Inktober 2017 – week 2

Continuing from last week’s Inktober round-up, here are my drawings from week 2! Again, you can click on the images to go to the original tweet :)


By special request, Mark O. Martian, the space-exploring tardigrade.

Thwaitesia argentiopunctata

Peacock spider mating dance

Stem cell differentiation


Steam locomotive


Catching up

I was going through some old photos on my phone and discovered a few custom pieces I never ended up posting about here. Most of the time when I do custom orders, they’re for designs I already have in the shop, but just in a different colour or shape. Every once in a while, though, I get to flex my sculpting muscles a bit and play with something completely unique. Here are just a few of the special orders I’ve created for customers over the last couple of years.

Bird feather and DNA custom pendant in blue
Bird feather and DNA custom pendant
Soybean and DNA bean pod custom pendant
Soybean and DNA bean pod custom pendant
Moon custom bracelet
Moon custom bracelet
Ocelot custom pendant
Ocelot custom pendant

Spidery Goodness

I’ve done a few fun things with spiders recently, and thought I’d share them with you. Over the last couple of years I’ve made friends with some spider nerds on Twitter, who have naturally only encouraged my existing fascination with these elegant critters.

One of these delightful humans is the excellent @Cataranea, who studies Latrodectus spiders – you’ll know the most famous member of this genus as the black widow. Catherine asked me to create a logo for a crowdfunding campaign last year. She was raising money for field experiments in BC, looking at mating habits in a wild Latrodectus population there. My design for that project needed to be friendly and accessible, but still capture the essential form of the male and female of the species:

#TeamBlackWidow logo

Catherine is also responsible for a new jewellery design :)

It took a couple of tries to get the stamp sculpt right, and frankly these are a huge pain to glaze, but man, are they ever worth it!

Black Widow stamp sculpt
Stamped pendants-to-be
Black Widow bracelet!
Black Widow necklace

One more black widow design came out of a ridiculous Twitter conversation, and quickly because one of my favourite t-shirt designs to date:

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Brown recluse and black widow: “Don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing”.

Finally, I turned my attention to one of the world’s most charming dancers, the vibrantly-coloured Peacock spider. I’me particularly delighted with how well these beauties came out, and hope to sell out of them soon so I have an excuse to paint some more!

Peacock spider pendants

here be dragons

this one has been a long time in the making.

about two years ago, i started vending at small local craft shows, getting my feet wet and trying to figure out how one does this selling-of-art stuff. one of the graduate students in my lab, who is quite possibly the best person on the planet, and certainly better than you or i, soon asked if he could come assist me at my table. he asked nothing in return, and in fact refused to accept any reimbursement i offered. he helped me at a half dozen or so shows over the course of that year. finally, he asked one small boon. a little thing, really. no trouble at all. he just wanted a dragon mug.

well, how could i say no? it wasn’t possible to refuse. so i tried. i made aborted dragon mug attempts again and again, never happy with the results. they were too heavy, too awkward, too unbalanced. not at all the thing to repay a young man for so very many hours of carefully preparing packaging, sitting my booth while i got up and chatted with other vendors, and generally keeping me sane. it took me several months before i hit upon the design that would work, and another four months to implement it, since i couldn’t do it at my usual studio*.

so here it is, in all its glory, with in-progress shots from every stage of development: the dragon mug.

IMG_2421 IMG_2427 IMG_6094 IMG_6087 IMG_6089dragon_mug_01_smalldragon_mug_02_smalldragon_mug_03_smalldragon_mug_04_smalldragon_mug_05_small

gosh i hope he likes it.

*my usual studio is all low-fire earthenware pottery, which is fine for decorative work, but not really sturdy enough for daily washing and microwaving and such. i made the dragon mug from a stoneware clay that was fired at a much higher temperature, and should withstand years of abuse.

Campylobacter jejuni custom necklace

I recently received this really fun commission request from @TCNoel, a microbiology professor and outstanding human being. Even though the design I came up with meant going a little outside my comfort zone, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a little fun with this one. I had to play around a bit with different types of wire to figure out how to manage the bipolar flagellae. I had to make sure it was going to hold its shape well even with regular wear. I finally settled on a 20ga memory wire, which was a bit of a pain to work with and chewed the heck out of my fancy new wire snips. Still, totally worth it, I think :)