Etsy Made in Canada 2017

This Saturday, September 23rd I’ll once again be selling at the Etsy Made in Canada show at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto!


Check out the LookBook to see some of the gorgeous and creative goodies that will be available, and don’t forget to arrive early – the first 100 people through the doors get a fabulous swag bag! Here’s a sample from last year, and I hear this year’s is even better :D


I’ll have a few new product lines at the show this year, including Drosophila larvae, peacock spiders, and a very cool dinoflagellate!


Dinosaur Poop Necklaces to Pun-tastic Postcards: 19 Canadian Gift Ideas for the SciArt Aficionado

This is reposted from Science Borealis, authored by me with some assistance from their fine editors!


‘Tis the season for gift-giving, and what better way to make your science-obsessed loved ones happy than with unique, Canadian-made geekery? This is the first annual Science Borealis gift guide for science art to feed your soul.


For the chemist, a planter with a twist gives succulents a scientific home. The brainchild of Alexander McLachlin of Toronto, these fun planters bring the irresistible aesthetics of the lab bench into interior design. Get yours from NightshadeGlass, and grow a little chemistry of your own.

Flask Planter by NightshadeGlass


There’s no better way to say “Happy Holidays” than with a beautifully polished fossilized dinosaur poop necklace. Paleontologists and dinosaur fans will love Albertan CindyLouWho2’s genuine coprolite jewellery. 

Coprolite necklace by Cindy Lou Who


Pin down some microbiological stocking stuffers with Nicole Edmond’s handmade buttons. Choose from diatoms, spirogyra, amoebas, and more! Nicole is a Calgary-based printmaker inspired by microscopic eukaryotes and parasites (but who isn’t, right?).

Microbe pinback buttons by Nicole Edmond


Vancouver science illustrator Jen Burgess has a freshly-opened shop where you can buy beautiful prints of her original artwork, like this stunningly detailed Scrub Jay nest.

Scrub Jay nest print by Jen Burgess


Why settle for the same, dull holiday cards when you can embrace geektastic punnery? Carrie Martin of Blue Specs Studio in Guelph has a series of anatomical greeting cards to tickle your funny bone.

Punny anatomy gift card by Blue Specs Studio


Montreal artist Bettina Forget creates out-of-this-world artwork that will delight the space nerd in your life. She’s got astronomy enthusiasts covered with her print series of moon craters named for famous women of science.

Resnik crater print by Bettina Forget


Molecule mavens will be mad for Toronto’s Slashpile Designs molecular jewellery. From the subtle (H2O) to the sublime (theobromine and resveratrol, anyone?), these elegant pieces are ready for the classroom or a night on the town.

H2O necklace by Slashpile Designs


Southern Ontario-based scientific illustrator Emily Damstra creates flawlessly accurate drawings of plants and animals that will delight any ecologist, and complement a nature-inspired decor. Prints are available in a variety of styles and sizes.

Stem galls on late goldenrod by Emily Damstra


Lab microbiologists will adore these fun and funky faux streak plates from Waterloo-area microbiologists Micrelle. Pick your agar type and bacterial species, and they’ll make your very own study organism into a keychain or magnet – no biosafety certificate required!

Bacto Buddies by Micrelle


Toronto artist Glendon Mellow brings metaphor into the mix with his science-inspired artwork. He’s famous for his fancifully winged trilobites, but we love this wearable portrait of Darwin.

Darwin Took Steps tee by Glendon Mellow


Kids and adults alike will love Ele Willoughby’s squishy dinosaur plushies. Hand-printed and crafted in Toronto, each of these sweet little dinos is unique and thoroughly huggable.

Dino plush by Ele Willoughby


Ever reneged on a promise to give someone the moon? Now you can make good! Eryn Driscoll from Calgary offers sparkling, vibrant planets and dusky moons for every wardrobe.

Astronomy necklace by Eryn Driscoll


Kate McCurrach is an all-purpose science artist from Kamloops with a dizzying array of fun stocking stuffers for microbiologists, chemists, and dinosaur fans.

Famous scientists magnet set by Kate McCurrach


For the queer science art connoisseur, Ontario’s Hannah Brazeau has created a fabulous line of #scipride designs. Satisfying every branch of scientific nerd-dom, her illustrations range from microbiology to ecology to neuroscience.

SciPride neuron mug by Hannah Brazeau


Cell biologists and microbiologists with a fashionable flair will love Science Borealis’ own Peggy Muddles’ ceramic jewellery, featuring microbes, parasites, and cell organelles.

Anaplasma phagocytophilum by Peggy Muddles


If complex chemical structures are more to your taste, Rovena Tey of TheChemistTree in Toronto offers hand-drawn and often pun-packed cards, posters and more. We love this cake recipe poster!

Cake chemistry poster by Rovena Tey


Hiné Mizushima creates fantastical wool felt creatures in her Vancouver studio, as well as collage and illustration inspired by the natural world. Her unique felted wool creations sell out fast, but prints are always available!

Anatomical Female B


Science Borealis’ resident cartoonist Raymond Nakamura of Vancouver has a newly-opened shop featuring his clever science-themed comics on mugs, tees, totes, and more.

Special Relativity tote by Raymond Nakamura


Toronto’s Beautiful Biology educates and delights with child-friendly nesting dolls featuring bacteria, cell organelles, food chains, and simple representations of biological processes.

Black Bear nesting toy by Beautiful Biology


Want to support science communication with your gift? Pick your favourite inspirational quote from the 100 Reflections for Canadian Science Communication while supporting Science Borealis’s operating expenses by picking up a gift from our store.

Science Borealis gear


These are just a few of the many amazing designs by science artists in Canada. Do you have a favourite we missed? Tell us your favourite science art gift ideas in the comments, or make suggestions on Twitter with the hashtag #CanSciGift.

Art not quite what you’re looking for? Stay tuned for the next in our gift guide series, books!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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