Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Inspired by Science

Inspired by Science on The Etsy Blog

The Etsy blog just posted Karen Brown's article featuring 5 Etsy artists who are inspired by science, including me!

Lise Meitner
Lise Meitner and Nuclear Fission Linocut History of Physics by minouette


“I think the idea that art and science are separate is unfounded,” says print maker Ele Willoughby of minouette. “It takes creativity to be a good scientist and experimentation to be a good artist.” In her Etsy shop, Ele explores art and science through a series of portraits of scientists inspired by the bi-monthly challenges of the Mad Scientists of Etsy team. “I love hearing from parents who want to inspire young children with portraits of scientific heroes or heroines,” she says.

There are some fabulous artists in that inspiring intersection of art and science, and several of my prints included.

(x-posted to the on-going saga of minouette)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


3D objects by Lydiaka Shirreff

Minerals and crystals are so common in contemporary culture I decided to make a second post on crystals. The distinction is sometimes a bit arbitrary, as many minerals are crystals, but today's post is about art and things which celebrate the wondrous shapes of crystals, and remind you (if mathematically inclined) of group theory. Often, you see crystalline forms growing out of everything from fashion:

Iris van Herpen, Capriole collection
Pastel Stud Vest by Mallory Weston, strangefeelings on Etsy

Eva Soto Conde dress, 2013, photo by Tomy Pelluz for Vogue Italia

Pankaj and Nidhi's glowing geometric dress, SS12 show at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week 


to architecture, like the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, an addition to the Royal Ontario Museum, created by architect Daniel Libeskind, here in Toronto,


or the watercolour drawings of the Los Carpinteros collective (Marco Antonio Castillo Valdés and Dagoberto Rodriguez Sanchez)

Los Carpinteros, 2011, watercolour / paper, 80 x 114 cm.
Courtesy: Sean Kelly Gallery, NY.
Los Carpinteros, 2011, watercolour / paper,

Los Carpinteros, 2011, watercolour / paper,

Los Carpinteros, 2011, watercolour / paper,

 To ceramics, like Michelle Summers' whimsical illustrations:

Michelle Summers

Michelle Summers

Michelle Summers
And, of course, crystals themselves abound in art.

Crystals by Carin Vaughn

Installation by Gemma Smith
Acryllic sculpture and painting by Gemma Smith
...amongst many others. Do you have a favorite interpretation of crystals?

Monday, January 27, 2014


Crystals, minerals and gems have been a recurring theme in a lot of contemporary art and culture of late. This is a round up of some of those mineral inspired items that have caught my eye. You see minerals in art like the spectacular paintings by Carly Waito previously covered by magpie&whiskeyjack. You can also find artist-made minerals in all sorts of media.
Ashley Zangle, detail of bubble bath pour
Ashley Zangle, Nine Pours Spring: 2012, 44 x 60"

Ashley Zangle uses bubble bath and ink on paper to capture and sculpture the multifarious look of minerals.
Studio installation by Ashley Zangle
Ashley Zangle

Rocks and minerals show up in the collages of collections by Amber Ibarreche.

Gemz, collage by Amber Ibarreche

Keetra Dean Dixon and JK Keller produced a series of layed wax sculptures with embedded text which look like giant mineral specimens.

Layered Wax Type: Become; in orange, Detail. 24" x 13" x 7", 
wax, acrylic paint and foam, 2009
by Keetra Dean Dixon and JK Keller

Layered Wax Type: Become; in orange, 24" x 13" x 7", wax, acrylic paint and foam, 2009
by Keetra Dean Dixon and JK Keller

Layered Wax Type: Become; in orange, Detail. 24" x 13" x 7", 
wax, acrylic paint and foam, 2009
by Keetra Dean Dixon and JK Keller
Tabirtha Bianca Brown, or thepairabirds, has some great mineral and gem prints on Etsy.
Soft Rock Geometric Facet Art Print by thepairabirds
Amethyst, Geometric Facet Art Print by thepairabirds

Lindsay Jones has a whole mineral calendar.
2014 Minerals Calendar by shoplindsayjones

David Scheirer has a great print of a rock collection watercolour.
Rock mineral collection by studiotuesday

I love the more stylized illustrations of crystals and minerals by Ryan Putnam too.

Ryan Putnam, crystals and minerals

I myself have begun making linocuts on Japanese kozo paper with iridescent chine colle of different minerals.

Quartz linocut by minouette

Minerals show up in fashion, like this 'Mineralogy' scarf by Charlotte Linton:

'Mineralogy' scarf by Charlotte Linton
Or more photorealistic silk scarves with photos from Jen Altman's Gem and Stone:
Labradorite scarf, photo by Jen Atlman

You even see minerals in street art, like the fabulous paper and resin 3D 'urban geode' works by Paige Smith of A Common Name.
A Common Name, Geode #3, DTLA 

A Common Name, Geode #10, Arts District
A Common Name, Geode #33, Uluwatu

Perhaps the most unexpected and delightful medium is soap!

2 oz. Soap/Amethyst Crystal Soap by amethystsoap

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Wilson Bentley
snowflake photo
You may have seen the marvellous microscopic photos of individual snowflakes by Wilson 'Snowflake' Bentley, but I'm rather taken with the more conceptual illustrations below, of snowflakes based on sketches of observations made under a microcope from Snowflakes: A Chapter from the Book of Nature (1863)
Snowflakes: a Chapter from the Book of Nature (1863), - See more at:
Snowflakes: a Chapter from the Book of Nature (1863), - See more at:
Snowflakes: a Chapter from the Book of Nature (1863), - See more at:
Snowflakes: a Chapter from the Book of Nature (1863), - See more at:
(via the Public Domain Review) including the geometrical forms "under which the snow-vapor crystalizes."

nder which the snow-vapor crystalizes
nder which the snow-vapor crystalizes

The Public Domain Review hosts the entire book so you can see and read more here.

You can also find 'Snowflake' Bentley's photos in the Smithsonian's collection online.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Minimalist Graphic Design vs. Scientist & Innovators

There are a surprising number of graphic designers and typographers who have riffed on the themes of scientists and the history of science, and there are a large variety of minimalist images for your favorite scientists, mathematicians and their work.

Consider Amorphia Apparel's collections Monsters of Grok, "rock band style t-shirts to celebrate the world's great thinkers" and Hirsute History, "the giants of history, illustrated by their hair", both of which are replete with scientists. I like their captions too, especially for the subset of Badass Women of Science released for Ada Lovelace Day.

Emmy Noether
In the style of Depeche Mode
Mathemetician Emmy Noether was so hardcore I can't even wrap my feeble brain around her accomplishments in the field of abstract algebra, theoretical physics, field theory, ring theory and so on. So I'll have to rely on the good word of Albert Einstein who called her "the most significant and creative female mathematician of all time." She's even got her own theorem, yo, "Noether's Theorem" which explains the relationship between symmetries and conservation laws.

Emilie du Chatelet
In the style of Death Cab For Cutie
Emilie du Chatelet knew a thing or two about a thing or two. During the Age of Enlightenment she was standing toe to toe with her male counterparts in the realms of physics and math. She put forth a new understanding on the nature of light, and predicted the existence of infrared radiation, helped prove that kinetic energy was indistinct from momentum (suck it, Isaac Newton), and invented the idea of financial derivatives. In the words of her boy-toy Voltaire, she was "a great man whose only fault was being a woman" uhhhhhhh, thanks?

In the style of Husker Du
Philosopher, Astronomer, and History's first well documented woman in the field of mathematics, Hypatia of Alexandria was kicking ass in the age of togas and sandals. (Reportedly) murdered by a Christian mob, she has alternately been cast as "a most beautiful, most vertuous, most learned, and every way accomplish'd Lady" by fans and a "a most Impudent School-Mistress of Alexandria" by haters.  

Ada Lovelace, Mathemetician and Programmer, Hirsute History
Tycho Brahe, Astronomer, Hirsute History

Or, consider these minimalist math posters by graphic designer Hydrogene.

Pythagoras by Hydrogene - the image neatly summarizes the theory we all recall from high school: the square of the hypotenus of a right angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.
Gauss by Hydrogene - the image shows a Gaussian distribution of course

Euler by Hydrogene - the image illustrates Euler's formula

Minimal Posters - Six Women Who Changed Science. And The World. Marie Curie's image illustrates an (old-fashioned) image of Radium, the radioactive element she first isolated, Rachel Carson's image illustrates a ban on DDT based on her pioneering environmental science, Sally Ride is of course shown as an astronaut, pioneering computer programmer and developer of the first compiler of a computer language, Grace Hopper, is also attributed with coining the term 'debugging' based on an actual moth removed from a computer, biophysicist Rosalind Franklin's x-ray crystallography was what allowed Watson and  Crick to deduce DNA's double helix structure, and Jane Goodall is illustrated by a great ape for her revolutionary primate studies
(Source: hydrogeneportfolio)
Kapil Bhagat has cleverly used typography alone to illustrate  scientists and their most fundamental contributions.

Kapil Bhagat's Newton succinctly references his Law of Universal Gravitation and alludes to the (probably apocryphal) story of the falling apple as inspiration

Kapil Bhagat's Einstein incorporates his most famous equation by literally replacing E (for energy) with mc2 (for mass times the square of the speed of light)

Kapil Bhagat's Copernicus shows his heliocentric model of our solar system with C as orbit, yellow o as sun and the little blue dot on the i as Earth.

Kapil Bhagat's pioneering chemist Lavoisier is illustrated with 'oi' as one of his glass vessels

Selman Hoşgör, Wilhelm Rontgen, who discovered x-rays

Selman Hoşgör's Emile Berliner, who invented the gramaphone

Selman Hoşgör's Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone

Bruce Seaton, of Seatonworks has a series of minimalist scientists in two colours.

Bruce Seaton, of Seatonworks, Louis Pasteur

Bruce Seaton, of Seatonworks, Oppenheimer

Bruce Seaton, of Seatonworks, Marie Curie 

I love these Saints of Science by Steven P Hughes which hint at their astronomical work.

Steven P Hughes Stephen Hawking (whose halo looks like a blackhole)

Steven P Hughes, Neil Degrasse Tyson (whose shadows look like outer space).


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