Sunday, September 07, 2008

Pencil Echinoderms

Teaching about echinoderms in zoology was always fascinating to me. Embrology-wise this group is closest to our own phylum, the Chordata. It is difficult to believe when one examines closely starfish, brittlestars, sea urchins, and even sea cucumbers.

School has started and students are now busy using their pencils taking notes throughout the school day. My students often complained (well, stated) that they go through a pencil or two at every one of the zoology lectures. What to do with all those little pieces of penicls left? I say, "Call Jennifer Maestre".

Jennifer Maestre is an amazing artist. She uses real pencils for her beautiful art sculptures. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and has had her works on display in galleries across the US. Her sculptures were inspired by the sea urchin spines - so dangerous yet beautiful. To make these art pencil sculptures, she takes hundreds of pencils, cuts them into 1-inch sections, drills a hole in each - turning them into beads, sharpens them, and sews them all together.

Enjoy a few examples of Jennifer's pencil sculptures.


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