Monday, 14 September 2015

Time to give the hand a vascular system

In some ways this is my favourite bit.  I'm fascinated by the vascular system and I love making blood vessels, even though it does take forever.  I like the way they curl and twist around.  If you look at blood vessels, you see they don't grow in straight lines.  Anatomical diagrams tend to simplify the shapes of the blood vessels to make it easier to see what goes where, a bit like railway route maps.  With the real thing there's a lot more variation.









What you're looking at here is the main arterial system from the palm of the hand, with the superficial palmar arch and the deep palmar arch, plus the digital arteries branching off into the fingers.

These arteries are made from wire wrapped with paper.  The wire is mostly "reclaimed" from a knackered appliance that I binned last week, and it's great for this kind of thing.  Each wire is made up of individual strands about the same diameter as hairs, which I can use to make arteries of all sizes.  

The arteries start off looking like this:




Then they get a coat of paint, and I glue them to the skeleton.  The standard convention is to show arteries in red and veins in blue, so my arteries are red - actually a mixture of alizarin, cadmium red, and quinacridone magenta with a slight hint of Payne's grey.  The next thing will be to make arteries for the back of the hand, and some veins for the palm.