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17 Wonderfully Sweet Watermelon Carvings

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Flickr

Watermelon is delicious—and a great material for food artists. In fact, watermelon carving is a traditional Japanese art form known as Mukimono. Here are a few amazing sculptures made with nothing more than watermelon and perhaps a few other fruits as well.

1. An Introductory Flower

Here is a beautiful, albeit rather traditional, watermelon carving to provide a context for what Mukimono designs tend to look like. Image courtesy of David Sim.

2. Every Rose Has Its Rind

There are a lot of watermelon roses out there, but these fruit flowers covered in rind vines present a whole new level of intricate beauty to the craft. Photograph courtesy of Andre Pan.

3. Ssssseriously Skilled

If you have a fear of snakes, you’d probably want to stay away from the decoration Restaurant Jalisco on the Mexican Rivera put up for their Asian-themed buffet night. Fortunately, Leonora Enking was brave enough to take this picture anyway.

4. Green Elephants On Parade

This elephant carving is particularly impressive because the detail is carved in so shallowly and subtly. Flickr user Caroline spotted this masterpiece at the 2009 Thai Festival in Greenwich.

5. Green Gorillas Go!

This gorilla’s carving is similarly shallow, but the use of the white flesh to create a silhouette of his facial details gives him an impressive and incredible level of detail. Putting him on a plate filled with foods a gorilla would actually eat seems like a final fitting touch. Image courtesy of Michael Fienen.

6. Birds Of A Flavor

This is one example of what can be achieved with watermelon peels and another fruit—in this case, daikon radish. Pairing the two creates an impressive combination of colors, shapes, and textures. This impressive creation was made by Flickr user wtimm9.

7. Turning Trash Into Tasty Treasure

Why use floral bouquets to spruce up your dining room when you can instead add a little flair with food scraps such as watermelon rinds and pineapple crowns? Let this photo by Greg McComsey serve as inspiration for your next dinner centerpiece.

8. Chief Pineapple Leaf

Pineapple tops and carved radishes provide a perfect accent to this carving of a Native American complete with a sweet headdress. Flickr user Jim H. spotted this fantastic creation on a 2011 Carnival Cruise.

9. Why So Serious?

If you prefer to have a centerpiece that will make your guests smile—out of discomfort—then this goblin-esque watermelon man discovered by Flickr user MC would be a delightfully jarring centerpiece for any dinner party.

10. Gorton’s Watermelon Sticks?

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help but see the mascot from Gorton’s Fish Sticks when I look at this watermelon carving Quinn Dombrowski spotted on a cruise.

11. Yarr Me Matey

Bob Cotter spotted this fantastic pirate watermelon portrait while eating at a buffet.

12. Sing A Sweet Siren Song

Every pirate needs a mermaid to tempt him. Here’s one in fruit form spotted by Flickr user Patty on a tour of a Crown Princess cruise ship.

13. A Bumpkin Not On A Pumpkin

Apparently, country bumpkins are even well known in Turkey, where Matt Shalvatis spotted this watermelon, which was carved as part of a Halloween festival. Why watermelon instead of pumpkins? Well, why not?

15. Dancing In The Rind

While the majority of watermelon carvings feature one specific subject, this beautiful design, photographed by Brandi Korte at a friend’s wedding, stands out because it actually depicts a whole romantic scene.

16. Screaming For More

Most watermelon carvings are fairly serene, but this whimsical Sweet Street Preacher, photographed by Flickr user nodigio, is anything but.

17. Holy Scrapped Fruit Batman!

When it’s a geek watermelon you need, the Denver Comic Con has you covered. Or, at least, they did at the most recent convention, as evidenced by Flickr user M A Lurig.

18. Just In Time For Football Season


This glorious gator was carved by Adam Potash in support of the famous Florida Gators. Image courtesy Christopher Haugh.

As long as this warm weather lasts, you should keep seeing affordable watermelons in the stores. So if you ever want to try your hand at a new art form, just buy a melon, start to carve your masterpiece, and don’t be too disappointed with any failures—after all, that just means you get to eat the tasty fruit inside!

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Art
5 Things You Might Not Know About Ansel Adams

You probably know Ansel Adams—who was born on February 20, 1902—as the man who helped promote the National Park Service through his magnificent photographs. But there was a lot more to the shutterbug than his iconic, black-and-white vistas. Here are five lesser-known facts about the celebrated photographer.

1. AN EARTHQUAKE LED TO HIS DISTINCTIVE NOSE.

Adams was a four-year-old tot when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck his hometown. Although the boy managed to escape injury during the quake itself, an aftershock threw him face-first into a garden wall, breaking his nose. According to a 1979 interview with TIME, Adams said that doctors told his parents that it would be best to fix the nose when the boy matured. He joked, "But of course I never did mature, so I still have the nose." The nose became Adams' most striking physical feature. His buddy Cedric Wright liked to refer to Adams' honker as his "earthquake nose.

2. HE ALMOST BECAME A PIANIST.

Adams was an energetic, inattentive student, and that trait coupled with a possible case of dyslexia earned him the heave-ho from private schools. It was clear, however, that he was a sharp boy—when motivated.

When Adams was just 12 years old, he taught himself to play the piano and read music, and he quickly showed a great aptitude for it. For nearly a dozen years, Adams focused intensely on his piano training. He was still playful—he would end performances by jumping up and sitting on his piano—but he took his musical education seriously. Adams ultimately devoted over a decade to his study, but he eventually came to the realization that his hands simply weren't big enough for him to become a professional concert pianist. He decided to leave the keys for the camera after meeting photographer Paul Strand, much to his family's dismay.

3. HE HELPED CREATE A NATIONAL PARK.

If you've ever enjoyed Kings Canyon National Park in California, tip your cap to Adams. In the 1930s Adams took a series of photographs that eventually became the book Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. When Adams sent a copy to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, the cabinet member showed it to Franklin Roosevelt. The photographs so delighted FDR that he wouldn't give the book back to Ickes. Adams sent Ickes a replacement copy, and FDR kept his with him in the White House.

After a few years, Ickes, Adams, and the Sierra Club successfully convinced Roosevelt to make Kings Canyon a national park in 1940. Roosevelt's designation specifically provided that the park be left totally undeveloped and roadless, so the only way FDR himself would ever experience it was through Adams' lenses.

4. HE WELCOMED COMMERCIAL ASSIGNMENTS.

While many of his contemporary fine art photographers shunned commercial assignments as crass or materialistic, Adams went out of his way to find paying gigs. If a company needed a camera for hire, Adams would generally show up, and as a result, he had some unlikely clients. According to The Ansel Adams Gallery, he snapped shots for everyone from IBM to AT&T to women's colleges to a dried fruit company. All of this commercial print work dismayed Adams's mentor Alfred Stieglitz and even worried Adams when he couldn't find time to work on his own projects. It did, however, keep the lights on.

5. HE AND GEORGIA O'KEEFFE WERE FRIENDS.

Adams and legendary painter O'Keeffe were pals and occasional traveling buddies who found common ground despite their very different artistic approaches. They met through their mutual friend/mentor Stieglitz—who eventually became O'Keeffe's husband—and became friends who traveled throughout the Southwest together during the 1930s. O'Keeffe would paint while Adams took photographs.

These journeys together led to some of the artists' best-known work, like Adams' portrait of O'Keeffe and a wrangler named Orville Cox, and while both artists revered nature and the American Southwest, Adams considered O'Keeffe the master when it came to capturing the area. 

“The Southwest is O’Keeffe’s land,” he wrote. “No one else has extracted from it such a style and color, or has revealed the essential forms so beautifully as she has in her paintings.”

The two remained close throughout their lives. Adams would visit O'Keeffe's ranch, and the two wrote to each other until Adams' death in 1984.

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Dan Bell
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Design
A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style
Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park
Dan Bell

Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kottke.org reports.

The project began in September 2017, when Bell posted his own hand-drawn version of a Middle Earth map online. He received such a positive response that he decided to apply the fantasy style to real world locations. He has completed 11 out of the UK’s 15 parks so far. Once he finishes, he hopes to tackle the U.S. National Park system, too. (He already has Yellowstone National Park down.)

Bell has done various other maps in the same style, including ones for London and Game of Thrones’s Westeros, and he commissions, in case you have your own special locale that could use the Tolkien treatment. Check out a few of his park maps below.

A close-up of a map for Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park in central England
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Cairngorms National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Lake District National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Lake District National Park in England
Dan Bell

You can buy prints of the maps here.

[h/t Kottke.org]

All images by Dan Bell

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