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Six amazing places to stay for free around the world – if you volunteer

At Helga’s Folly, a boutique hotel in historic Kandy, central Sri Lanka, amateur artists add to the distinctive murals – and get free bed and board via the Workaway website. Plus: 5 more places where skills can be swapped for stays<p>For almost 30 years, Helga de Silva Blow Perera, the flamboyantly …

Asia Travel

Ray K Metzker's Abstractions – in pictures

Metzker was a modernist who experimented with formal techniques to create new ways of seeing. His evocative cityscapes mark him out as one of the great masters of American photography


Stunning imagery from the Smithsonian’s 14th annual photo competition

With more than 48,000 entries, Smithsonian magazine has no shortage of images from which to pick a winner (on 28 March) for its 2016 competition. These are among the finalists from the travel, sustainable travel and people categories<br>• <b>View other entries and vote for your favourites</b>


Sign songs: graphic design goes pop – in pictures

In 2010, Swedish graphic designer Viktor Hertz started working on illustrations as a hobby away from his daytime job. “It all started with film posters, where I took movies and tried to depict them with this pictogram language that you see in airports and restaurants.” In his current project, Hertz …

Graphic Design

Artist Born Without Hands Creates Masterful Photo-Realistic Portraits

Like many people, Polish artist Mariusz Kędzierski has been drawing since he was a child. What separates him from most gifted artists is the fact that he was born without hands. Specializing in photo-realistic portraits sketched in pencil, he’s never let his disability hold him back from his art …

The Kawasaki Halloween parade – in pictures

One of the biggest in Japan, the parade attracts thousands of people in a bewildering variety of costumes, from the surreal to the thoroughly gruesome


These Toilet Paper Wedding Dresses Will Seriously Blow Your Mind

Chic, soft, and oh so absorbent!<p>Every year, holds a contest to see who among their readers can make the most fabulous wedding dress out of that most common of common household items, toilet paper. The winner receives a prize of $10,000 cash, provided by Charmin, with the …


Out of this world: why the most important art today is made in space

Forget the Turner prize. This is art that reflects the true grandeur of the universe – it is the Sistine Chapel of the scientific age<p>It’s all about scale. A black dot is moving across the face of a blazing giant. The shadow of the planet looks tiny, compared with the vast flaming orb of the sun …


8 Ways to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

This story originally appeared on CNBC<p>Let go of any crippling anxieties for a second and think back to childhood. Remember the fear and trepidation you felt the first time you peered down from the top of the playground slide—which immediately turned to utter joy and triumph when you reached the …



Cherry Blossom In Japan Photography

Une rivière jonchée de pétales roses, un héron s’abreuvant sous des nuages de fleurs ; Avril n’est-il pas la meilleure période pour dévoiler les …

The most colourful cities in the world – in pictures

From the arts hub of Valparaiso to the ‘blue city’ of Jodhpur, we take a look at the neighbourhoods and cityscapes that have been transformed by colourful paint<p>• Share your own photos on Twitter and Instagram using #guardiancolourfulcities

Cape Town

Lumberjack Tree Trunk Cake Sports Edible Ax and Plaid Interior

Culinary artist Elizabeth Marek (of the Artisan Cake Company) designed a plaid lumberjack cake–which impressively looks nothing like your average dessert. On the outside, the cake perfectly resembles a tree trunk complete with realistic textures and, on top, there's an edible ax that looks as …

Culinary Arts

Artist Paints Stunningly Realistic Portraits on His Hand and Stamps Them on Paper

Artist Russell Powell creates stunningly realistic portraits on an unconventional surface – his own hand. The California-based teacher merges art and the body by painting eye-catching depictions of people on his palms. Incredibly, this textured and creased surface doesn't deter him from adding …


Split Family Faces

<b>Cousins: Justine, 29, & Ulric, 29</b><p>How much do you and your family members really look alike? Quebec, Canada-based graphic designer and photographer Ulric Collette has created a shockingly cool project where he's exploring the genetic similarities between different members of the same family. By …


15 Drone Photos That Leave Us Speechless

Our friends at SkyPixel are running a drone- and aerial-themed photography competition and some of the submissions have been (very literally) over the top. This technology has already changed the way we capture our travels—providing new angles on everyday subjects. Here are 15 of our favorite …


These Tiny Homes Are Changing the Lives of Tennessee's Homeless

Just wait until you hear what the man behind this micro community did to raise the funds.<p>In the era of smartphones and a 24/7 news cycle, it takes extreme measures to get people's attention — which Reverend Jeff Obafemi Carr knows first hand. When he set out to raise money to build a micro …

Realistic Embroidered Portraits Explore the Complexity of Human Identity

Cayce Zavaglia‘s portraits capture her subject's natural beauty through textured layers of hand stitched embroidery, emulating the brushwork of classical oil paintings. Trained as a painter, Zavaglia made the switch to embroidery as her primary medium over 14 years ago. Her latest work finds her …


Artist Transforms Driftwood into Stunning Sculptures of Animals in Motion

Sculptor James Doran-Webb uses pieces of driftwood to form stunning creatures that look as though they're in motion. In a scale that's larger than life, rabbits, horses, and birds appear to be in mid hop, gallop, and flap. Webb's work with the highly-textured wood is methodical, and he fuses many …


Urban Explorer Gives Viewers an Interior Tour of St. Petersburg's Architectural Gems

Urban explorer Sergey Prokopenko sees the inner beauty that's concealed within St. Petersburg's most impressive architectural structures. When referring to the splendor he finds while exploring various interiors, the photographer states, "It’s hidden from intruders behind closed doors and security …

European Travel

The Breathing Trick That Puts You to Sleep in Seconds

Sweet slumber can be yours in a minute or less.<p>Nothing is worse than lying awake at night, willing your brain to shut down so you can rest. Warm milk, lavender oil, and counting sheep — we've all tried them. But the new solution could be simply learning to breathe.<p><b>What is it?</b><p>The 4-7-8 breathing …

Extraordinary Vintage Photos Reveal Hawaii's Hippie Treehouse Community

From 1969 to 1977, the hippies at Taylor Camp on Kauai lived in treehouses, preferred to go nude, and smoked a lot of weed.<p>A then 23-year-old John Wehrheim moved to Kauai in 1971 and happened upon Taylor Camp.<p>"This is a place with no TV, no electricity," Wehrheim told BuzzFeed News. "They didn't …

Unseen MC Escher sketch goes on public display for first time

Previously unknown work by Dutch artist famous for his optical illusions depicts the town of Montecelio near Rome<p>A rare, previously unknown work by the Dutch graphic artist MC Escher has gone on display in The Hague after being acquired by the Escher Museum from the artist’s family.<p>The sketch of …

Track Down

Beautiful dark twisted fantasies: the world's most ancient trees – in pictures

From 4,000-year-old pines in California to Welsh yews carved into pulpits, photographer Beth Moon has spent 14 years travelling the globe in search of exquisite trees<p>Ancient Trees; Portraits of Time is published by Abbeville Press

Next stop, Siberia! The strange and beautiful world of Soviet bus stops – in pictures

Behind the iron curtain, the roadside was where architects could really let rip ... photographer Christopher Herwig has covered more than 30,000km by bus, bike, car and cab in 14 countries to snap bus stops that show the Soviet empire’s taste for the future fantastic<p>Soviet superpower: why Russia …


The 20 photographs of the week

Unrest in Ferguson, the global migration crisis, wild weather and baby undulate rays – the best photography in news, culture from around the world this week

South Korea

Elegant Wood Sculptures Crafted from Discarded Tree Trunks and Branches

South Korean artist Jae-Hyo Lee uses organic materials like wood to create large-scale, sculptural pieces that favor both form and function. Focusing on geometric shapes such as the sphere, Lee somehow manages to transform tree trunks and hefty branches into perfectly formed globes, columns, and …