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Montana Bale Trail
Montana Bale Trail

The Art of Hay Sculpture

Montana Bale Trail
Montana Bale Trail

In the fall, a blogger's heart turns to thoughts of autumn decorations. Some folks go a little further than others in that department. Farmers and those with access to plenty of room and lots of hay have fun building large sculptures for the amusement of others. Here are just a few of those artful bales.

Snugburys Ice Cream

Every summer, Snugburys Ice Cream Farm in Hurleston, England, builds a giant hay sculpture and dedicates it to a different charity. In 2013, that sculpture was a Dalek from the Doctor Who series, to celebrate the show's 50th anniversary. It's 35 feet tall, and contains six tons of straw and five tons of steel. The sculpture ties in with the sale of the "Da-LICK" cone, with a percentage of sales going to Cancer Research UK.

Bauman Chiropractic Hay Bale Art Challenge

Photograph from Hay Bales for Charity Facebook page.

Bauman Chiropractic in Panama City, Florida, has a tradition of using hay bales in their fall decorations, which became more elaborate and fanciful over time. This tradition developed into a competition at the Bay County Fair called the Bauman Chiropractic Hay Bale Art Challenge. Charity groups are encouraged to enter a piece of art made of hay bales. All entering charities will receive $50, another $25 if they clean up after themselves, and more money if the public judges their artwork among the winners. The contest is this Saturday. The space travelers shown here are hay bales from 2011.

Killington Hay Festival

Photograph by Flickr user Sherburne Memorial Library.

The annual Killington Hay Festival in Killington, Vermont, features giant hay sculptures, up to 30 feet tall! The festival runs from Labor Day to Columbus Day, in order to attract the many tourists who come to Vermont to see the fall colors.

What The Hay

Photographs are from the Montana Bale Trail.

The premier event of the Montana Bale Trail is the What The Hay contest. Serious farmers show off their hay and their imaginations in creating the clever hay sculptures, most using a pun involving hay. You can see those sculptures along the 22 mile route from Hobson to Utica to Windham in Montana. This year's First Place winner was "The Wizard of Straws" by Clint Carr

"Despicabale Me 2" by Judy Mikkelsen won Fourth Place and the online voting award.

Third Place went to "Hay-Bomina-Bale Snowman" by Nate Carr. See more of this year's entries and winners from previous years as well. 

Makin' Hay

Photograph by Flickr user mlhradio.

Artist Tom Otterness exhibited giant hay sculptures in 2009 near Mission San Juan, Texas. The entire work was titled "Makin' Hay," and featured several giant hay people making more hay bales.

See even more hay bale art here.

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Art
Art Lovers in England, Rejoice: France's Famous Bayeux Tapestry is Coming to the UK
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

One of France’s most prized national treasures, the Bayeux Tapestry, is officially heading to England for exhibition. The loan will mark the first time the fragile 11th century work has left France in nearly 1000 years, according to The Washington Post.

French president Emmanuel Macron announced news of the loan in mid-January, viewed by some as a gesture to smooth post-Brexit relations with Britain, ABC reports. The tapestry depicts the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, a historically important event replete with guts and glory.

Stretching for 210 feet, the Bayeux Tapestry’s nine embroidered panels tell the tale of Harold, Earl of Wessex, who swore an oath to support the right of William, Duke of Normandy, to the English throne once King Edward (a.k.a. Edward the Confessor) died without an heir. But after Edward's funeral at Westminster Abbey, Harold breaks his oath to William so he could be crowned king instead. Believing he was the rightful ruler, William—today remembered as William the Conqueror—decides to wage war and ultimately defeats Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

The historical narrative has endured for centuries, but the tapestry's provenance has been lost to time. Experts think that the artwork may have been created in England, shortly after the Battle of Hastings, although it’s unclear who designed and embroidered the scenes. Its original owner, Bishop Odo of Bayeux, the half-brother of William the Conqueror, may have commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry. He became Earl of Kent after the Battle of Hastings, and this new title would have afforded him access to skilled artisans, The Guardian explains.

The Bayeux Tapestry is currently on display in the town of Bayeux in Normandy. It likely won’t leave France until 2020, after conservators ensure that it’s safe to move the artwork. According to The Telegraph, the tapestry might be be displayed at the British Museum in 2022.

[h/t The Washington Post]

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Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
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Design
This Snow Sculpture of a Car Was So Convincing Cops Tried to Write It a Ticket
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.

Winter is a frustrating time to be on the road, but one artist in Montreal has found a way to make the best of it. As CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports, his snow sculpture of a DeLorean DMC-12 was so convincing that even the police were fooled.

Simon Laprise of L.S.D Laprise Simon Designs assembled the prank car using snow outside his home in Montreal. He positioned it so it appeared to be parked along the side of the road, and with the weather Montreal has been having lately, a car buried under snow wasn’t an unusual sight.

A police officer spotted the car and was prepared to write it a ticket before noticing it wasn’t what it seemed. He called in backup to confirm that the car wasn’t a car at all.

Instead of getting mad, the officers shared a good laugh over it. “You made our night hahahahaha :)" they wrote on a fake ticket left on the snow sculpture.

The masterpiece was plowed over the next morning, but you can appreciate Laprise’s handiwork in the photos below.

Snow sculpture.

Snow sculpture of car.

Snow sculpture of car.

Note written in French.

[h/t WGCL-TV]

All images courtesy of Simon Laprise.

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