Saturday, August 26, 2017

Fungus Among Us

My goal with the fungus life cycle I am currently animating is to spark curiosity about these fascinating organisms. Fungi are truly amazing and they are everywhere. They play a vital role in the decomposition of organic matter and have fundamental roles in nutrient cycling and exchange in the environment. Fungi are often not noticeable because of their size. We are most likely to see them only in their fruiting stage, ie the mushroom that seems to appear from nowhere.

Seeking fungi on my favorite trail along the Blackwater Creek
Earlier this week I wanted to collect one more specimen of the bracket fungus I am animating and document other fungi that I found visible from the path. I went on an expedition to the Blackwater Creek Trail right by my house.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Animating Fungus: You Have to Be Kidding

My biggest creative challenge to date is my desire to share my fascination with mycelium with kids 5 to 8 years old. I see fungi in the woods on my walks and have enjoyed on occasion documenting these sightings.

A number of years ago my son gave me a copy of Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets. I was absolutely intrigued by this idea that mycelia form incredibly large networks underground.(Watch his TED talk if you haven't seen it.)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Jellyfish Life Cycle Animated

I am pleased to present Jellyfish, the latest animated life cycle for Anim8Nature. This project in development is designed for kids 5 to 9 years old. My mission is to spark curiosity, explore science with art, get kids outside and inspire environmental stewardship. A tall order, but every aspect of these goals is very important to me.

Like many of you, my first experience with jellyfish was as a kid and it wasn't so positive. There was a twist. They were stinging my sister when we'd vacation at the Chesapeake Bay or in Ocean City but not me.


My next exposure to jellyfish was as an adult kayaking in the Chesapeake Bay. Seeing them out of the corner of my eye, I thought they were plastic sandwich bags floating in the water. On more careful observation I realized what they were and was mesmerized. I find jellyfish very beautiful creatures.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Animating Science

I am producing Anim8Nature, built around animated life cycles to get kids outside and inspire environmental stewardship. I am finding this marriage of art and science has a long history, think Leonardo DaVinci, and many modern proponents.

Leonardo da Vinci A page showing Leonardo's study of a foetus in the womb (c. 1510) Royal Library, Windsor Castle
One fabulous resource I found celebrating the art/science connection is the SciArtCenter. Established to facilitate collaboration between artists and scientists, they publish a magazine. As a new member, the August issue was the first I really perused. Oh, my what I found.

A Plan Comes Together

It fascinates me that sometimes when inspiration comes, it's everywhere I look. I like that! My challenge to visualize the connection of...