While finger-painting may seem childish to some, artist Judith Ann Braun uses her fingers to create incredible artwork and murals that are anything but. Braun, who has been quite the force in the art world for decades, ditches traditional brushes and other tools that put a distance between the artist and the art and uses only her fingers and charcoal dust to paint beautiful pieces that have been displayed in a number of reputable museums and galleries.
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While slavery seems to some a relic of the past, the oppressive, dignity-robbing practice is still very much alive in the present. Today, the International Labor Organization estimates that 20.9 million men, women and children are shackled to the oppressive chain of slavery (to put this in perspective, that’s the population of Madagascar). In spite of various international conventions and treaties condemning slavery, these men and women are treated as physical property, forced to work through mental or physical threat, and suffer from being physically constrained to a specific environment until their ‘employer’ says otherwise. To learn more about it, be sure to visit CNN’s Freedom Project.
If there’s one thing at which humans excel, it’s celebrating. Hanukkah, Halloween and Easter all rock up at the same time each year, but why not extend that festive savoir-faire to those lesser known holidays, like Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, or even Fruitcake Toss Day? If you’re in the market for a few more excuses to indulge, we’ve got a whole host of weird celebration days for you.
Felt Hat Day
On 15th September each year, men and women don their brightest and best felt hats in memory of, well, felt hats. In the 19th century, felt was one of the most common hat materials worn by the gentry and public alike, but the fabric saw its sad demise as other fashion trends emerged and curried the favor of the masses. Felt Hat Day is said to commemorate this historic fashion trend and to reintroduce this neglected clothing gem to the mainstream.
Learn Your Name In Morse Code Day
It’s fair to say that at some point in our lives, we’ve all had a collection that, if others saw it, might make them question our sanity. For you, it might be old magazines, cigarette lighters or even, say, antique seat cushions. But for a handful of people, a collection is not complete until they possess those items–however obscure–in their entirety. Welcome to some of the weirdest collections in the world.
Odd Collections: Movie Cameras
Making it into the Guinness Book of Records for the eighth time in 2008 for his collection of old movie cameras, Dimitris Pistiolas’ from Athens, Greece, started collecting these vintage cinematic devices at the tender age of 15. Now a 78-year-old retired postman, his impressive collection is made up of almost one thousand different models and projectors from around the world.
The film fanatic has always had a love for cameras, so much so that Dimitris says he sacrificed his home life to fulfill his life long craze. With a haul that dates back to the 1960’s, when asked about how he found so many, he waxed like one would about finding The One: “You must search for them, chase them for many years to find them.”
Weddings are meant to be one of the happiest days in the lives of two devoted partners, but there are a few wacky wedding customs from around the world that can throw a spanner in the works. From throwing soot over the bride to banging pots and pans on the couple’s wedding night, some traditions are just plain weird.
Blackening of the Bride and Groom
Up in the Highlands of Scotland, there lies an age-old wedding custom that quite literally puts the bride and groom in a sticky situation. The ‘Blackening of the Bride’ ritual involves throwing treacle, soot and flour, at the happy couple to ward off evil spirits that might undermine their marriage. Nowadays, it’s a good excuse for the in-laws to hurl things at the bride and it’s believed that if you can endure the blackening, then you can handle marriage.
Bizarre Parades: Coney Island’s Mermaid Fest
The Mermaid Parade of Coney Island, NY takes the carefree spirit of Mardi Gras and combines it with celebrating the beginning of summer. This show is most notable for the thousands of ladies adorning mermaid costumes, often keeping with the Mardi Gras tradition of traversing the parade route topless, or with little more than pasties adorning their upper half.
Día de los Muertos
Everyone in the United States is familiar with the October 31st holiday of Halloween, but many here are somewhat unfamiliar with the much older customs of Mexico’s Dia de Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Traditionally, on November 1st and 2nd, families visit the graves of their deceased loved ones and celebrate the lives of the departed – making it a much happier event than the name would imply. In the cavalcade of this ritual, people paint their faces as skeletons and dress as the dead, often carrying coffins or other symbols of those who have passed on.