Saturday, May 5, 2007

Printmaking Periodic Table

Germanium - FINAL Print

About the Project
I stumbled upon a call for entries on organizer Jennifer Schmitt's blog. She was looking for printmakers of all skill levels to select an element from the periodic table and create an image. You can see the entire artistic rendering of the periodic table. Click on an element for a larger view and description. She also has a list of links to the 91 contributing artists. You can visit the project homepage for links to all things periodic, and catch news and updates on the project blog. The project was featured in an article on Etsy because many of the contributing artists are also Etsy sellers.

About Germanium
From Encarta: "Germanium, symbol Ge, hard, brittle, grayish-white, crystalline semimetallic element. The atomic number of germanium is 32; it is in group 14 (of IVa) of the periodic table." Dmitry Mendeleyev predicted its existence and properties in 1871. Germanium was discovered by German chemist Clemens Alexander Winkler in 1886. Germanium can pass electrical currents in a single direction and was used in transistors, diodes, and rectifiers from World War II through the early 1970s when it began to be replaced by silicon. Nowadays germanium is used in fiber optics, infrared night vision systems, wide angle camera lenses, microscope objective lenses, and polymerization catalysts. Oh, and it's really shiny.

About the Print
All the descriptions of semiconductors and solid state electronics made me picture the guts of a calculator--probably never an actual use for germanium. No circuit boards were harmed in the making of this block print. I used good old Speedball water soluble block printing inks and 2 linoleum blocks. The silver paper, which is lighter and more reflective in real life than in this picture (used the scanner, not the camera), is some kind of scrapbooking paper. I am definitely at the amateur end of the skill spectrum when it comes to printmaking. This was the first print I made using more than one block and more than one color for the image, and I am pleased with the off-kilter results.

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