Son Doong Cave the world’s largest, is located in Vietnam. It was originally found by a local man who discovered the entrance in 1991. He was afraid of the 300 foot drop and the roar that came from below. For 18 more years, it stayed unexplored until it was re-discovered in 2009 by British cave explorers. The name Son Doong means “mountain river”. The cave was created 2-5 million years ago by a river whose source is still unknown. The cave is so big it contains a jungle and you could fit a 40 story building inside.
Where the limestone was weak, the ceiling collapsed creating huge skylights. Thousands of “cave pearls” sit untouched in Son Doong. These were formed over hundreds of years when dripping water created layers of calcite that build up around grains of sand.
Vietnam has a very difficult terrain, and the cave is far out of the way. It’s totally covered in jungle, and you can’t locate anything on Google Earth. A team from the British Cave Research Association, who first explored Son Doong, will be returning to find out more of the cave’s mysteries.
A tour company called Oxalis, is running trial tours of the cave and accepting sign-ups for real six-day tours to take place next year. Ropes and harness are needed to get inside Son Doong, and any visitors will need to rappel 260 feet to reach the cave floor. Tourists will explore the cavern by day and sleep on the cave’s sandy beaches at night.
Artist Ed Fairburn has some very odd habits. Once as a bored 15-year-old, during a long school break, he glued a stamp on a slice of toast and mailed it as a postcard. Since then, he has used the postal system as an alternative gallery space, although his talents have outgrown the mailbox. His most current work has him bringing new life to a series of maps. Fairburn seems to prefer the kind of art that’s easy to fold away, possibly because it makes them easier to put into a mailbox.
Ed Fairburn is a Welsh artist, who has the ability to combine the geography of facial features with the geography of the earth. Combining the two has a completely natural feel. built and natural echo the human form. Like a sculptor, Fairburn uses patterns to cut away unnecessary details showing form in a new way.
Today we’re living in a new age of map making, with interactive, electronic mapping technology that gives us real time detail. But it is nice to be reminded that, despite the benefits of this Google-era reality, maps can speak to more than how to get from one place to another.
From old books that people no longer want, Daniel Lai creates art with several mediums in varied styles and subject matter, bringing new life to old paper. The artist, also known as Kenjio was born in Malaysia, moved to the United States in 2000, and is now living in Tennessee.
Each book sculpture is made by folding the paper to create a fan effect and adding a clay figure of a man. Each of the folded paper sculptures look like a large flower. The figure is then added to suggest a moment of thought. His series of “Thinker” sculptures echoes Rodin’s “The Thinker”
These literary sculptures show the need for knowledge and the limits time gives us to gain that knowledge.
A road winding to the top of a North Carolina mountain is the entrance to Oz, a 1970s theme park that closed less than 10 years after it opened. Back when it started, the Land of Oz would attract up to 20,000 visitors a day, but now the Yellow Brick Road is missing some bricks, and the Wicked Witch’s castle is empty.
Grover Robbins developed the Beech Mountain theme park as a way of attracting families to the resort town. Robbins never lived to see his masterpiece, dying at the age of 50 of bone cancer only six months before the park was complete. The park opened on June 15, 1970 with Debbie Reynolds making an appearance, along with her daughter, Carrie Fisher. In its first summer 400,000 visitors came to the Land of Oz.
The Yellow Brick Road wound its way through the park, leading tourists to a replica Emerald City (destroyed in a fire), Dorothy’s house, the castle of the Wicked Witch and the Munchkin village all accurately recreated on over 450 acres.
After a decline in amusement park visitors in the 1970s and a lack of modernization and updates in the park itself, the Land of Oz closed in 1980. The park was left to vandals and decay, but there was enough interest in its restoration that it was eventually restored as a private garden in the Eagle Mountain community built at that property near the top of Beech Mountain.
The park does open to the public one week-end a year in the beginning of October.
This surreal-looking ice cave is located on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia. With very little snow, and a hot summer huge snow melts occured. As a result, a passage was formed in the snow was leading to the cave formed underneath.
At the entrance, the ceiling is thin enough for light to break through giving unique effects. The colored lights aren’t a computer trick, but are the result of sunlight streaming through the ice into the hidden world below. When you get further away from the entrance, the arch of the cave becomes thicker, and less sunlight comes through it, but you can still see unreal spans of form and color.
The snow caves of were formed by hot springs flowing from a volcano. The Kamchatka Peninsula, in the far east of Russia, is a region of extraordinary natural beauty with large symmetrical volcanoes, lakes, raging rivers and breathtaking coastline.
(photos by Denis Budko, Marc Szeglat, Michael Zelensky and xflo:w)
American artist Lisa Nilsson creates anatomical cross sections of the human body using rolled strips of paper, a technique known as quilling or paper filigree. Quilling is a time consuming process in which paper is wound tightly into small rolls of different colors and then positioned to become works of art. Nilsson is able to choose exactly the right material to imitate the organic structures making each piece appear as real cross-sections of humans and animals.
The construction is done with Japanese paper and the gilded edges of old books. Quilling was first practiced by Renaissance nuns and monks who made artistic use of the gilded edges of worn out bibles, and later by 18th century ladies who made artistic use of lots of free time.