Diatoms
NeptunesTribute-4-120413

Neptune's Tribute- A bowl inspired by the frustule of a diatom with an octopus as a pedestal.----SOLD

NeptunesTribute-8-120413

Neptune's Tribute- Bowl-Ash, aniline dye, 7”D x 2.25”H, Pedestal-ash, aniline dye, 5.75”H----SOLD

DiatomaceousEarth-16-120103

Diatomaceous Earth- The form of the globe is based on the frustule of the Stephanopyxis diatom, which was a no brainer shoe in for the latitude and longitude lines man uses to map the Earth.----AVAILABLE

DiatomaceousEarth-9-120102

Diatomaceous Earth- Globe-cherry, Lacquer, 4.5” D; Tree-desert ironwood, 12”x9”x6”----AVAILABLE

DiatomicBox-20-111217

Diatomic box- All of the pierced elements are based on real diatom frustules, but are a combination of several to make the piece more interesting.----AVAILABLE

DiatomicBox-9-111217

Diatomic box- Swiss pear wood, 2 7/8”H x 2 1/4’”D, tung oil/varnish mix.----AVAILABLE

DiatomIV-16-120101

Diatom IV- Based on Triceratium sp diatoms.----AVAILABLE

DiatomIV-18-120101

Diatom IV- Box Elder, aniline dyes, acrylics, Krylon, 6.5” D x 2.25”H----AVAILABLE

DiatomIII-9-110825

Diatom III- A diatom box based on the diatom skeletonema punctuatum.----AVAILABLE

DiatomIII-20-110825

Diatom III- Maple, Acrylics and Fixatiff, 4.5” D x 6”H----AVAILABLE

DiatomII-2-110526

Diatom II- Based on the Stephanopyxis turris diatom. This diatom’s skeleton (frustule) is laid in a hexagonal pattern, but has 10 pentagons mixed in the pattern that allows the whole pattern to become a sphere.----AVAILABLE

DiatomII-4-110526

Diatom II- A pic showing both halves of the box. Black Agate wood, 4” D----AVAILABLE

DiatomI-1-110426

Diatom I- Based on a sacnning electron micrograph of a Coscinodiscus diatom.----AVAILABLE

DiatomI-7-110427

Diatom I- German Hornbeam, acrylics, 5.5”D x 1.5”H----AVAILABLE

Diatoms

Diatoms are a major group of algae and the most common type of phytoplankton. They pervade the aquatic environments, both fresh water and salt water. Collectively, they are the largest mass of photosynthetic life thus one of earths largest carbon dioxide sinks. These microscopic plants have a skeleton made of silica which is left behind after they die and form the source of diatomaceous earth.

Diatoms are usually unicellular, but can exist as colonies. There are about 100,000 species of diatoms in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Diatoms have an amazingly intricate and beautiful cell wall (called a frustule) when studied using a scanning electron microscope. Images of these frustules that I have found searching the internet form the inspiration for this series.

I cannot do justice to some of the more intricate frustules, but have attempted to reveal their beauty and structure. As in some of my other explorations with math and nature, I have found some of these patterns revealed in the diatoms. One of the more interesting formed the inspiration for Diatom 2. It’s frustule was composed of a lattice of hexagons that built up a spherical cell wall. On close inspection I found that there were a few pentagons mixed in the structure. This led me to explore the geometry of building domes using hexagons. Buckminster Fuller was the pioneer in geodesic domes and one of the most basic domes he built was known as the “Bucky Ball”. He found that you cannot build a dome, or sphere, with just hexagon units, an occasional pentagon is required in a pattern. A very simple example of the mix of hexagons and pentagons is the soccer ball. Nature figured this all out millions of years before Buckminster Fuller.