tenochtitlán (roughly where Mexico City stands today).  Aztec ruler Moctezuma welcomed him with great ceremony, as might befit a returning god…  little did the Aztec chief know…

Criss-crossed with canals, laced with aqueducts and markets, and set beside a grand lake, with floating gardens, Tenochtitlán was “the Venice of the New World”… or, rather, Venice was the mini-Tenochtitlán of Europe– the Mexican city was much larger and grander than that Italian town.

Indeed, according to early Spanish accounts,  Tenochtitlán was unlike the European cities they knew, but more like the ones they had seen in romantic books, as it was neither crowded nor dirty.  Indeed, Tenochtitlán was larger, more beautiful and more complex than any European city at the time. The population of the lake city was 200,000 – 300,000, at a time when London’s numbered about 40,000 and only 65,000 people lived in Paris.  Tenochtitlán’s craftsmen (for instance, its extraordinary goldsmiths) were a match for those in Europe, and the grandeur of the city’s pyramids rivalled that of the Egyptian “wonders of the world.”

Tenochtitlán

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