The Building Blocks of Nature

We possess an curiosity towards Pollen and Seeds as an architectural blueprint, what with their diversity of form and complex articulated structures they provide inspiration for creativity and we have taken time to study them using a scanning electron microscope. The following images form part of a body of research carried out using equipment at the Faculty of Science and Health at Staffordshire University. This record of pollen grains and seed samples formed the initial inspiration for ideas and making. Their diversity of form and scale is as diverse as the plants from which they derive and a clear reminder that the building blocks of nature continue to provide a spur for the imagination.

The following images represent a body of research where the samples were sputtered with a fine coating of gold and captured using an electron scanning microscope and digital photography. Originally monochrome, the electron microscopy images received intuitive ‘pseudo-colour’ using digital manipulation software. The diversity of scale range from a few microns in the case of pollen grains to many centimetres for some seed samples. The pollen samples were collected in the height of summer at the beautiful gardens kept in the style of the late 18th century at Westbury Court Garden in the Forest of Dean, Southwest England.

This gave us recourse to appreciate the powerful symbolism of seeds as a carrier of markers that re-contact us with the natural world, representing the beginning and end of the life of plants and the rebirth of vegetation after the winter of dormancy. When under threat change occurs in the natural world to transform into something that will survive and become more beautiful. Nature offers visual evidence that change can be an enhancing and transformative process. This led us to experiment with the notion of ‘seeds’ as a poetic metaphor that employs a universal symbolism engaging us with the recognition of synchrony, in that we are moving from the past into the future and nothing stands still. This exploration was an attempt to deal with the notion of complex poetry becoming wrapped around an object as a simple armature for the focus of creative work.  The capacity of such objects to serve as traces of authentic experience ultimately went to influence our project Fortuitous Novelties.

Alongside our philisophical approach to ideas, as makers we are interested in the development of innovative technical processes and material investigation. This material and process knowledge is based on experimentation with a number of materials – including plastics – investigating the use of thermoset resins and predominately cast thermoplastic acrylic materials. These cast acrylics have a elastic nature when heated that can be exploited to manipulate the material using press moulds. This discovery led to an inventive method of pressing plastics being developed and tested, going on to inform the creation of a number of successful prototype pieces inspired by the forms of the discoveries found under the microscope.

 

 

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Images remain the property of DL Browett. Copyright © DL Browett 2012. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited other than the following: You may print or download to a local hard disk extracts for your personal and non-commercial use only. You may copy the content to individual third parties for their personal use, but only if you acknowledge the website as the source of the material. You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.

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