Author Archives: michelebanks1

Art of Science: Jessica Lloyd-Jones Sculpts the Body Electric

Jessica Lloyd-Jones, Optic Nerve  2008 - 2010.              Blown glass, xenon

Jessica Lloyd-Jones, Optic Nerve 2008 – 2010.
Blown glass, xenon

Welsh artist Jessica Lloyd-Jones describes her work as merging art, science and technology. All three are certainly present in her sculpture series Anatomical Neon, which she made from 2008-2010. Lloyd-Jones describes the works on her website:

“Blown glass human organs encapsulate inert gases displaying different colors under the influence of an electric current. The human anatomy is a complex, biological system in which energy plays a vital role. Brain Wave conveys neurological processing activity as a kinetic and sensory, physical phenomena through its display of moving electric plasma. Optic Nerve shows a similar effect, more akin to the blood vessels of the eye and with a front ‘lens’ magnifying the movement and the intensity of light. Heart is a representation of the human heart illuminated by still red neon gas. Electric Lungs is a more technically intricate structure with xenon gas spreading through its passage ways, communicating our human unawareness of the trace gases we inhale in our breathable atmosphere.”

Although these pieces are beautiful in photographs, they are much more amazing in motion, so I urge you to visit Lloyd-Jones’ website and see her short videos of the pieces as the chemical light flickers through the organs. (I mean, seriously, check out the Optic Nerve). These pieces give gorgeous, graphic life to the chemical impulses shooting through our bodies and powering our minds.

Science Caturday: Laser Cats from Ceres


This week, the NASA spacecraft Dawn captured a stunning image of Ceres, a dwarf planet between Mars and Jupiter.

Earlier pictures from Dawn had shown a bright spot on the surface, and as the spacecraft got closer, another was revealed. Experts are speculating on the cause of the mysterious lights, but we’re pretty sure that one of the kitties on Ceres accidentally left his high beams on.  Set to stun, Fluffy. We come in peace.

Art of Science: Sonja Hinrichsen’s Snow Drawings


Snow Drawing, Briancon, France, 2014. Photo by Sonja Hinrichsen

Artists whose work engages with the environment often gather materials from nature – branches, dirt, soil or leaves. Sonja Hinrichsen’s art supplies simply drop from the sky. Hinrichsen creates beautiful, ephemeral artworks using snow.

Her Snow Drawings are a series of designs that are “walked into” pristine snow surfaces with snowshoes. Hinrichsen creates the design and a group of volunteers strap on snowshoes and make it. The artist then documents the work in photographs and video.

Hinrichsen says her Snow Drawings, which she has been making since 2009 in the US and Europe, “correspond with and accentuate the landscape, and I hope that they help arouse appreciation and consciousness for the natural world.”  She says she prefers to create immersive but ephemeral experiences rather than objects.

The drawing shown above was created in February 2014 in Briancon, in the Valley of Serre Chevalier, a skiing area in the French Alps. The piece was created over two days with the help of approximately 70 participants from the surrounding communities.

You can read more about these and other projects by Sonja Hinrichsen at her website.

Science Caturday: How Cold Is It?

Much of the central and eastern US has experienced record low temperatures over the past week, around 40 degrees below seasonal norms. Just how cold is it? Let’s ask this cat.


Art of Science: Paper + Scissors = Rock


Mineral sculptures by Lydia Kasumi Shirreff, 2011

Mineral sculptures by Lydia Kasumi Shirreff

Lydia Kasumi Shirreff can create most anything out of paper.  The UK-based paper sculptor has turned flattened sheets of dead trees into eye-popping 3D models of plants, animals, building, and food, just to name a few. But my fave is the geology-inspired work she produced for a 2011 show called Animal, Vegetable, Mineral. Paper, scissors, meet rock.