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Montana Bale Trail

The Art of Hay Sculpture

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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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Fox Photos, Stringer, Getty Images
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Art
Winston Churchill’s Final Painting Is Going to Auction for the First Time
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Fox Photos, Stringer, Getty Images

While serving as an influential statesman and writing Nobel Prize-winning histories, Winston Churchill also found time to paint. Now, The Telegraph reports that the final painting the former British prime minister ever committed to canvas is heading to the auction block.

The piece, titled The Goldfish Pool at Chartwell, depicts the pond at Churchill’s home in Kent, England, which has been characterized as his “most special place in the world.” A few years after the painting was finished, he passed away in 1965 and it fell into the possession of his former bodyguard, Sergeant Edmund Murray. Murray worked for Churchill for the 15 years leading up to the prime minister's death and often assisted with his painting by setting up his easel and brushes. After decades in the Murray family, Churchill’s final painting will be offered to the public for the first time at Sotheby’s Modern & Post-War British Art sale next month.

Winston Churchill's final painting.
Sotheby's

Churchill took up painting in the 1920s and produced an estimated 544 artworks in his lifetime. He never sold any of his art, but The Goldfish Pool at Chartwell shows that the hobby was an essential part of his life right up until his last years.

When the never-before-exhibited piece goes up for sale on November 21, it’s expected to attract bids up to $105,500. It won’t mark the first time an original Winston Churchill painting has made waves at auction: In a 2014, a 1932 depiction of his same beloved goldfish pond sold for over $2.3 million.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Ape Meets Girl
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Pop Culture
Epic Gremlins Poster Contains More Than 80 References to Classic Movies
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Ape Meets Girl

It’s easy to see why Gremlins (1984) appeals to movie nerds. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus, the film has horror, humor, and awesome 1980s special effects that strike a balance between campy and creepy. Perhaps it’s the movie’s status as a pop culture treasure that inspired artist Kevin Wilson to make it the center of his epic hidden-image puzzle of movie references.

According to io9, Wilson, who works under the pseudonym Ape Meets Girl, has hidden 84 nods to different movies in this Gremlins poster. The scene is taken from the movie’s opening, when Randall enters a shop in Chinatown looking for a gift for his son and leaves with a mysterious creature. Like in the film, Mr. Wing’s shop in the poster is filled with mysterious artifacts, but look closely and you’ll find some objects that look familiar. Tucked onto the bottom shelf is a Chucky doll from Child’s Play (1988); above Randall’s head is a plank of wood from the Orca ship made famous by Jaws (1975); behind Mr. Wing’s counter, which is draped with a rug from The Shining’s (1980) Overlook Hotel, is the painting of Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters II (1989). The poster was released by the Hero Complex Gallery at New York Comic Con earlier this month.

“Early on, myself and HCG had talked about having a few '80s Easter Eggs, but as we started making a list it got longer and longer,” Wilson told Mental Floss. “It soon expanded from '80s to any prop or McGuffin that would fit the curio shop setting. I had to stop somewhere so I stopped at 84, the year Gremlins was released. Since then I’ve thought of dozens more I wish I’d included.”

The ambitious artwork has already sold out, but fortunately cinema buffs can take as much time as they like scouring the poster from their computers. Once you think you’ve found all the references you can possibly find, you can check out Wilson’s key below to see what you missed (and yes, he already knows No. 1 should be Clash of the Titans [1981], not Jason and the Argonauts [1963]). For more pop culture-inspired art, follow Ape Meets Girl on Facebook and Instagram.

Key for hidden image puzzle.
Ape Meets Girl

[h/t io9]

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