February 07, 2009

Haeckel plate of radiolarians

Louis Sullivan ornament detail

What are radiolarians? I will leave that to to answer that one, but ever since I saw the illustrations of naturalist Ernst Haeckel I have been enchanted. While Haeckel's illustrations from a purely scientific perspective are less than accurate, aesthetically they are sublime. He strove for visual symmetry which made for exquisite renderings of neat little sea creatures, but nature in reality is not so neat and tidy! When I look at the intricate, organic, and geometric shapes, I can see how architects like Louis Sullivan would have been influenced by visual patterns in natural world. I'm posting about this now, because I just found a stack of etchings that I had made a couple of years ago. I found a monotype I did of some radiolarians. I drew and etched images of radiolarians on the copper plate, inked it and ran it through an intaglio press once, and then flipped the plate and ran it through a second time on the same sheet of paper, creating a "ghost" image in the print.


  1. Reminds me of paper cut-out snowflakes. Very cool!

  2. I love these! I studied these briefly in grad school and had forgotten all about them - now I want to go back and refresh my memory.

    Printing seems like so much fun!


Tiny Aviary All rights reserved © Blog Milk - Powered by Blogger