Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday Wonder: Fascinating Art of Diatoms

Klaus Kemp has the distinction of being known as "the last surviving diatomist", that is, one who makes art from tiny single-cell photosynthesizing algae, using his microscope to arrange them on microslides into what appear to be gorgeously colorful mosaics or mandelas. (Diatoms are described as "of the largest and ecologically most significant groups of organisms on Earth", according to David G. Mann at the Tree of Life Web project.) 

Kemp is the subject of Matthew Killip's film (see the video below), which premiered at The New York Times T Magazine. Kemp, who has been enthralled by the beauty of the organisms since he was a teenager, learned on his own how to become a diatomist, following the practice as it was done in the Victorian era. His creations are stunning collectibles.

Visit Klaus Kemp at Microlife Services, where you'll find a Diatom Database, the image of the month, and The Amateur Diatomist Website.

The California Academy of Sciences has a collection of diatom arrangements, which include arrangements by R.F. Behan, R.I. Firth, W.M. Grant, and A.L. Brigger, none scientists. 

Go to Flickr to see more of these arrangements from the CAS collection.

An additional treat: "Nature Through Microscope and Camera (1909)" at The Public Domain

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is seriously cool. Thank you for sharing on She Writes. I can't wait to show my son tomorrow!