Beautiful Plant Cells for Kids - Leafcutter Designs

MADE BY LEA

Plant Cells Are Beautiful!

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The Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose recently invited me to do an installation project and children’s activity based on the theme, “inspired by nature.” I’ve always been awestruck by the microscopic cell patterns hiding deep within plants, and used these organic (but also somewhat geometrical) arrangements as inspiration for an artistic ink stamping concept.

Don’t these images look a bit like stained glass windows in an old cathedral?

Cross-section of a sunflower stem under a microscope.

Cross-section of a sunflower stem under a microscope.


Stamping the Walls

Using these wonderful sunflower stem cell patterns as a starting point, I custom designed a set of ten new ink stamps that closely mimic the look and feel of the cell structure. I then got to work stamping out giant cross-sections of sunflower stems on the large white walls of the Art Loft.

Three of the ten custom stamps.

Three of the ten custom stamps.

Making something really small into something really big!

Making something really small into something really big!


Kids Are So Creative

While I covered the walls with giant-sized cell structures, creative kids made their own colorful cell inspired patterns to take home. The plant cells for kids activity was a huge success – lots of kids (and parents) had a great time learning about plant cells and making their very own one-of-a-kind artworks.

The kids stamped in all kinds of colors to make really unique patterns.

The kids stamped in all kinds of colors to make really unique patterns.

A proud moment!

A proud moment!

Getting a feel for the artistic wonders of nature.

Getting a feel for the artistic wonders of nature.

Lea finishing up one of her many larger than life cell arrangements.

Lea finishing up one of her many larger than life cell arrangements.

Thank you to Lisa and the Children’s Museum of San Jose for letting me stamp all over your beautiful white walls! If your museum, library, or other institution is interested in having Lea develop a similar activity-based program (for kids or adults), we’d love to hear from you. You can email Lea directly with your idea and she’ll get back to you right away!

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Lea Redmond is always looking for the poem hiding inside things: a salt shaker, a clothes tag, a hand gesture, a cloud. She is infinitely intrigued by the way experiences can slip from the ordinary to the extraordinary and she endeavors to design things that hold this possibility. Leafcutter Designs, her creative studio in Berkeley, CA, makes the world more playful and peaceful one little experience at a time.

5 Comments

  1. peacay

    October 30, 2010 at 1:38 am

    I feel fortunate that I either gravitated naturally towards science at school or something about the teacher(s) made it an attractive subject, but I can only imagine how positive an influence this kind of project would have on a young person. I'm actually a little jealous of what their memories will be. Bravo!!

  2. Lea Redmond

    October 15, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks so much for the enthusiasm!

    I'd love to make more stamps and sell them, but custom ink stamps are pretty pricey (over $100 for the set of 10 stamps I made!) If you know anyone that might want some, though, I'd be happy to make arrangements for them to obtain a set. It would also be possible to create a smaller set where the final plant stem diameter isn't so huge and this would be much less expensive.

    The children did pretty well with the microscopes, largely because there was adult staff there helping them focus them. Hooray for a well-staffed museum!

  3. Virginia

    October 15, 2010 at 8:47 am

    This is very cool – nice work! Plant cells really are so remarkable looking, and your wall installation of giant "cells" looks fantastic – I'd love you to post more pictures! And do you have any plans to make more stamps and sell them? As the previous poster alluded to, there might be a market among teachers and parents alike. How did the kids do looking through the microscopes? I recall hating scopes when I was a kid (even though I grew up to be a scientist!) because I could never see through them properly. Keep up the great work!

  4. LINEA CARTA

    October 12, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    SO gorgeous lea!! Thanks for sharing, love it.

  5. TheSeaWithin

    October 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Beautiful! I just love it!
    I really could have used those stamps in second year plants lab. I had to draw out plant cross sections! Would rather have used stamps!

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