The yearly rice harvest in Niigata Prefecture in Japan yields a hefty amount of rice-straw in addition to rice. Enterprising and creative local artists are upcycling this by-product into giant straw structures that are celebrated with the Wara Art Festival each year.
Image © amymauscd
Wara, which means “rice-straw” in Japanese, is used over large wooden frames. While the wooden frames give the animals a stable base to build upon, the straw itself is twisted, braided, and formed into a variety of textures and shapes. Several of the artists use a thatching technique, as rice straw has also often been used for making roofs.
Many of the sculptures take the form of dinosaurs, such as a triceratops and a bent-over T-Rex. We also spied a grasshopper, a crab, a snake, and a duck. The artists use the various techniques to create these recognizable, occasionally intimidating creatures, and often the end product is the result of several people working together.
The straw sculptures are strong enough that visitors are encouraged to interact with them, making us wish we could hop on a plane with our tots for some hands-on fun. Side-note: we should try this type of upcycling artistry with leftover hay bales from Halloween.
Amy Goda, a local student, is the master strawbender behind some of the humongous dinosaurs. Her works have been recognized internationally, and the creatures themselves bear surprisingly realistic details from their horns to their toes to their many, many teeth.
These awe-inspiring and amazingly large sculptures will be on view for several months at Uwasekigata Park. Niigata is located on the western shore of the island of Honshu.
via Bored Panda
Lead image © amymauscd