News & Events

Sam A. Malek: Pennsylvania Photography

Monday, April 6th, 2015

By Tobin Dimmitt
Sam A. Malek lives in rural Pennsylvania, and he’s a photographer. This gives him perfect opportunities to photograph Amish and Mennonites living nearby.

Sam A. Malek: Farm Life &emdash; Field Bee

A country man himself, Sam is a perfect fit for rural living and for both his Anabaptist and mainstream subjects. Many of Sam’s photos expertly capture people forming connections with one another as well as with animals.
>Sam A. Malek: Farm Life &emdash; Amish Boy & Pony

Sam is a visual person. As a photographer, he looks for naturally occuring things that have a special aesthetic; it’s almost as if somebody had posed them, yet you know they couldn’t have. The results of Sam’s watchfulness are dramatic.
Sam A. Malek: The Mennonites of Lancaster &emdash; Mennonite Tractor

Sam A. Malek: The Mennonites of Lancaster &emdash; Mennonite Girl Selfie

While he uses digital equipment, Sam reveres traditional techniques. He only simulates lightroom techniques and otherwise lets photos speak for themselves.
Sam doesn’t limit himself to photographing Plains people. Visit Sam’s gallery, and you’ll find a variety of photos of scenery, animals, people in the mainstream culture, and even long exposure photos.
I suggest you give Sam A. Malek’s gallery and Twitter a visit. This one is about more than taking pictures of Amish people. Sam aims to take photos that acknowledge the depth of meaning in what he sees.
All photos copyright Sam A. Malek can be found on

as-phyx-i-a Uses 3D Motion Capture to Play with Human Form

Thursday, March 19th, 2015


Every year technology creates more ways for designers to get inspired. AutoCAD, SketchUp and Minecraft have been fast-tracking aesthetic design while sustainable technologies make designs more seamless in their environments. The XBox Kinect has been rendering people in 3D since 2011. However Maria Takeuchi and Frederico Phillips offer a unique perspective on using the Kinect in their project, as-phyx-i-a. A dancer creates a variety of human shapes both in movement and balance, while the Kinect interprets each one in ways that connect floating parts together. Those of you looking to play with design might want to watch the forms as-phyx-ia comes up with and see if it inspires you to add functions.

The Amish, Telephones, and the Phone Shack

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

At Amish America, David Arment is visiting with a special article on Amish phone use. In case you’re new to David Arment, he spends a lot of time in Amish country with a camera, so he learns what kinds of buildings community members use. Starting from the phone shack, David is talking about how Amish communities adopt technology.

Bike Path Underused In Winter? The Freezeway Is an Ice Skating Path

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015


Bike lanes are increasing carless transportation, but not everybody is devoted enough to cycle through the winter, especially in regions where winters are long and bitter. In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Matt Gibbs has proposed the Freezeway, which converts a bicycle path into a skating path for the winter. Edmonton’s five-month winter makes a skating path surprisingly practical. Do you think the Freezeway could ever happen?
Learn more at Make Something Edmonton
Source at The Weather Network

Herringbone Tile Kitchen Backsplashes

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

The herringbone pattern is an exciting way to bring modular geometry into your home. Small, rectangular tiles fit on almost any surface, and the diagonal pattern stands out. Visit Homedit and you will find a gallery of inspiring herringbone kitchen backsplashes, a refreshing alternative to herringbone wood floors.
These sources are gorgeous.

Scandinavian Contemporary Wood Summer Home

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

If you like Scandinavian architecture and design, visit Dezeen’s tour of Sommarhus Akenine by the studio Johan Sundberg Arkitektur in Sweden. The wood home is situated in a boreal forest on the coastline. Both inside and outside, the home is simply contemporary but for those who like to learn architectural details, the firm varied up wood types.
See samples.

The Amish and Cigarettes

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

You wouldn’t expect the Amish to smoke cigarettes, and it’s true that not many do. The habit is often considered too expensive for Amish frugality. However, don’t be alarmed if you do see an Amish person smoking. Every community has different rules. Get more details on this surprising topic at

How Dovetail Joint Strength Works

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Woodworking never stops teaching you things. Today, let’s talk about physics with Steve Schafer. Steve goes over the science of finding out how weak a dovetail joint can possibly be (I see humor here) if the pins are very thin. The lengthy article has illustrations and explains tension between pins and tails.

Skelton Dovetail Saw Gallery and Unboxing

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

At Popular Woodworking, Graham Hayden is trying out and showing off a Skelton dovetail saw. Besides being among the most beautiful handsaws in the world, the Skelton saw is custom handcrafted in England. Shane Skelton’s work is superb and Graham goes over every pro and con of the saw with respect.
Click on the beauty of tools.

Safety for Tiny House Architecture

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Tiny houses are so ingenious, so beautiful, and so new. Many of us get inspired by tiny house tours with their unusual arrangements and efficient designs. Lloyd Alter would like to remind us to balance that inspiration with safe, sober thought. Click on TreeHugger for an article on fire safety and other safety considerations tiny house builders should keep in mind.
Remember, it’s for living in.