Three-dimensional Illustration and Installation of Pollen Spores Represented through Ceramics
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This series of works uses dimensionality, scale, and material to exaggerate a biologically important structure, pollen. Pollination in angiosperms is crucial to many food systems, including ours, as well as sustainability in ecosystems. Agriculture depends on the transfer of pollen and fertilization to produce fruits and food. Variation of shapes and surface textures serves as a function of evolution to specific flowering plant’s needs structures. Pollen is thought of in terms of allergies rather than the contribution to our natural world such as pollination. At a closer look, pollen grains under 100x-1000x light magnification or placed under an electron microscope have fascinating textures and shapes unseen by a normal eye. The exine, or outermost surface of the grains, is composed of various furrows, and lumina, and are quite sculptural. Many models of pollen grains expressing these textures are created through computer software, continuing the two-dimensional format which is reductionist. This stylizing can undermine the organic shapes and rendering due to perfect modeling and undermine the organic forms. Through a ceramic rendition, this thesis explores the sculpting of pollen grain in a three-dimensional form to capture the imperfect. The use of clay as a medium allows for manipulation and illustration of the pollen spores. The scale of the sculptures is exaggerated to be accessible and intriguing to the natural eye but is often overlooked. Using images from internet databases (due to accessibility to an electron microscope) and published research as an influence and inspiration, the ceramic models are not replicas according to scale and detail but rather a rendition with artistic liberty.