This past Friday, I had the privilege of spending the evening with science loving people who came to the WonderLab Museum for the First Fridays: Science of Art event. When asked to participate, I was given the option to pick the theme as well as the activities I wanted to offer. It took no time to decide on an underwater theme and two activities: a pop-up station and a collaborative artists’ book.
Before we kicked off the evening, I spent some time teaching the stellar volunteers how to make the pop ups I brought with me. Each pop up featured underwater creatures and their defense mechanisms. (Click on the name of each sea creature for more information about the real thing!)
Inspired by their defensive strategies, I chose to depict the point when a shrimp, like the caridean shrimp (Parapandalus sp.), spews a bioluminescent cloud to evade its predators, like scary viper fish. This shrimp appears to be making its getaway while two spirals crisscross and create the distracting illuminated cloud.
Leafy Sea Dragon
These beautiful and strange relatives of the sea horse keep themselves safe by blending in with seaweed that is as ornate as they are. With two layers of seaweed, participants hid their own leafy sea dragons, Phycodurus eques.
Unavoidably cute, garden eels, like the Heteroconger hassi, protect themselves by staying in or close to their individual burrows. Likewise, the eels in this pop up peek out of their holes, ready to duck down and hide should a predator swim by.
One of my favorite visitors!
At the other station, the artists’ book began as a simple accordion folded sheet of blue paper that would get added to over the evening. I brought some materials with me, including some up-cycled packing paper that I painted in my studio earlier in the week.
By setting the structure as an accordion and the content as “the ocean”, those aspects of the book were predetermined. However, with the aid of pop ups and fold outs, the book was able to organically evolve over the next few hours. Volunteers and attendees of all ages kept coming back and were drawn into building the paper world. The creative exploration was fulfilling to watch!
At the start…
A full ocean!
A huge thank you goes out to the great people at WonderLab who invited me to participate and everyone who helped during the event. An even greater thanks to everyone who explored the ocean with me through the book arts!