Radiolarian DMO Series
My Radiolarian Design Modified Organism (DMO) series was inspired by “Art Forms in Nature” an 1862 publication of hundreds of microscopic sea creatures drawn by Ernst Haeckel during a visit to the Straight of Messina. One illustration sat on my workbench for years as I considered how to bring his drawings to life in metal. I wanted to use an ecologically friendly method that also spoke to the microscopic deep sea creature’s environment…. [Scroll down to continue reading]
The breakthrough came while researching electrolytic etching with cupric nitrate and distilled water. The method results in re-usable silver sludge and a re-invigorated eco-friendly etching solution that will last indefinitely. I relied on my engineering background to design and set up an electrolytic etching system to “breakthrough etch” all the way through silver sheet for tiny and large features simultaneously. Experiments with solution density, voltage, current, time, and positioning validated a path to achieve the tricky results.
How and why the sea has changed since Haeckel documented radiolarians in 1862 was important for me to voice in the pieces. Humans deconstruct nature to figure it out. Corporations rebuild nature as genetically modified organisms. Plastics and other contaminants in our oceans lead to more genetic modification. My radiolarian designs are modifications of the organisms deconstructed into flat layers of recycled sterling silver. Reconstructed with industrially produced stainless steel screws and nuts, each radiolaria is a wearable portrayal of a story within our oceans.