Saturday, February 27, 2010

Artistic Scientist Artist

Ernst Haeckel - Born at just the right time to be able to have the best job in the world: both artist, explorer and naturalist. Back in the grand age of (European) discovery you couldn't just pop out some fancy pants camera and get super macro shots of an ants behind: you had to have an artist to visually document all the bizarre new organisms that were discovered.

 The dashing Mr. Haeckel age 26

I am a huge fan of antique natural history prints and I have a special place in my heart for Ernst Haeckel. Since a very young age I have been fascinated by the natural world and about the things I could create with a pen in my hand. I played with the idea of becoming a marine biologist, a cartoonist, a veterinarian, a fashion designer, an finally settle on studying the Fine Arts. 

In school I was once referred to as an 'artist scientist' and wondered why it was considered odd to have interests in other fields: I mean what are you going to with your art? Eventually I dropped out of University without any idea of what to do. I went looking for a job were I could satisfy my urge to learn something new and work with nature: I got hired to work in a commercial greenhouse. That's when it all came back to me....I missed this world so much I became an absolute plant fanatic with a huge collection many of which I grew grown from seed. I tried selling some and photography fed my need for visual aesthetics.


My love of plants also got me into the world of antique natural history prints; before then I thought I was the only one who saw the beauty of fungus and jellyfish. I mean with a title like 'Art Forms in Nature' I knew I'd found the jackpot! If you want to blow your mind check out Haeckel's most famous work: Art Forms in Nature. (Note: If you want to skip the pages of (German) text just click on the links in the large rectangular box.) His work has been an inspiration for architects, designers and artists of every kind!

My favorite plate:
Plate 70. Ophiodea
Basket starfish

With the renewed interest of natural history in the arts amazing artwork has multiplied and sites such as Etsy have allowed me to discovered other artists/naturalists who have found a way to combine both disciplines:


It's even made out of recycled materials! Inspired by the amazing Veiled Stinkhorn from Haeckel's illustration. Stinkhorns are a family of fungus known for being phallus shaped and very very stinky. The stinkiness is a ploy to get carrion flies to spread their spores.
Plate 63 Basimycetes
I think I'm going to commission a T-shirt with this print that says 'The Fungus Among Us"


made using Haeckel's Moss plate
Plate 72. Muscinae

Oak cabinet with copper and glass inserts depicting Haeckels microscopic organisms.

Inspired by Haeckels protozoa illustrations

Haeckel's Plate 91. Spumellaria

HAeckel's Plate 56. Copepoda

Haeckel's Plate 38. Peromedusae

And the so popular Earnst Haeckel jellyfish...

from Plate 8. Discomedusae

From the world of Fine Arts, the mother of all odes to Haeckel's Art Forms in Nature:
From his exhibition Villa Medusa 2006 a giant silicone rubber and fiber optic chandelier by Timothy Horn

Plate 88. Discomedusae
I owe a lot to Ernst Haeckel and many fellow Etsians for making me feel a little less like a complete nerd for choosing seaweed as my 3rd grade science project.

I mean, jellyfish, rocks and minerals, and scientific diagrams no one can understand are now fashionable!
Next thing you know people will be naming their babies with Latin botanical nomenclature....Oh filipendulaaaaa!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Eye Candy of the Day - Spider Preserves

Here are two amazing human / spider collaborations. And best of all, they don't involve cooking.
Yes, that's a real spider web set in glass.


Yes, it's a beaded, life-size rendering of a garden variety spider web.

I'm still waiting for the day spiders start selling crochet earrings and doily face scrubs on Etsy.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snow is a four letter word - The Canadian Weather Olympics

Uh oh..
I thought we might have made it to Spring without too much snow but its lookin' pretty bad out there.

Yes, green things do eventually grow here, and girls do walk around in short shorts and flip-flops part of the year, but no matter how long people have lived here we act all surprised when it just keeps getting colder and there's just so much darn snow. It's Canada's real national sport: who can stir the most emotion with our personal outrage at the weather.

So really, it's in my blood to bitch about snow.

Montreal: the coldest major city in Canada, yet the warmest in Quebec. From Wiki I just learned "It has one of the coldest winter climates of any large city in the world".  We rock!...

Although I feel for those shoveling snow outside in Winnipeg: the coldest city in the world. Of course the reason they're No 1 is partly because a city is defined as having more than 600 000 inhabitants. But then this would be proof that Alaska and Siberia have fewer insane people.

I mean really, Alberta has been deemed the province/territory with the most comfortable weather in Canada by Environment Canada even though they are in the top10 of the coldest cities.

And Quebec is 2nd behind frikkin' Nunavut as having most freezing days in SUMMER.
Seriously check out the Canadian Weather Winners. Best fun I've had all week.

Quebec's Awards

Cloudiest sky year-round
Most Snow Days Annually
Snowiest Fall

Greatest Average Snow Depth on January 31st.
Lowest Average Pressure
Most Blowing Snow Days
Most Wet Days - Annually
Most Wet Days - During the warm season

Coldest Spring
Longest Snow Cover Season
Most Deep Snow Cover Days
Snowiest Province/Territory

Do you see all those those 4 letter words? At least the snow makes things brighter with all that lack of Sun. We're second to last for Sunniest Days year round.

So I can only conclude that the award for least insane people should go to the residents of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island.


It would be wise of me to move to one of those provinces but then I suspect I would very much miss the bitching.

And then there's Spring in Quebec...

That huuuge orgasmic sigh of relief!





But you know, it's not safe to plant your tomatoes outside before Mother's Day...
And don't even get me started on the heating bill...

Eye Candy of the Day!

Holy Frack!
Sci-fi Steam Punk sculptures and jewelry by fellow Montrealer (woop woop!) Daniel Proulx of 



Several pieces were on display at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford UK during the world's first exhibition on Steam Punk Art: Steampunk: Contraptions + Devices Extraordinaire

Check out the museum's Steampunk Exhibition blog 

Catherinette Rings Blog: