June 7, 2009

Crossing the Boundaries of Science and Art

Filed under: Art and Drawings,Events,Science and Art — sarah @ 8:15 pm

Cheltenham is famed for its festivals and has a Science Festival ironically as I am a trained scientist (geology) I found out about the Science Festival last year from a poet!

This year there was an ecological art space organised with the Environment Agency where the Biologist and Artist Dr Lizzie Burns and her friend Matt where helping people explore the natural world through art. Getting children especially or so it seemed to me! to think about the world and our impact of the environment.

My little girl had a great time painting our garden onto the big white column just outside the Environment Agency Cafe. I had to label things as being 3yrs old some of the things were not that obvious. There were pots of clay and a watering can of water to make a ‘paint’ out of the clay and then lots of paint brushes!

working on the pond now Jean painting tadpoles ecology and nature art gets big Clay painted wall

Lizzie said it was great to work big like this and I felt it contrasted very well with Matt’s seeds – he had a table with different types of seeds on it – wild banana, seeds that float on the sea, a tub of 20 different tree seeds and so on. He then gave the children the option of making seeds out of clay themselves or drawing some. There were two colours of clay red/brown and white clay.

There where lots colouring pens and things avaliable for the children to colour there seeds and decorate them if they wished – my three year olds seeds were basically clay blobs with no colour on them but hey she tried 🙂

seeds from clay

I am myself known (on twitter at least! plus in various poetry and science groups) as the Artistic Scientist or the Scientific Artist – you choose because I can’t/wont! So I was very excited to find someone who not only is trying to cross the percieved boundaries between these two areas but is being active and successful with it. She runs workshops on lots of fun things using art to interest people in science and to explore science giving it back the sense of adventure that is often lost in modernity.

She also makes fantastic molecular jewellery which is an idea me and Ella (Chemist come writer/poet/photographer) during our undergraduates but we never got around to doing anything about it – the closes I got is making tertiary and quarternary structures out of my wire working and thinking about protiens :). Lizzies work is bueatful and she embroiders ties and things.

If I had more money than I currently do I would get some of the jewellery for Ella as a congratulations presant on completing her PhD! (Ella if I ever get out of debt name your molecule!).

My Geo-Vases are probably the closest I come in the visual arts to this kind of thing (not sure that loo roll hubbles and pompom comets count!).

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