+
upworthy
Community

Artist creates stunning—but temporary—wildlife portraits with natural, foraged materials

Hannah Bullen-Ryner uses just nature and her hands to make creatures that are meant to blow away.

land art, animals

Hannah Bullen-Ryner's gorgeous creations aren't built to last.

Some people create art as a way of immortalizing a piece of themselves, to leave behind some creative evidence of their existence and communicate through their art long after they are gone. But what of those who create art that isn't meant to last?

Hannah Bullen-Ryner, a full-time mother to twins, walks to the woodlands and fields about 10 minutes from her flat in Hertfordshire, England, each day as a ritual. She sits immersed in nature, in all kinds of weather, and creates whatever creature decides to "visit" her out of whatever natural items she can forage.

She uses no tools—no scissors, clippers or glue. All she has are her hands and her camera to capture her creations before they are scattered by the wind or washed away by rain.



Sometimes her land art "visitors" blow away within seconds of her creating them, but Bullen-Ryner isn't bothered.

"Right now it is the ephemeral nature of my work that makes it special to me," she shares on her website. "I lay my emotions down on the ground and they blow away. That is a very cathartic experience."

The only materials she uses are things she finds in nature—twigs, leaves, petals, rocks, shells—some of which she saves and reuses and some of which get carried off by the wind to "visit" someone else.

Bullen-Ryner used to be a painter and a photographer, and her painter's eye comes through clearly in her land art. However, it's an entirely different beast to create a brush stroke just as you want it to be and to use individual pieces of whatever you find to "paint" with.

"I flow every single day unless the weather is too crazy," Bullen-Ryner shares. "It has become a spiritual ritual and something that really improves my mental health. I decide after I have sat down, placed my gathered elements down and cleared a space...sometimes I don't know until after I have already begun and other times I use reference photos to work from. It very much depends on my mood too. Sometimes I want to make something cute and uplifting, other times it's more dark or energetic."

Some of her creations involve minimal materials for a more impressionistic animal, such as this lion.

Others look almost like an actual painting, like this wee badger.

"I create to share my love of nature and to soothe my soul," she writes.

And believe it or not, most of these creations could fit in the palm of your hand.

"My work is very, very small," Bullen-Ryner shared with Street Art Utopia. "I need very tiny ingredients and I am never not looking. I’m a magpie and have tiny pebbles and things constantly, in every single pocket. I also recycle elements over and over and over again. I store them in half coconut shells that I leave on site and cover with an old fence post. If petals have dried I dunk them in some water until they are workable again."

Oh, by the way, here there be dragons as well.

Bullen-Ryner sells prints of her favorite photos on her Etsy shop just once a month and only for a few days or until they sell out. (Her mother runs her Etsy shop and Bullen-Ryner writes that she "can't risk breaking her.")

You can follow Hannah Bullen-Ryner and see more of her ephemeral animal friends on Facebook and Instagram.

Family

Woman who was pressured to quit her job to raise stepdaughter's baby makes a bold decision

This sparked an important conversation about family responsibility.

via Pixabay

A middle-aged woman holding a baby.

A story that recently went viral on Reddit’s AITA forum asks an important question: What is a parent’s role in taking care of their grandchildren? The story is even further complicated because the woman at the center of the controversy is a stepparent.

The woman, 38, met her husband Sam, 47, ten years ago, when his daughter, Leah, 25, was 15. Five years ago, the couple got married after Leah had moved out to go to college.

Leah’s mom passed away when she was 10.

Last year, Leah became pregnant, and she wanted to keep the baby, but her boyfriend didn’t. After the disagreement, the boyfriend broke up with her. This forced Leah to move back home because she couldn’t afford to be a single parent and live alone on a teacher’s salary.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

12 real stories that show why ruthless immigration laws are the wrong move.

Immigration policies that rip families apart are a travesty.


If there's ever been a particularly bad time to be an undocumented immigrant, it's right now.

President Donald Trump, who launched himself into the 2016 presidential race with his support for a multibillion-dollar border wall, has been cracking down on immigration as promised. In addition to tightening border security, he's pledged to remove 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants "immediately." And he appears to be keeping his word.

Deportation is nothing new, but Trump's plans are unprecedented. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

It's a scary climate we're facing, but unfortunately, it's not just Trump and it's not just America. All over the world, people are more concerned with their countries' borders than seemingly ever before.Nations all over Europe, for example, are tightening up immigration rules and/or ramping up deportations themselves.

Amidst all the noise and rhetoric — every "radical Islamic terrorist" attack that gets waved about by politicians with something that eerily resembles pride, every horrific crime committed by white Americans that's met with deafening silence, every press conference faux pas — there are real people and real families being ripped apart in the name of patriotism.

Their stories are terrifying and heart-wrenching, but they're massively important.

1. A DREAMer gave a powerful speech about deportation. Moments later, she was arrested.

Daniela Vargas, who has lived in the U.S. since she was 7 years old, spoke at a news conference in Jackson, Mississippi, about the importance of the DREAM Act, which aims to help immigrant children who have lived in the U.S. for more than five years and graduated high school receive permanent legal status.

After the event, Vargas and a friend were pulled over and arrested by immigration agents.

2. A Sri Lankan student studying in North Wales was saved from deportation only by a last ditch effort hours before her flight.

Shiromini Satkunarajah, an electrical engineering student at Bangor University, was nearly sent back to Sri Lanka earlier this year. Despite having lived in the U.K. since she was 12 and being only three months shy of graduation, Satkunarajah was only allowed to stay after receiving an outpouring of community support.

3. A woman living in Great Britain was sent back to Singapore without being allowed to say goodbye to her husband and two children.

Irene Clennell had lived in the U.K. since 1988 but was abruptly sent back to Singapore after having her indefinite leave to remain revoked. Clennell is married and has two children with her husband but was not afforded the chance to see them one last time.

4. A mom living in Phoenix was sent back to Mexico. Her children would later face Trump as he addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos' children were reportedly in attendance as Trump addressed Congress. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/AFP/Getty Images.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos was sent back to Mexico in January this year for having a criminal record. Her crime? Working under the table to provide for her young children.

5. A beloved restaurant manager in a deep-red town in Illinois was arrested, and now the community is reeling.

Most of the people in West Frankfort, Illinois, voted for Trump. They never thought anything would happen to Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, the friendly restaurant manager who seemed have done at least one kind deed for everyone in the community. Now, he's been detained by ICE and is currently waiting to find out if he'll be sent back to Mexico.

6. A Kuwaiti man and father of two living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the other hand, was miraculously spared from deportation because it would cause his family too much hardship.

Yousef Ajin has lived in the United States for 18 years with his wife, with whom he has four children. He reportedly met with immigration officers frequently, but on Jan. 30, 2017, he was suddenly detained.

In February, a judge granted a deportation waiver in order to spare Ajin's family from hardship. Many other immigrants aren't so lucky.

7. One man was caught trying to cross the border and returned to Tijuana. He appears to have jumped to his death shortly after.

The man, Guadalupe Olivas Valencia, had reportedly worked in the U.S. before to provide for his family back home before being deported multiple times. Caught trying to enter the country once again, he seemingly decided jumping from a bridge was his only option.

8. A single mother in California was sent back to Mexico, leaving her two young children in peril.

Photo by Jose Cabezas/AFP/Getty Images.

On Feb. 7, María Robles-Rodríguez was nabbed by U.S. Border Patrol and sent back to Mexico, leaving her twin 18-year-old daughters to fend for themselves.

9. Gay men being deported from Britain to Afghanistan are being told to pretend they're straight.

The British government's advice to gay men being sent home to Afghanistan, where they can be freely persecuted for their sexual orientation? Just don't act gay and everything will be fine!

Seriously.

10. Jose Escobar was detained after a routine meeting with immigration officers. He's a husband and father of three.

Escobar, who has lived in the United States for 16 years, had a deportation scare a few years back but was told he'd be safe if he checked in with immigration agents every year. Only this year, an agent reportedly told his wife, "We're just doing what President Trump wants us to do with the new rules."

Escobar will likely soon be deported.

11. A Mexican man living in Idaho was deported. His wife and the mother of his children could be next.

Tomas Copado ran his own auto body shop in Idaho Falls until he was sent back to Mexico earlier this year. His wife, for the sake of their children, recently had her own deportation deferred.

For now.

12. Some undocumented immigrants may be deported to Mexico even if they're not from there.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

According to several reports, the Department of Homeland Security plans to send anyone who crosses illegally over the southern border of the U.S. back to Mexico, even though they may be citizens of another country.

Needless to say, this is horrendous and possibly in violation of international law.

Statue of LibertyPhoto by Guzmán Barquín on Unsplash

Every modern nation needs smart, empathetic paths to citizenship. Any immigration policy that tramples on human rights and rips families apart is a travesty.

It's time to bust the narrative that foreigners primarily come to our country — or any country — to do harm. They come mostly to find opportunity, to escape persecution, or to be with family.

If we can't come to see them as human beings rather than inanimate outsiders, finding the money to pay for a giant wall will be the very least of our problems.


This article originally appeared on 03.02.17

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Long Truong on Unsplash
woman in white sleeveless dress kissing man in blue dress shirt


"It may be the most important thing we do in life; learn how to love and be loved."

At least, that's according to Harvard psychologist and researcher Rick Weissbourd.

He's been collecting data on the sex and love habits of young people for years through surveys, interviews, and even informal conversation — with teens and the important people in their lives.

Through it all, one thing has been abundantly clear:

"We spend enormous amount of attention helping parents prepare their kids for work and school," Weissbourd says. "We do almost nothing to prepare them for the tender, tough, subtle, generous, focused work of developing mature healthy relationships. I'm troubled by that."

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Video shows how Gummy Bears are made in reverse

You’ll never look at a gummy bear the same way again.

Photo by Amit Lahav on Unsplash

Another type go gummy... Gummy Bears.

The first gummy bears were created in the 1920s by Hans Riegel, owner of the Haribo candy company in Bonn, Germany. Since, gummy candies have become popular worldwide and evolved to take the shapes of fish, sour patch kids, frogs, worms, and just about anything a clever candy maker can imagine.

But unlike the popular Disney '80s "Gummi Bears" cartoon, these sweet little guys don't come from a hollow tree in the forest. Sadly, their creation is a bit more terrifying.

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

The very real story of how one woman prevented a national tragedy by doing her job

Frances Oldham Kelsey believed thorough research saves lives. She was so right.

Image by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey and President John F. Kennedy.

True
Seventh Generation


Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey had only been with the Food and Drug Administration for about a month when she was tasked with reviewing a drug named thalidomide for distribution in America.

Marketed as a sedative for pregnant women, thalidomide was already available in Canada, Germany, and several African countries.

Keep ReadingShow less
via PamTina_/Twitter

Pam's little brother is so sweet.

Pam has a little brother, who recently learned that he is actually her half-brother.

Of course, half-siblings are still very much siblings, but Pam's brother doesn't quite grasp the concept yet and seems upset about having to part with 50% of his sister.

Keep ReadingShow less