Monday, October 1, 2018

KARMA CHAMELEON – Nature’s Optical Surprises

As you should know by now, I’m constantly awe-struck by Nature’s small wonders. But as I’ve ramped up my botanical-lampshade-making craft over the past year or so, I’m discovering new surprises every day.

I’m experimenting with all sorts of leaves, stems, seeds and berries, to discover how they act when held up to light. One of the surprises is Nature’s incredible witchery with color.

          It turns out the skin of those deep blue 
          berries isn’t really blue at all.

For example, I found that an autumn grape leaf—a sort of muted gray-green to first glances—turns a luxuriant burgundy when I put a light behind it.

The ornamental grass in a pot on our neighbor’s patio turns that chameleon feat around; when you pick a blade, you’d swear it’s color is something like maroon or oxblood. But hold it up to the light and it turns green.

As I play around with ways to create natural “gems” of bright color to accent the more muted browns, golds and rusts of most leaves, I’m experimenting with various berries. One of them, that of the Solomon’s seal plant, is dark blue.

I wondered, what if I cut those berries in half, scraped out the seeds and goo inside and filled them with clear-drying acrylic medium. Would that give me a nice, translucent, bright blue “gem?”

Well, it gave me a gem all right. But as it turns out the skin of those deep blue berries isn’t really blue at all. It’s a brilliant emerald green.

So the search continues. I’m thinking, what color berries must I look for to serve as my red gems? Green ones?

Can you recall any of your own such surprises from Nature? Where what you thought you saw turned out to be something very different? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.


jean said...

Fascinating! Can we see some of the finished products, Jeff? :)

Jeffrey Willius said...

Jean, I don't see the reply I thought I sent you the other day. What I intended to say was, yes, I've been posting pix of new works as I finish them on Facebook. If memory serves, you're not on FB, so if I can find your email address I'll send a few pix.

jean said...

I am on FB, Jeff, and we may even be friends :) But send me some in case I miss them, which I clearly have :)

jean said...

These are just beautiful, Jeff! I had no idea you made these! I expect you can sell them in an on-line shop or even from your FB page. They are so different from anything I have ever seem. Thanks for sending the pics of them.

Jeffrey Willius said...

Jean, I just got accepted into the juried American Craft Council show in St. Paul in April. That should be a pretty good gauge of how well-received they will be.

jean said...

That is HUGE, Jeff! Congratulations! YEA YOU!!! :)

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