Shop Etsy

Inspired by Science

Mar 25, 2014

by Karen Brown

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Albert Einstein said, “The greatest scientists are always artists as well.” And many great artists (think Leonardo da Vinci) were also outstanding scientists. For many Etsy sellers, this connection between art and science feeds their curiosity and creativity, leading to an amazing assortment of one-of-a-kind shops and items.

“I am not a scientist, and I have never really studied science,” says Hiné Mizushima of Hiné, “but when I look at the world of science as an outsider, I see things that were made to be functional but which are, in fact, beautiful. I like to take those things and make them easy for other people to see by amplifying that intersection between form and function, and adding a twist!” What kind of twist? From embroidered microbe jewelry to needle-felted fungi, Hiné has offered handmade, whimsical, and acutely observed elements from nature in her shop since 2007. A few years ago, she branched out, directing a science themed stop-motion music video about the sun for the Brooklyn-based rock band, They Might Be Giants.

“I kind of backed into science via art,” says watercolor artist Michele Banks. Since 2010, her Etsy shop artologica has astounded shoppers looking for unique gifts that can brighten the most serious situations. “Some people who buy my EKG paintings and scarves have or treat heart disease, people like doctors, nurses, and EKG techs,” said Michele, “One lovely woman who had a heart procedure bought EKG scarves for the whole team that took care of her.”

While many of her paintings depict scientific subjects in a relatively straightforward manner, others unveil deeper levels of life and connection. For example, her piece “Love and Death: Beauty” explores major life themes and how they are expressed at microscopic levels. “When people are in love, their skin glows and their eyes shine. The painting looks at how that manifests in our cells,” says Michele. “I love it when customers find me by Googling the name of some random microorganism expecting to find a scholarly article or graph, and instead they find a watercolor,” she says.

“I think the idea that art and science are separate is unfounded,” says print maker Ele Willoughby of minouette. “It takes creativity to be a good scientist and experimentation to be a good artist.” In her Etsy shop, Ele explores art and science through a series of portraits of scientists inspired by the bi-monthly challenges of the Mad Scientists of Etsy team. “I love hearing from parents who want to inspire young children with portraits of scientific heroes or heroines,” she says.

Etsy shops have been named for cats, kids, schemes, and dreams, but for original shop names, you can’t top jeweler Shirlee Liberman of Delftia. “Delftia Acidovorans is a bacterium that turns water-soluble gold ions into microscopic nuggets of solid gold,” she says. “In other words, Delftia is a germ which excretes gold.”

From caffeine to neurons to DNA, Shirlee addresses many disciplines of science through jewelry. For Shirlee, turning scientific concepts into wearable art requires knowledge, technical skill, and a disciplined aesthetic. “Although it is really important to me that my pieces are first and foremost beautiful and wearable jewelry,” she says, “it is also very important that my jewelry will say something. I call my jewelry ‘conversations starters.’ People ask questions and it is a great way to communicate and spread science.”

Nervous Systems’ Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg met as undergraduates at MIT and started collaborating on projects almost immediately. “Jesse’s background is in math and computer science and I studied biology and architecture. Working together as Nervous System, we experiment with combining those disciplines into a strange hybrid that exists at the intersection of our interests –– nature-inspired generative software systems that grow designs.”

Jessica learned about patterns in nature early in life, while exploring a neighborhood pond with her father. “We would cook up a strange mixture of hay in the kitchen and ‘feed’ the pond water to culture the creatures we had caught, then examine them with his antique microscope. It was completely fascinating to see an entire universe of odd creatures living out their lives in a drop of water,” she says.

Just as fascinating as that world in a drop of water is discovering the diverse ways these Etsy artists use science to inspire their creations. Want to discover more artist scientists (or scientist artists) on Etsy? Here are just a few teams that blend those interests:

Mad Scientists of Etsy
Etsy Chemists
Astro and Neutrino
Biologists of Etsy
Space Cases
Geek Squad
Etsy Engineers and Scientists

Do you have an interest in art and science? Tell us about it in the comments.

Sleeping Giant Paramecium Brooch (turquoise)
Sleeping Giant Paramecium Brooch (turquoise)
Sold
Lise Meitner and Nuclear Fission Linocut History of Physics - Lino Block Print Scientist Portrait, Women in STEM, History Nuclear Physics,
Lise Meitner and Nuclear Fission Linocut History of Physics - Lino Block Print Scientist Portrait, Women in STEM, History Nuclear Physics,
$35.00 USD
Heartbeat Silk Charmeuse Scarf - ekg pattern
Heartbeat Silk Charmeuse Scarf - ekg pattern
$65.00 USD
Love and Death:  Beauty - original watercolor painting
Love and Death: Beauty - original watercolor painting
Sold
Oxytocin molecule heart necklace -  psychology - chemistry - science - 24 karat gold plated pendant
Oxytocin molecule heart necklace - psychology - chemistry - science - 24 karat gold plated pendant
$66.00 USD
Giant Daphnia Brooch (orange)
Giant Daphnia Brooch (orange)
Sold
Vessel Earrings (3D-printed nylon)
Vessel Earrings (3D-printed nylon)
$42.00 USD
Silicon Linocut with Crystal, Quartz and Radiolarians - Periodic Table Lino Block Print Chemical Element Silicon Quartz Crystal Radiolaria
Silicon Linocut with Crystal, Quartz and Radiolarians - Periodic Table Lino Block Print Chemical Element Silicon Quartz Crystal Radiolaria
$26.00 USD
Petri Dish Spectrum 4 - original watercolor collage
Petri Dish Spectrum 4 - original watercolor collage
Sold
Amoeba Jigsaw Puzzle - one of a kind wood jigsaw puzzle, laser cut
Amoeba Jigsaw Puzzle - one of a kind wood jigsaw puzzle, laser cut
$45.00 USD
DNA earrings - Double helix- dangle earrings- 24 karat gold plated earrings- goldfild hooks
DNA earrings - Double helix- dangle earrings- 24 karat gold plated earrings- goldfild hooks
Sold
Print: Les Micros - illustration microbe daphnia biology green paper cutout art wall decor
Print: Les Micros - illustration microbe daphnia biology green paper cutout art wall decor
$18.00 USD
Mathematician Sofia Kovalevski Linocut - History of Science, Math & Literature, Women in STEM, Lino Block Portrait Print Sofia Kovalevski
Mathematician Sofia Kovalevski Linocut - History of Science, Math & Literature, Women in STEM, Lino Block Portrait Print Sofia Kovalevski
$39.00 USD
Plant Cell Model Felt Set - Science Toy -  Homeschool Biology - Educational Flannel Board
Plant Cell Model Felt Set - Science Toy - Homeschool Biology - Educational Flannel Board
Sold
coffee - Caffeine molecule - chemistry gift - Science - 24 Karat gold plated necklace -
coffee - Caffeine molecule - chemistry gift - Science - 24 Karat gold plated necklace -
$53.00 USD

73 comments

  • rdboyer

    Robert from rdboyer said 2 years ago

    Nice to see this science inspiration

  • rdboyer

    Robert from rdboyer said 2 years ago

    It's not quite so clear cut as some of these examples, but the patterns I use in my own work are inspired by atomic arrangements whose implications I studied in grad school.....Nice to see that I'm not alone : )

  • Thisisnotgoodenough

    Peter Mack from PeterMackArt said 2 years ago

    Nice works.

  • elainedillard1987

    Elaine Dillard from AldaandCompany said 2 years ago

    Very cool! I'm a middle school teacher--I'll share this with the science teachers at our school. They would love it!

  • admspeicher

    Adam Speicher from SpeicherBowTieCo said 2 years ago

    Cool!

  • 2Crafty4You

    Renate from 2Crafty4You said 2 years ago

    I enjoyed watching the Motion-Music Video about the Sun. The EKG Scarves look very cool, what a good Idea! Thank you for sharing this interesting work!

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering said 2 years ago

    What a neat article! I love all of the science-y stuff! So cool!

  • wistfulpinestudio

    Sarah Findlay from TheQuirkyQuill said 2 years ago

    This is fantastic! I've never believed art and science were separate, I've always had a huge interest in both. Great article :)

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 2 years ago

    Really neat! I'm a pretty big science buff :)

  • WriteOp

    Mel Zuydgeest from StunwithFun said 2 years ago

    I really like this article as I had not thought of finding new and interesting items and/or shops through the word science at all. To see the diversity of art and knowledge in this way is cool, fun, inspiring and beautiful at the same time.

  • GoldenDaysDesigns

    Nancy from GoldenDaysDesigns said 2 years ago

    Beautiful!

  • WomanShopsWorld

    Carter Seibels Singh from WomanShopsWorld said 2 years ago

    What an enlightening feature! I love those Nervous System earrings!

  • agebo

    Ann Cosgrove from acbcDesign said 2 years ago

    Super fun article - love all these great and unique items!

  • PepitasStudio

    Pepitas House from PepitasStudio said 2 years ago

    It is so cool. All the beautiful shapes we find in nature. Great finds.

  • StillVintage

    StillVintage from StillVintage said 2 years ago

    Great imagination

  • WhisperingOak

    Quality Handmade Items from WhisperingOak said 2 years ago

    Good read. An innovative way to marry science and art.

  • Karenemotivans

    Karenemotivans said 2 years ago

    Love this piece! Thank you for highlighting the intersection of art and science and humor. There is something delightfully unexpected about wearing the organism you study as you walk into your lab in the morning...it makes everyone smile.

  • beardoil

    Beard Oil from BeardOil said 2 years ago

    This is great, Thanks!

  • jessgreenleaf

    Jess Greenleaf from GREENLEAFblueberry said 2 years ago

    It is strange and wonderful how science and art can lead to each other. I have been surprised to find my obsession with watercolors leading me down a path of geological and chemical curiosity. In trying to learn as much about paint as possible, I find myself scrutinizing molecular geometry and rockhounding. - -And it's a blast!

  • claymeadream

    Diahann Mangoni from ClayMeADream said 2 years ago

    This is very unique...love the necklace!

  • Fybur

    Fybur from Fybur said 2 years ago

    Arty Science :) very cool!

  • Splendere

    Pearlie from Splendere said 2 years ago

    Science is all around us; there is Art in Science and there is also Science in Art. What a lovely marriage of both Science and Arts!

  • laurastark

    Laura Stark from laurastark said 2 years ago

    and 'She Blinded me with Science' sing along people! Very cool story.

  • mlezcano

    Mary Lezcano from BellaBboutique said 2 years ago

    I think the collision of art and science is only natural. Science is the study of the natural world and many artists take their cues from nature. It's the job of the artist to bring light to that which is unseen, what could be more beautiful than the building blocks which give way to life.

  • minouette

    Ele from minouette said 2 years ago

    Thanks for writing this article Karen! I'm flattered to be included among such great creators. You've got some of my favorites as well as a couple who are new to me. Must go check out their shops!

  • kathschad

    Katherine Schad from SchadStudio said 2 years ago

    I love science and my art shows it. Especially my more abstract watery works that were inspired while studying tropical biology in Australia. I have several art works that I call "Under the Microscope" as they are very cellular. Great piece.

  • MyChouchou

    MyChouchou from MyChouChou said 2 years ago

    Love these amazing art pieces inspired by science! The Love and Death painting reminds me of batique or tie dye that I used to do a long time ago. I feel inspired to start it up again! We used a combo of actually tying and drawing and then "painting" with hot wax. Sooo much fun! Thank you for the inspiration : )

  • EclecticLoveVintage

    Jessica from EclecticLoveVintage said 2 years ago

    As a scientist and vintage & art lover, I couldn't agree more with the comments related science & creativity. Amazing work! Congratulations to all the featured shops!

  • BanteringBird

    Gale from BanteringBird said 2 years ago

    Now that was a unique collection! Love it!

  • valeriephoto

    Valerie from valeriestitchery said 2 years ago

    There's so much beauty in the natural world, and so much geometry! From flowers, to honeycombs, to the night sky, there's much inspiration to be found in nature, and many ways to creatively interpret what's already a beautiful design.

  • inspiringanchors

    Megan Braswell from inspiringanchors said 2 years ago

    This is so fascinating to me, the act of blending art and science in my mind is a very natural idea. The works of art above are beautiful and I love the fact that when people buy a peice of art they do it because it connects with them on a level beyond just aesthetics. I am creating a line of accesories that some have metaphysical meanings and some items will just repersent or stand for something personal to the one who purchases them. I truely have the desire for all that I sell to mean more to people than just what the beauty aspect of the item has to offer and be somewhat of a reminder to what is in a person's heart.

  • kararane

    Kara Rane from kararane said 2 years ago

    hi Karen- great pics. & yes! I have always remained solid in the true definition of Biology as the 'study of Life'. This interest has led me to create drawings that revel in this seeing, learning, and knowing... and ultimately lends to an even greater appreciation for all that the natural world is and creates.

  • HansHolzkopf

    Natalie from HansHolzkopf said 2 years ago

    cool! very interesting finds!

  • MrsGingerandWasabi

    Marta DQ from tribomo said 2 years ago

    Creativity,open mind, perseverance,curiosity, patience and love for what you do...you need all those skills to be a scientist and/or artist!

  • MrsGingerandWasabi

    Marta DQ from tribomo said 2 years ago

    I have really enjoyed this article. Thank you!

  • expressyourself

    Natalia Snemis from expressyourself said 2 years ago

    Awesome collection!

  • choisette

    choisette from choisette said 2 years ago

    science is a beautiful thing.

  • Agasart

    Aga from AgasJourney said 2 years ago

    Beautiful inspirations and selection!

  • bedouin

    Nicole from bedouin said 2 years ago

    There is an art to everything ~ Terrific examples, fun and creative !

  • raccoonvalleyrouge

    Rebecca Blevins from RaccoonValleyRouge said 2 years ago

    Love it! Science has the best patterns!

  • fineartstoneware

    fineartstoneware from fineartstoneware said 2 years ago

    Love the items!

  • hodderdesigns

    Samantha Hodder from hodderdesigns said 2 years ago

    Gorgeous items! I love making and buying items inspired by science!

  • RenaisyDaisyDesigns

    RenaisyDaisy from RenaisyDaisyDesigns said 2 years ago

    I love this! I love when science and art marries. Wonderful stuff!

  • EyeKnit4Ewe

    C.N. Cain from MyHandknitHabitat said 2 years ago

    ...an excellent follow-up to the post about Cosmos...I hope some of these teams will let me join!

  • shadowplaynyc

    Xime-Ali from Shadowplaynyc said 2 years ago

    So cute!!! Love to see science influencing art, and vice versa! :) Occupy Space!

  • guziks

    Stephanie from Phylogeny said 2 years ago

    I'm a scientist, first and foremost, but the watercolors in my Etsy shop are a side project that I enjoy doing in my own time. For me, science and art are my way of life: I spend my days with test tubes and microscopes, and my nights with me watercolors. They seem so different, but they are more intertwined than I appreciate.

  • farandtwee

    Vintage Minnow from VintageMinnow said 2 years ago

    Nature sure does have the ultimate designs and patterns! love the the colors too!

  • FieldsOfVintage

    Fields Of Vintage from FieldsOfVintage said 2 years ago

    This article is great for the geek in all of us! Thank you for a great super astro article.

  • clarekapin

    Clare and Richard Kapin from VarietyArtworks said 2 years ago

    I really like the idea and application. Very nice!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 2 years ago

    Great designs!

  • GracefullyGirly

    Kimberlee from GracefullyGirly said 2 years ago

    I'm a bit of a science geek and I LOVE art so I love the idea of joining the two. I have scientific drawings of plants and flowers in a gallery in my house and many prints of butterflies, moths, trees, as well as other natural things I've photographed myself. I think of the natural world as art and also an integral part of science so they all just go hand in hand for me. I am thrilled my daughter has taken on a love of the natural world, science and art too. We rejoice in projects that include science and art (we have her art plastered all over too) and it's just a normal part of play and experiencing the world for her.

  • GracefullyGirly

    Kimberlee from GracefullyGirly said 2 years ago

    I've found a whole lot of new items for my favorites list here! Thanks!!!

  • ArtisanSoapInVegas

    Cristy Ramos from ArtisanBathandBody said 2 years ago

    Amazing!

  • sandraculliton

    Sandra Culliton from sandraculliton said 2 years ago

    I loved this article! I'm also a watercolor artist and can say hands down, science is my muse. So many of my pieces are science related. It's wonderful to see science inspired artists featured like this, as shops like those featured turn me into more of a buyer than seller :) Beautiful work!

  • glitterandstones

    glitterandstones from glitterandstones said 2 years ago

    Amazing article. Thank you:)

  • unflappableproducts

    unflappableproducts from unflappableproducts said 2 years ago

    Who knew? This is a great blog post that reveals much hidden talent on Etsy!

  • dominna

    Katrina Dzerkale from Dominna said 2 years ago

    I am in LOVE with the coffee pedant !

  • Motleycouture

    Motleycouture from Motleycouture said 2 years ago

    Fascinating feature! Beautiful jewelry!

  • brucepark

    Bruce Park from BruceParkArts said 2 years ago

    It seems there is a lot of science behind the arts and crafts. Great blog post!

  • burnedfurniture

    burnedfurniture from burnedfurniture said 2 years ago

    Wonderful post- So nice to see Minouette's lovely prints featured here!

  • nativestrandsjewelry

    Rachel from PeppersJewelry said 2 years ago

    I like the Paramecium!

  • arethak

    Aretha Kou from TheEpistolaryNucleus said 2 years ago

    What a great post! I studied biology in college and in this post I really enjoyed learning how others combined their interests. It gives me some inspiration.

  • 88editions

    88editions Kelly T from 88editions said 2 years ago

    just fascinating! congrats Elle! love your work!

  • margiemattmann

    Margie from ProjectsbyMargie said 2 years ago

    I'm a chemist by day and rely on beading to balance out my brain and express my creativity. It's wonderful to see such talented artists demonstrate the deep connection between art and science!

  • lauraprillabstract

    Laura Prill from lauraprillabstract said 2 years ago

    Imaginative theme for a post Karen, well done and congrats to all!

  • JennasRedRhino

    Jennifer Schmidt from TheCatBall said 2 years ago

    I absolutely love artologica.

  • DazzlersAccessories

    Chris from HarmonyBalls said 2 years ago

    cool feature......

  • DesignedByAudrey
  • iisips

    Enyonam from EnyoJewelry said 2 years ago

    Great to see this - congrats! Greetings from a fellow CRESTer! :)

  • insculpo

    Lauren from FirebrandPress said 2 years ago

    I love it when art and science intersect. Thanks for this feature!

  • countrypinefurniture

    Shad and Heather Kingston from ThePairOfSpades said 2 years ago

    So neat to see this! Amazing!

  • wendipeterson1

    Wendi from KitchenStuffandSuch said 2 years ago

    Science yes, but bringing design and creativity to science is an art!

  • korenkwan

    Koren Kwan from GarasuWonderland said 2 years ago

    lovely selection!

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