Microscopy and Art

Using SEM images as inspiration for sculptures

by Liz Douglas, UK

Since 1995 I have been working with young people using SEM photographs of geological and plant material as the basis for making large structures. The work is always in connection with my own art work, which is largely site specific. The SEM information that I obtain from a site is used to encourage young people to see their own environment in a new way. Using SEM photographs at different magnifications reveals aspects of plants and fossils that are invisible to the eye, but are a strong stimulus for creating imaginative work.
The project's aim is to give young people an opportunity to work together, to cooperate and to skill build. They look at seeds, for example, through an ordinary microscope, and at SEM photographs of similar material then make their own drawings which become the basis for the structure making. The projects last from half a day to one day and the longest has been one week. The SEM photographs were made by Frieda Christie, the Electron Microscopist at The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. For further information contact Liz Douglas.

Editor's note

Some of Frieda Christie's SEM images were shown in the Micscape January 1999 Image of the Month gallery.


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