Sustainable Stays: Arctic Bath, Sweden- Life & Soul Magazine

A new floating hotel and spa in the Arctic that floats in warm weather and freezes into the ice when temperatures cool is set to open in the heart of Swedish Lapland in January 2020.

Built on the water, Arctic Bath is located on the Lule River near the small village of Harads in Swedish Lapland, around 31miles south of the Arctic Circle. Situated under the northern lights in winter, and the midnight sun during the summer months, Arctic Bath is a unique hotel and spa experience that welcomes guests to immerse themselves in the elements while leaving a minimal environmental footprint behind.

Constructed using sustainable materials – wood, stone, leather and luxurious textiles – and with very little impact on the environment, Arctic Bath hotel and spa is the latest environmentally-friendly venture from the team behind the nearby Treehotel.

AnnKathrin Lundqvist, partner at the Arctic Bath, said: “We have a strong environmental focus. We’ve chosen so many materials that are locally produced.”

The hotel itself is comprised of six detached floating “cabins” and six additional cabins on land which are connected via floating walkways. The flotilla of floating cabins offer Scandi-chic interiors with double bed, shower room, underfloor heating and an exterior wooden deck, ideal for spotting the Northern Lights during the winter months or reaping the sunshine of the midnight sun over the summer months.

There are also six more elevated cabins built on the tree-lined shore, which are positioned on stilts above the ground so the cabins don’t disturb the natural growth below.

Central to the Arctic Bath complex is the Arctic Bath itself, a spa area which is inspired by “the timber floating era which recalls how felled trees were transported downriver for processing”.

The circular-shaped timber framed Arctic Bath, which is centred around an open-air plunge pool, also houses one spa treatment room, four saunas, a hot bath, outdoor and indoor showers, and two dressing rooms. The open centre of the bath invites guests to sunbathe, ice bathe or sit back to view the Northern Lights or star-filled skies.

A dip in the bath itself is consistent with the Arctic tradition of a cold-water plunge with the water maintained at 39 degrees Fahrenheit and combines well with the warmth of a sauna and spa. A special technique has been developed to keep the centre of the bath open during wintertime, adding to the atmospheric setting.

The circular building, which is accessed by a walkway, is also home to the wellness centre offering treatments including hot stone massage and unique therapies such as bespoke crystal healing. Designed by architects Bertil Harström and Johan Kaupp, native birch trees were used to surround the lodge and a tool used to dislodge log jams as inspiration for the shape of the cabins.

An on-site restaurant will be run by a Belgian and an indigenous Sámi chef with a menu described as Sámi fusion, including foraged ingredients and reindeer.

The Arctic Bath will also host several activities for visitors including hikes and paddleboarding during the summer months, and in the winter, northern lights expeditions, and cross-country skiing.

Arctic Bath

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

Slow Cabins: Off-grid cabins pop-up in secret Belgium countryside locations to help guests connect with nature

Sustainable cabins in secret locations, otherwise known as Slow Cabins, are popping up outside the city of Belgium in a bid to help people connect with nature.

Each cabin, built using eco-friendly materials with wooden interiors, is off-grid and self-sufficient through the use of solar panels, a filtered rainwater system and ecological dry-toilet. There are cabins of two kinds to suit individuals, couples and families.

The nature-based locations of the Slow Cabins are only revealed to guests after they’ve booked a cabin. Slow Cabins are mobile and frequently rotate locations, making for new sights and experiences for those looking to book a second trip.

The interiors of the Slow Cabins are natural and minimalist with its raw-look wooden floors and walls, and wooden furniture. Insulated glass windows frame views of surrounding fields and woodland, and there’s a wood-burning stove to cosy up in front of – and a small deck. The double beds consist of eco-textiles layered on a natural latex mattress, with large windows for gazing out into the surroundings.

The insulated cabins are kept toasty in the winter with wood-burning stoves, while the kitchen contains a pair of cooking plates alongside a sink, small fridge and a food preparation area. In the bathroom you’ll find a shower, wash basin and eco-friendly dry toilet. A fireplace and ceramic BBQ offer warmth and cooking options outside.

A stay also comes with a basket of locally-sourced produce and spring water.

The Slow Cabins experience is as much about making guests aware of their environmental impact. Slow Cabins say: “Each of our cabins comes equipped with a smart display that shares your energy and water use with you. By actively seeing your energy usage throughout your stay you become aware of your impact on the environment and what a positive and ecological footprint might look like.”

The Time For Two couple’s retreat costs from €175 per night, while the Time For Family cabin, which sleeps 3-5 people, costs from €185 per night.

Slow Cabins is expanding its off-the-grid concept across Europe and looking for partners.

Slow Cabins

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

Wisdom of the Warrior Miyamoto Musashi- Rosa Medea

The wisdom of a warrior is a good starting point for anyone who has chosen to work on themselves, and follow the path of their true self. The legendary Miyamoto Musashi, heralded as Japan’s greatest swordsman and samurai warrior, was also a celebrated writer and artist too, penning key writings on Japanese samurai tactics and philosophy – Go Rin No Sho (The Book of Five Rings), and Dokkōdō (The Way of Walking Alone). 

Born in the Japanese province of Mimasaka in 1584, Miyamoto Musashi trained himself in the art of sword fighting at an early age and at the age of 13, he went on to win his first duel – one of many. He invented the Ni-Ten Ichi Ryu style of fighting with two swords, which is the most instantly recognisable visual features of the samurai.

Dokkōdō, a short text outlining self-discipline, was written the week before Miyamoto Musashi died in 1645 of natural causes. Consisting of 21 precepts, it expresses a way of living that is aligned with one’s self or true self.

Here is the 21 precepts of Dokkōdō:

  1. Accept everything just the way it is.
  2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
  3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
  4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
  5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
  6. Do not regret what you have done.
  7. Never be jealous.
  8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
  9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself or others.
  10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
  11. In all things have no preferences.
  12. Be indifferent to where you live.
  13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
  14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
  15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
  16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
  17. Do not fear death.
  18.  Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
  19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
  20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.
  21. Never stray from the Way.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

Blake McFarland: Artist turns recycled tyres into marvellous, life-sized animal sculptures- Life & Soul Magazine

Tyres are finding new life as life-sized sculptures of animals courtesy of Blake McFarland’s visions.

The former baseball player and mixed-materials artist has created an animal kingdom of artworks which include a cougar that stands around 4 ft tall and 7 ft long; a tiger made from 4,000 shreds of Goodyear tyres; and pandas created using black and white recycled tyres.

Each sculpture uses strategically placed tyres which are woven and secured. The grooves in the tyres give a muscle-like definition to the animal sculpture, while the different treads and widths of the tyre material also provide texture to emulate the animals’ fur. An average sculpture uses around 100-400 tyres and takes up to a month to complete.

Blake McFarland’s most recent work and one of his finest is of a lion’s head, which makes use of hundreds of pieces of basketball leather to achieve the big cat’s mane.

The San Jose-born artist loves being able to be eco-friendly by using mostly recycled materials to make his distinctive art. Working with different materials including recycled ethernet cables and wires as well as tyres means that Blake McFarland gets to explore creative ways of using everyday items that would otherwise go to landfill.

Blake McFarland began his art career painting ocean scenery and landscaped with acrylics. While he was a pro ball player for the Blue Jays, he would paint during the off-season. And it was in 2012, that he found the medium that he was truly meant to master and work with.

In an interview with The Hardball Times, Blake McFarland said: “In 2012 during the off-season, my wife [Jessica] and I were in St. Louis and we drove by this playground where there were a bunch of tractor tires stacked up in a dragon-snake-serpent design. It sparked my interest. Tyres were not being used anywhere – you see them on the side of the road all over the place – and maybe it’s something to work with. From there, I had to teach myself that entire thing, too, which took some time.”

The former baseball player retired from the game last year following a shoulder injury, and is now a full-time artist.

Images Source: Blake McFarland Facebook page

Blake McFarland Sculptures

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

Bruno Torfs’ garden of magickal and mystical beings in Australia’s Yarra Valley- Rosa Medea

Sculptor and Artist Bruno Torfs’ garden, part of the luscious sub-alpine forests of Australia’s Marysville, is home to a wonderful array of magickal and mystical beings that he himself carved from wood and made using earthenware.

Bruno’s Art & Sculpture Garden, located in Melbourne’s Yarra Valley, has long been a haven for those with a connection to nature and its magickal inhabitants. Among the garden’s residents are a bearded wizard, various fae, a lion, Mowgli, native women, a witch, and Sherlock Holmes and Watson characters.

Bruno Torfs incorporates the natural landscape into his art, using tree branches and leaves as a part of his subjects’ hair or body. After carving, they remain unpainted and blend in with their surroundings.

The South American-born artist’s collection of wooden and terracotta life size sculptures were extensive until the Marysville bushfires of 2009, which tore through much of his garden.

Since the bushfires, Bruno Torfs has rebuilt his home and gallery. The garden has blossomed into a new stage of life, most of his terracotta life size sculptures have been restored and visitors can see his surviving paintings as well as new works in the unique new gallery space.

Bruno Torfs

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

Narisha Cash: Aboriginal female graffiti artist inspiring young people across Australia

Narisha “Nish” Cash, an Aboriginal self-taught female graffiti artist from Adelaide, is challenging the misconception that the world of graffiti and street art is a “man’s world”.

The Jingili and Mudburra artist has been a regular on the street art scene in the South Australian city since the 1990s when at the age of 15 she first started paving street walls with her work. With her tag ‘ISHK’ (the sound of a spray can), her art has evolved over the years to include themes of femininity, colour and form, nature and her aboriginal culture.

In an interview with SBS, she said: “I usually paint strong powerful women with elements of strength and tough qualities through guns, bandanas, and piercings. What appeals to me of the female form is that it’s the giver of life, its Mother Nature, its beauty.

“I’ve always been surrounded by strong women and it’s important for my characters speak that. There’s a lot of strength around being a woman, especially an Aboriginal woman.”

After becoming a mother, Narisha Cash saw the opportunity to channel her creative practices into a career. She also used her art as a form of healing to overcome obstacles she encountered as a teen and young woman growing up in Adelaide.

She said: “When I started out doing graff there wasn’t a lot of females out there. I’d never thought I’d make a living out of it.”

Inspired by hip hop and breakdancing culture also, it was the artist’s foray into grafitti that opened her up to delving into breakdancing, DJing and MCing.

A well respected and maternal figure in communities across Australia, Narisha Cash also works as Community Arts and Youth Engagement Officer at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute. She shares her knowledge as an artist with youth groups and engages them through art workshops, developing and creating public art murals and opportunities for emerging artists and young people at risk.

Taking graffiti art in the context of the coded language of the streets, the Aboriginal artist, with her unique and feminine style of aerosol art, relates her practice to her ancestors creating art work – storytelling, culture and symbolism – to communicate through their natural surroundings.

Narisha Cash believes that grafitti has the ability to connect young people, especially indigenous youth who feel disconnected to culture, in a way that inspires, empowers and educates.

She told SBS: “It gives them something to do that’s positive, rather than turning to grog (alcohol) or drugs, enabling kids to turn to music, dance, painting.

“In our culture, we have the dance, music and arts so it’s important for young people to get themselves out there and be that next generation to get out there and carry that positive torch on and be positive with their outlet.

“I think it’s important for young people to have a variety of ways to express themselves, be it creating public art or transporting spaces into something beautiful.

“I want kids to get an inspiration to get a career in the artistic field and follow my footsteps…I think it’s important for youth to see Aboriginal people doing good things.”

Image Source: Narisha Cash Facebook page

Narisha Cash

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

Impermanent Nature: Cryptik explores a world beyond notions of life and death in solo exhibition- Life & Soul Magazine

LA-based artist Cryptik explores impermanence – a world beyond notions of life and death – in his first solo exhibition, Impermanent Nature.

In Impermanent Nature, which is currently on display at Galerie Itinerrance in Paris until 19 October, Cryptik takes the law of nature – “all that exists is impermanent; nothing lasts forever” – as his starting point to honour the cycle of life throughout the exhibition.

“It is a search for wisdom and beauty in the transient with the understanding that through anicca all things are possible. From the birth of stars, to our beating hearts, to every breath we take, anicca is what allows life to happen – impermanence is life.

“By deepening our insight into impermanence, we can discover a world beyond notions of life and death, where there is no-birth and no-death, only continuous becoming. All physical and mental phenomena are transient, they come into being and dissolve away. Attachment to things that are impermanent and changing ineviteably leads to suffering.”

“It is a search for wisdom and beauty in the transient with the understanding that through anicca all things are possible. From the birth of stars, to our beating hearts, to every breath we take, anicca is what allows life to happen – impermanence is life.

“By deepening our insight into impermanence, we can discover a world beyond notions of life and death, where there is no-birth and no-death, only continuous becoming. All physical and mental phenomena are transient, they come into being and dissolve away. Attachment to things that are impermanent and changing ineviteably leads to suffering.”

“We must cultivate and nourish our insight into impermanence if we are to live more deeply and suffer less,” Cryptik added. “Through observation and understanding we can experience the nature of impermanence and release ourselves from the sorrows of human life, achieving liberation from the process of anicca.

“’Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation.’ These were the last words of the Buddha.”

Cryptik’s exhibition Impermanent Nature is currently on at Galerie Itinerrance in Paris until 19 October

Cryptik

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

Women’s Work: Brisbane showcases its biggest display of women’s street art

Brisbane’s biggest display of women’s street art, Women’s Work, is taking place at the Outdoor Gallery Exhibition from now until 1 December 2019.

Curated by Brisbane Art Matriachs! (BAM), a collective of up-and-coming female arts leaders working towards bridging the gap for women exhibiting in public spaces, Women’s Work celebrates the empowering artforms and originality of female creatives through a series of outdoor installations, guided tours and talks. This exhibition is grounded in the belief that the work of all women, within the realm of the domestic and beyond, is invaluable.

Among the artists exhibiting are contemporary Aboriginal artist Rachel Sarra whose colourful artwork, on display in Brisbane’s Irish Lane. Her piece, entitled Energy, is a gorgeous mix of shades of pink, purple, blue and orange, depicts dynamic energies radiated by creative women.

Artist and illustrator Mosessa, who is influenced by nature and inspired by mythology and folklore, has her Botanic Beast series showcased in King George Square, featuring floral motifs symbolising womanhood with an Australian twist.

Women’s Work also features artwork from Tori-Jay Mordey, an emerging Indigenous Australian illustrator and artist. Her artwork entitled Siblings 2, which was projected onto the William Jolly Bridge for five nights, is a combination of copper etching prints that features a portrait of the artist herself and her brother with parts of their faces harmoniously merged with their parents.

Tori-Jay Mordey said: “Growing up in a diverse family with our mother being Torres Strait Islander and our father being English, it became clear to me how different we all were, but at the same time I wanted to emphasise how similar we are too. Because it’s not as simple as saying we’re different because of skin colour.”

Brisbane City Council’s Outdoor Gallery transforms Brisbane’s laneways and city streets into imaginative, curious and engaging spaces. Comprising light boxes, banners, vitrines and evening projections, the Outdoor Gallery displays art outside in city streets, instead of inside on gallery walls.

Women’s Work is on display at various outdoor spaces in Brisbane, as part of the Outdoor Gallery, until 1 December 2019

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

Shovava creating nature and wildlife-inspired fashion with elegant and majestic Wings Scarves- Life & Soul Magazine

If you have a strong resonance for birds and the air elemental, Shovava’s handpainted and digitally printed scarves will certainly give you wings.

The Australia-based label is the creation of designer Roza Kamitova. Inspired by the incredible beauty of nature, the artist’s observations are meticulous and detailed as reflected in her bright, intricate and graceful depictions of various birds and their feathers in Shovava’s Wings Scarves range.

Roza Kamitova says: “I observe nature and find inspiration in the smallest details. Maybe it’s a butterfly’s wing or the patterned cell structure of a leaf. Maybe it’s a feather or a raven perched on a tree limb. I take in what I see in the natural world and then create my pieces.

“My ideas are born of long solitary walks in the jungle, through bristling fields or along almost pin-drop quiet stretches of sand. I have many kinds of birds visiting me everyday. My scarves are created using age-old artists’ techniques of craftsmanship and painting combined with the marvels of the latest technology.

“Shovava’s trademark winged scarfs reflect that soaring imagination and embody a sense of individuality, power, freedom, and adventure.”

Made from natural materials including silk and cotton, Shovava ensure that their materials are ethically sourced and use recycled materials, where possible. While Roza Kamitova creates the designs in her Byron Bay studio, a team in India print the scarves using digital textile printers.

Shovava was born in 2011 out of the desire to create “unique and thoughtful pieces of wearable art” for women who had “grown tired of the assembly line ‘cookie cutter’ designs” that are prolific in the fashion world. Having spent eight years working in the fashion industry in New York, the nature-inspired designer Roza Kamitova began selling handmade and hand painted tops made from recycled men’s tees on the streets of New York, before her move to Byron Bay began her journey with Shovava.

In addition to the Wings Scarves, Shovava also sells a range of swimwear, mens and womens t-shirts, skirts, leggings and dresses in nature prints via their online store.

Images Credit: Shovava

Shovava

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about sustainable lifestyle and green living for publications, and offers content services to planet-friendly businesses. Find out more at Rosamedea.com 

GARDENS Flower Flashes bring much needed colour, natural life and joy to the city streets of New York- Life & Soul Magazine

Flower flashes have been bringing some much needed colour, natural life and joy to the concrete jungle of New York, transforming trash cans into larger-than-life flower vases and embellishing the subway system.

The beautiful flower arrangements come courtesy of floral designer Lewis Miller and his team who create what they call “Flower Flashes” very early in the morning, which they aim to get finished before the daily stream of commuters hits the streets.

In addition to repurposing trash cans as flower vases, Lewis Miller Design have also used flowers to decorate a public phone booth with an abundant flow of blooms making their way on to the street.

Lewis Miller came up with the concept of flower flashes to “create an emotional response through flowers” and to “gift the people of New York the same experience he gives his paying clients”.  All of the blooms used in the installations are repurposed from his company’s events. Passers-by are encouraged to admire the display and take a flower if they desire.

Lewis Miller Design

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

Made by Rain: Dutch artist maps the weather by capturing raindrops in ink onto wearable textiles

Dutch artist Aliki van der Kruijs has found a way to map the weather by capturing raindrops in ink on to textiles, which can then be worn.

In order to do this, the artist developed her own technique called pluviagraphy – drawing with rain. Using a film coating that is sensitive to water, it becomes possible to create a visual recording of rainfall on a filmed piece of textile. Whether it’s a soft drizzle or a tropical downpour, the type of rain creates a unique print.

Aliki van der Kruijs’ collection of rain textile prints, Made by Rain, are 100% silk, handmade and customised with time, location, mm of rainfall, and weather circumstances under which the pluviagraphy was done. This way, the textiles form a collection of weather data – visual recordings of a specific day in history.

The Hague-based artist’s fascination with the weather started when she inherited twelve calendars from her grandfather. On each calendar, he had meticulously described the weather on every single day of that calendar year, creating a detailed collection of weather data that covered twelve years.

While researching the weather, Aliki van der Kruijs discovered that rainfall in the Netherlands since the 1950s has increased by around 4% due to climate change. But the only way to display this change is by weather charts, satellite images and graphs.

Aliki van der Kruijs says: “The rainfall itself is an immaterial event that cannot be archived, only remembered.”

Made by Rain

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com