Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Comb Jelly Linocut


I also made a straightforward linocut of the comb jelly. It's a monoprint on black Japanese kozo (or mulberry) paper. It is 20.5 cm by 25 cm or 8.1 inches by 9.8 inches. The handmade paper has a deckle edge.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sneak peek of the Bioluminescent Comb Jelly Light Box

I haven't posted much by way of new creations lately. That's because I've been working on some larger projects (including the Space Jellyfish Fractal Triangle Quilt). I've been developping a prototype of a planned Bioluminescent Comb Jelly Light Box. What's a comb jelly? Well, they are these marvellous jellyfish-like marine creatures, the Ctenophora. The combs are the celia (the hairy bits) which they oscillate to swim. They are also voracious, invisible to prey, hermaphrodictic, and bioluminescent. Sometimes, I think that our science fiction depictions of space aliens are too tame; there are stranger creatures here on earth.


Compare, for instance with this:

The flashing is actually quite rapid. I took some artistic license here. Though it would be easy to use rapidly flashing LEDs to imitate the natural rythms of the bioluminescent comb jelly, I was concerned about the irriations/potential for inducing seizures of rapidly flashing lights.


I've been wanting to combine the two sides of my brain my scientific/technical background with my art, or to continue the trend (started with my experiments in thermochromic ink). I thought I would begin encorporating some electronics into my pieces. I am starting small. This is actually, a very very simple circuit.


I've simply combined a 9 Volt battery, with a and on/off switch on the positive rail, and a series/parallel LED array of these nifty, Diffused 5mm Slow Fade Flashing RGB LED. If you aren't used to thinking about electronics, this really is simple - trust me. If you can screw in a lightbulb, you can do this... with a little bit of practice. There are many LED calculators (like this one, for instance) which will tell you how to hook up arrays of LEDs. Basically, you need to make sure you have they with the right polarity (positive end to positive, negative to negative), you limit current (include appropriate resistors), and provide power. That's it. It is posible to get colour changing LEDs which you control with a microcontroller (the guts of a simple computer... basically a chip, which may have some bells and whistles), but since I just wanted the colours to change, these slow fade, self-flashing LEDs make everything simple. They only have the two leads (positive, and negative), so you can treat them like regular LEDs and they automatically fade and change colour. Because they are not manufactured completely uniformly, they do not synch up - which was precisely what I wanted.

I say 'transparent' when I mean 'translucent', but there you are. I plan some better images and video soon.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Copernicus

I read recently in the Globe and Mail that Nicolaus Copernicus was born on February 19, 1473, so I would like to wish him a happy birthday. He looks good for 539, no?

In case you were wondering:
This is an original 2 colour linoleum block print showing Copernicus and his model of the celestial spheres, or as we would say, the solar system. Copernicus is shown in green with a lily of the valley, the standard Renaissance symbol to indicate a medical doctor, since like most proto-scientists, or 'philosophers' (doctors of philosophy) he learned his astronomy incidentally, since astrology was considered a vital diagnostic tool for medicine. His planetary model is shown as he conceived it in gold. Using the ancient Greek and Roman symbols, the heliocentric solar system has the following planets: Mercury (the fleet-footed messenger with his serpents and staff, the caduceus), Venus (goddess of beauty - the mirror, like an ankh), Earth (4 cardinal directions), Mars (spear and shield), Jupiter (thunderbolt) and Saturn (the scythe of Time). The outer planets had yet to be discovered. Beyond Saturn, he envisioned the sphere of the "fixed stars".

Copernicus' great work, "De revolutionibus orbium coelestium libri sex" (or "Six Books on the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres"), commonly known as "De Revolutionibus" (or "On the Revolutions") was finally approved for publication as he lay on his death bed. Was this due to perfectionism, fears, or religious belief and the concerns that displacing the Earth from the centre of the universe might conflict with literal interpretations of the Bible - perhaps we will never know. But we do know that as a consequence of the publication of this provocative volume, the Western world experienced what is now known as the Copernican Revolution. This is a landmark in the history of science and culture.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Break out the cinnamon hearts...


I hope you have a good Valentine's Day - the annual celebration of eating a frightening number of cinnamon hearts. This is a holiday I enjoyed as a child; my mother always had a heart-shaped box full of cinnamon hearts and other goodies for my brothers and I. As an adult, it seems to me like Valentine's Day has become a way to pressure couples to spend money, and to make singles feel abnormal. So I'm all for reclaiming Valentine's Day. Love is a good thing; endulge yourself (the person you should remember to love), and remember all your loved ones (friends, family, pets, whomever). If you do get to spend your day with a sweetheart, have fun, and don't let anyone tell you what symbols are necessary to show that your love is true. There's more to love than romantic love, and there's more than one way to express any sort of love. Do whatever you want to do.

I like to make (slightly irreverent) Valentines myself. I am very happy to have received a beautiful bouquet this morning. I think I was as impressed that he managed to surprise me; I have no idea where he could have hidden the flowers. RJH said Minouette helped (by agreeing not to eat said flowers). I love my little family.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Space Jellyfish Fractal Triangle Quilt


Yes, you read right. Reynardin seems to have given me the plague her cold, but I have managed to sew with a fever this week. See, I had some completely awesome (if I do say so myself) space fabric printed with imagery I downloaded from NASA (credit: NASA/courtesy of They kindly keep the vast majority of their photography open source and you can use it, though they appreciate a credit. See? I did too need more fabric.


So, I planned this quilt as a giant fractal Sierpiński Triangle, with nested lino block printed fractal Sierpiński Triangles). Also, some of the downward pointing triangles which by default are space imagery are replaced by my block printed jellyfish on dark blue fabric). I carefully arranged the triangles so that areas with nebulae were nearby one another (nebulous areas? nebularful? nebulicious?) and the starry, mostly dust-free regions were near one another. So it's space, jellyfish, fractal triangle FTW. This is just the quilt top, so this is still a work in progress. I bought some glow-in-the-dark thread for the actual quilting, bwhahaha!


I'll get some proper photos of it when it's complete.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

1300 hearts!

JRT love♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
I don't know why I'm so silly about hearts, but I really do love watching the number of People who have favorited minouette. It broke 1300 today! Yay! A sincere thanks to each and every one.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day!

groundhog 002

Well, it's that time of year again, midway between Solstice and Equinox, when we turn to the weather prognosticating rodents to assess of chances of better weather. Since this part of Ontario has been spared much winter at all, it may not surprise you to learn that Wiarton Willie (technically, Wee Willie, as the original, or at least, most recent albino Wiaton Willie is desceased) and his Nova Scotia cohort Shubenacadie Sam both did not see their shadows this morning. If you believe the (wildly inaccurate*) weather prognostication of rodents, readers south of the border may be dismayed that Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil disagrees, having observed his own shadow. However, this year, thanks to the positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation much of North America has had low snow cover and warmer-than-average temperatures. So, for once, I think that there has not been much winter to speak of, and the Canadian groundhogs may actually be right.

The photo, of course, is of two copies of my a groundhog and his thermochromic shadow linocut - on Japanese kozo paper 11" by 12.5" (28 cm by 31.8 cm). The shadow on the left has been heated, and thus it disappeared. So the print itself serves as a prognosticating groundhog for Groundhog Day! If the shadow is heated above 30°C (86 F) then it turns colourless. And let's face it; if it's February 2, and your artwork is > 30°C (86 F) you either a) live in the tropics north of the equator b) live in the Southern Hemisphere or c) need to turn the thermostat down ASAP. So, there's a pretty good chance that this print can accurately predict that there will not be 6 more weeks of winter (to a degree of accuracy at least comparable to any celebrity rodent).

*Estimated at 37% accuracy

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Animal Pillows

ikuko the giraffe
ikuko giraffe reverse
cat, reverse

RJH is kind enough to let me play use his camera, so I've been photographing and relisting all my block printed pillows. He must really love me, cause I don't think (between you, me and the lamp-post) that I could let him borrow the gravitymeter -the differential pressure gauge maybe; that thing is damn near indestructible. Luckily, he would have little to no use for either, and the photogs view cameras as tools to be used which must not be fragile.

p.s. If you would like a new internet habit (hahaha) you can find minouette on Pinterest. Leave a link if you've got one too.