10 Ways To Boost Your Microbiota On Etsy

This is a guest post by Chris Taylor of tcustom.

Each of us is a walking world of microbes… read on, though, before you start scrubbing! The few dangerous microorganisms tend to get all of the press, but the vast majority of the bacteria, protozoans, archaea, fungi and viruses are indifferent, or even beneficial to us. Artists draw inspiration from all sorts of unlikely sources – even your gut flora! This ‘probiotic’ collection of work created by scientifically minded crafters, is designed to foster appreciation and understanding of this hidden world, which we are just beginning to understand.

Black Petri Dishes Silk Charmeuse Scarf

Who says bacteria aren’t beautiful? Glamorous and geeky at the same time, this gorgeous silk scarf is printed in vibrant rainbow colors, with a collage of microbes in culture. (Available from artologica.etsy.com)

Bacterial Capsule Hand-Pulled Linocut Print

Decorate your walls with abstract bacterial art. This print is based off of the nose and throat dwelling pneumococcus. This bacteria can be a goodie or a baddie, so roll the dice and hang one on your wall. (Available from LoveBacteriaArt.etsy.com)

Thermochromic Linocut Louis Pasteur

This colour-changing thermochromic linocut portrait shows microbiology pioneer Louis Pasteur, surrounded by bacteria. If you heat the print above 30C (86 F) the bacteria turn colourless and disappear, reappearing only when it cools. The print itself is a metaphor for pasteurization! (Available from minouette.etsy.com)

Microbe Buttons

A diverse selection of protozoans and other microbes are exactingly depicted in this collection of handmade buttons from emerging artist Nicole Edmond. Nicole uses etching, silkscreening, and other print-media techniques to explore the grotesque beauty within the infinitesimal world that surrounds our everyday lives. (Available from NicoleEdmond.etsy.com)

Saccharomyces – Budding Yeast Earrings

Fermentation, gratification and ornamentation for all beer drinkers, wine connoisseurs and bread lovers alike with these sterling silver Saccharomyces yeast earrings. (Available from Ontogenie.etsy.com)

Sparkly Petri Dish Coasters 

Use these petri-dish inspired coasters to protect your furniture when you’re feeding your gut bacteria a tasty beverage! (Available from ProtonPaperie.etsy.com)

Microbe Collection Watercolor Print

Artist Sandra Black Culliton utilizes the fluidity and transparency of watercolor to convey the beauty of microbes as they appear through the microscope. From gram positive cocci to acid fast bacilli, this fine art print gathers various bacteria into one stunning display. (Available from sandraculliton.etsy.com)

Articulating Microbiology Keepsakes 

Many of these microbiological cast creations have articulating parts, allowing you to peer within at the marvelous microscopic machinations of life! (Available from tcustom.etsy.com)

Pseudomonas earringae Bacteria Earrings

Pseudomonas syringae may infect your beans, but are perfectly safe for your ears (and they produce a protein that makes ice for your local ski hill, so we love them no matter what they do to our beans). (Available from theVexedMuddler.etsy.com)

Microbial Art Glass

A wide range of microbial glass art items made by Jane Hartman. These include wall panels, dishes, menorahs, and pendants featuring viruses, bacteria, protozans, and fungi. (Available from trilobiteglassworks.etsy.com)

Etsy shop feature: ESeas


ESeas is a fairly recent addition to the Etsy #SciArt community, but owner Dr. Elizabeth Sargent has caught the attention of ocean lovers with her remarkable polymer clay creations. Strange deep-sea creatures, hypnotic plankton blooms, and even entire marine ecosystems are brought to life on decorative plates perfect for display or for storing little trinkets.


Oarfish dish


Plankton Bloom
Coral Reef

As a biologist studying phytoplankton and marine ecology, Dr. Sargent brings a wealth of knowledge to her art. Each of her tiny ecological scenes shows key species appropriate to that ecosystem, and both plants and animals alike are cunningly and accurately sculpted.


Sea nettle jellyfish

Check out the full shop at ESeas.Etsy.com for more delightful #SciArt, and follow her on twitter @ESeas_SciArt for art and @esargent184 for science.


Show prep and new designs


I’ve been a bit quiet online of late, but life behind the scenes has been anything but. June is fast approaching, and with it the annual meetings of CSM and ASM, where I’ll have booths selling my nerdy treasures. Preparations are well underway, and I’ll have some brand new stuff for the microbiology crowd this year. Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the designs that will be available.


I’m also working on brand new Toxoplasma gondii and chloroplast stamps, so I should have a few of those ready for the shows as well.

Because I’m not all micro all the time, I’ve got a few new designs that are less microscopic in nature as well. Here are my new cricket, black widow, cobweb, and mammary gland designs brought to life.


I probably won’t be adding many new pieces to the shop until after CSM and ASM are over, but if you see a design here that isn’t available online, don’t hesitate to hit me up. I’m just stockpiling :)

ASM Art Walk!


In exciting news for #sciart nerds, ASM Microbe 2016 is going to be featuring microbiology art! In fact, ASM this year has wholeheartedly embraced art, with both an Art Walk featuring microbial art vendors, and an entire session of talks about microbial art and outreach.

Titled “At the Intersection of Art and Microbiology“, this session was spearheaded by Vincent Racaniello (@profvrr), Jennifer Gardy (@jennifergardy), and Mark Owen Martin (@markowenmartin), all microbiologists and vocal advocates of science art. Speakers will include artists and professors of microbiology covering a range of topics exploring art as a tool for outreach, engagement, and learning. With a great lineup of speakers, it’s sure to make for an entertaining and informative afternoon. Especially since Michele and I are going to be speakers! Seriously we’re going to be awesome, you should come listen to us.

Now, onto the good stuff: the Art Walk! So far there are three confirmed artists attending, but I’ll update here if more sign on.

Michele Banks (@artologica) is a professional artist whose ethereal microbiology and cell biology watercolour paintings explore not only the beautiful and varied forms of bacteria, viruses, and cells, but also our relationship with the microbial world.




Jane Hartman (Trilobite Glass Works) is a glass artist with a science background that is evident in the accuracy of her works. Whimsy permeates her fused glass creations, from googly-eyed planarians to escape-artist Cholera cells.




The Vexed Muddler (that’s me!) is a lab technician, potter, and digital artist with a long history of making up the rules as she goes along.




You can find all the exhibiting artists in the exhibit hall, by the Wellness Zone.



A Very Vexed Holiday Gift Guide


It’s that time of year again, when every blog on the planet has gift guides for the generic _____  in your life. Here at TVM, though, we (and by we I mean the cats and I) are far too discerning for that. Instead, we’re going to show you the very finest in nerdy gifts for some extremely specific people! So grab your right-click-open-in-new-tab, because we’re going on a scienterrific ride!


1. For the bioinformatician who specializes in bacterial evolution and keeps coming to your desk with her laptop to show you her latest network phylogeny, seriously, look at this recombination(!!!), a gorgeous Sandra Culliton original watercolour

2. For the microbiologist who can never find a drink coaster when he needs one, ProtonPaperie has you covered with fun and funky petri dish coasters

3. For your favourite programmer whose cactus collection is second-to-none, keznr offers cute generative 3D-printed cactus pots il_fullxfull.757452791_6m49

4. For your doctor, whose office is always on the chilly side, a gloriously vivid cellular portrait of humanity, in scarf form, from Artologica

5. For your neighbourhood entomologist who always wanted to be an engineer until that parasite hijacked his brain and told him to study bugs instead, crazy-beautiful articulated insects by MetalCakes

6. For your friend the astronomy nut who will definitely end up a crazy cat lady in 20 years, OXHIP put some CATS INNN SPAAAAAAAAACE

7. For the kid with the magnetic personality who is often found turning over rotting logs and poking through dirt, Nicole Edmond has beautiful silkscreen print chanterelle magnets

8. For the virologist who can barely wait until Thanksgiving is over to whip into a Christmas-decorating frenzy, funky 3D-printed virus ornaments by craftgeeks – they come with an information sheet, complete with references! il_fullxfull.845036152_odjq

9. For your oddball cousin the philosopher who still has imaginary friends, Minouette has the perfect hand-pulled prints

10. I saved the best for last. This one is for you, the one who believes that kids should have books that inspire and delight, who thinks that kids of every colour and gender should see themselves in their heroes, who loves science and wants to show the next generation that science is fun and engaging and most of all a thing that they can do. This amazing children’s book by Sean Reed does all that, and it’s got great art, too :)

Plus, one of the perk levels includes an exclusive charm bracelet made by yours truly! Here’s a sneak peek at the prototype:
moon bracelet prototype

Etsy Made in Canada is this weekend!


I’m ready, are you?

IMG_6996 IMG_6997 IMG_7225 IMG_7239

You can find me in the West Atrium, with my lovely assistants Muddles and Timothy :)

Here’s a sneak peek (courtesy of the Toronto Etsy Street Team) at some of the cool swag going into the swag bags for the first 100 people through the door!10330520_10153051144726232_6318404203525444265_n 11953022_10153051144731232_7516843564185746745_n12038394_10153073719271232_4502580398947783553_n 12039251_10153073719266232_5616623784006469064_n

There are also some very cool free workshops on offer:

See you there!

#sciart find of the day


I just realized “of the day” makes it sound like I do this daily. Yeah, right. I barely manage to …uh nevermind *cough*

So, today’s very cool science art comes from California, where some dude named Mark makes crazy stuff out of metal. He makes some very pretty garden art of a more standard sort, but what caught my eye is this brilliant Stegosaurus:


I’m also mad about his Ammonite sculpture:


Go on and check out his other cool stuff in his Etsy shop, MANmadeMetal.