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Art and Science Converge: The Periodic Table Printmaking Project

Jan 10, 2008

by Alison Feldmann

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Ever imagined a periodic table of artwork? It’s not a fantasy! Etsy user AzureGrackle coordinated a periodic table art project, outlined on her blog and visible in the Periodic Table flickr group. According to her site, "Ninety-six printmakers of all experience levels, have joined together to produce 118 prints in any medium; woodcut, linocut, monotype, etching, lithograph, silkscreen, or any combination. The end result is a periodic table of elements intended to promote both science and the arts."

We talked to AzureGrackle and got a little background on this fascinating project.

How did this project originate?
It came from an afternoon last March when I spread all my prints out on the floor of my apartment and thought "Gee, they look like the periodic table." I was chatting with my friend/coproduction artist Nathan Cannon of Procyonidae and he dared me to see if I could do it for real. So we set up the basic guidelines and sent out a call for artists. I posted it on Etsy and the BarenForum.org (a group for printmakers, primarily woodcut artists), and it spread from there.

How many Etsy users contributed to the project?
I’ll have to go through my list and check and get back to you on this one, but a lot!*

How did you decide who to include?
I wanted it to be as inclusive as possible, so there are some very experienced artists and some who had never done a print before, and everything in between.

What was the intention behind this project?
The original intention was just to see what would happen. Now I hope to get it published as a coffee table book, datebook, calendar, poster, deck of flash cards, and also shown in a gallery. So many people have told me they wished they had something like this when they were in high school chemistry class. This visual interpretation makes it easier to remember information about the elements, gives you a story or a tidbit or fact to hang onto. I know far more about a lot elements now than I did a year ago or in 10th grade.

Anything else you’d like to add?
The secondary inspiration for the project comes from my Mom. She just retired from teaching high school chemistry and physics for 30 years. While I never wanted to be a scientist, she made learning about science fun and approachable because her love for it is infectious. Knowing how the world around you works makes life so much richer. So the connection of art and science is an important one to me.

*All 63 Etsy users involved:  

procyonidae, azuregrackle, mlee, paperedtogether, histand, kshanks, dcutter, beeczarcardsandgifts, carenloebelfried, stacysaurusshop, cpierson, tatsuko, osoazuldesign, moonshinebluebirds, pygletwhispers, camillastacey, ellenshipley, nydampress, fustian, spindlecatstudio, pistolespress, anniefitt, bbmowery, spponergregory, lookability, estasketch, floatingpalace, serendipityartist, fiskandfern, readdevine, sarahridgley, papastudios, goodfeets, wingedlion, tepimade, tofunutloaf, Mizudesigns, Crumpart, rosevasquezcastillo, pillowhead, spoonergregory, novembermoon, redhydrant, spudnikpress, heftart, vizart, sweetanniejeanne, lynnm, mummus, abitabite, piebirdpress, bluesnailpapers, ghostdeer, meringue, smushie, muttsywonder, almapottery, amyb13, gneural, magprint, knitsonya, deequeen, anadecora

THORIUM (Limited Edition)
THORIUM (Limited Edition)
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Atomic Symbol For Silver Earrings
Atomic Symbol For Silver Earrings
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22 comments

  • PickalaPoopa

    PickalaPoopa said 9 years ago

    the table turned out awesome! what a great project. love it!

  • heidiburton

    heidiburton said 9 years ago

    Fantastic!! Inspires me to get involved with team projects! :D

  • FrucciDesign

    FrucciDesign said 9 years ago

    great idea guys...and it the chemist in me who talks now!!!!

  • stellaloella Admin

    stellaloella said 9 years ago

    I've loved this project from the beginning. It's such a great collaborative project - and it turned out breathtakingly beautiful too!

  • theseawithin

    theseawithin said 9 years ago

    This sounds like the best project ever! I love it!

  • lookability

    lookability said 9 years ago

    Glad I got to be involved!!... I'm really excited to see what else you do with this. My print: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=7686752

  • carenloebelfried

    carenloebelfried said 9 years ago

    This project is wonderful to be a part of. I loved the research aspect, artists exploring science... and all of the prints look so cool together as a mosaic! Thanks Jenn for your organizational skills and bringing this to fruition!

  • spoonergregory

    spoonergregory said 9 years ago

    This was such an exciting project to be part of! Both me and Jon loved creating our own prints, and seeing the table grow as each print was finished. Thanks from us as well Jenn!

  • artyfakt

    artyfakt said 9 years ago

    This is really fantastic - great concept and beautiful work!

  • bluesnailpapers

    bluesnailpapers said 9 years ago

    Yes, thanks to Jenn for organizing this--it was a lot of fun. It's so exciting to hear about the possible publication!

  • TeenAngster

    TeenAngster said 9 years ago

    And so pretty, too!

  • hansigurumi

    hansigurumi said 9 years ago

    Wow, this is *amazing*. What a marvelous idea!!!! Congrats, guys! :)

  • neile

    neile said 9 years ago

    This is really great. Please let me know if you ever print the whole table as a poster.

  • madebymilla

    madebymilla said 9 years ago

    My print is here: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6678661

  • AzureGrackle

    AzureGrackle said 9 years ago

    Thanks neile, if you send me a convo with an email in it, I'll add you to the Project updates list. :)

  • juln

    juln said 9 years ago

    What a very cool idea, I love it!

  • almapottery

    almapottery said 9 years ago

    it is really good to see it togheter.thanks for the opportunity azure.

  • JohnKing

    JohnKing said 9 years ago

    Here's a thought for another community project: How about a periodic table of the arts -- not of the elements. It would take some thought to decide how to arrange it, and how to catagorize it, perhaps fine art at the top and graphic arts at the bottom, with perhaps representational art on the left blending to abstract art on the right. As I say, it would take some thought...anyone for taking this on?

  • Thaidreams

    Thaidreams said 9 years ago

    That's such a cool idea, great job!

  • beyondthelens

    beyondthelens said 9 years ago

    I would love to see a compilation of the elements - multiple - or all - elements in one print. How cool!

  • RabbitHoleProduction

    RabbitHoleProduction said 7 years ago

    It's a shame so many of the artists no longer have anything in their shop...

  • CougarCouture

    CougarCouture said 4 years ago

    Where can I buy a set?

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