Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Trying some ideas for a new project

When you look at the natural world, and particularly when you look at it under a microscope, it starts to look very abstract.

This image, for example, isn't a piece of contemporary art, it's a cross section of bone seen under a microscope.

Compact bone, from human femur. Bone is made up of two types of tissue: the compact bone forms a shell around the spongy cancellous bone that makes up the marrow space in the centre. Compact bone provides strength and rigidity and is solid in appearance. It is composed of a layered matrix of organic substances and inorganic salts that form around an intricate network of vasculature called Haversian canals.  Credit: Ivor Mason, KCL, Wellcome Images.:
Image from Wellcome.ac.uk

This is the same thing at an even greater magnification.  These round structures with the little holes in the middle are called osteons, which are essentially the building blocks of bone.

COMPACT BONE. in electron microscope. looks like weird sand dunes. central hole, haversian canal obvious. lacuna are the tinier holes:
Image from Psmicrographs.co.uk.

I've been playing around with three little panels showing cross sections of a femur at progressively greater levels of magnification.

Panel number one is a cross section showing the compact bone around the outside, and the spongy bone in the center of the femur where the marrow sits.  This piece is made from paper and plaster.

The next one is all paper, and shows the osteons in the compact bone, like that second picture I showed in this post.  It's very much a work in progress at this stage, but hopefully you can get some idea of what it will be like.

I'll talk about the third panel another time, because so far I don't really have anything there to talk about.  What I'd like to achieve is something that captures the abstract look of bone structure under a microscope - something that's all about colour and shape. 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Just for fun

No, I haven't abandoned this blog, nor have I stopped making sculpture.   I've just been really,  really slack about posting.  For reasons that aren't entirely clear to me I've been having something of a creative dry spell and I have a largish project that I started on, but which just doesn't seem to be coming together.  Eventually I thought screw it, I'll just play around with some fun things instead.

One result of this was a number of little paper beads made to look like shark vertebrae.

Shark vertebrae have a really cool texture along the side, made from tiny bone septa (ridges).  This is primarily what attracts me to them; the texture is interesting and I wanted to see if I could reproduce it in paper.

For comparison, here are some real shark vertebrae.  The little holes you see in the picture are where the vertebral spines would have attached when the shark was alive.  I included vertebral spines on the ones I made.

Image found here.