Plankton- Sculpting the Spikey Ones

by | Feb 24, 2022 | All

Plankton- Sculpting the Spikey Ones

by | Feb 24, 2022 | All | 0 comments

Plankton are the forest of the sea– oxygen engines and the base of the food chain. They’re also some of the most ramified, visually interesting living objects on the planet.

Ceramic Plankton

I started sculpting plankton in 2020. Most recently- I’ve started sculpting silicoflagellate. These guys are single celled algae that- at some stages of their lives- form spiky, geometric exoskeletons- meandering through the ocean like something out of a science fiction film.

They’ve also provided a lot of grist for artists- Ernst Haeckel most famously…


One of the special delights is that I’ve discovered a vibrant, engaged, knowledgeable community of plankton fanatics on Instagram. These guys will tell you if you depict an aspect of form incorrectly- see the correspondence below. Accuracy and detail are vital if you’re working at the science interface- I’m really glad to have the informal backing of these enthusiasts.

A couple of my favorites…

Fossil Diatoms
Diatoms of Macedonia
Awesome Algae



It’s a fun, meandering exploration. Each new species is unique in form- and you effectively get to discover a new creative pathway with each one. For example, creating this specific species (Dictyocha speculum) involves an extruder, a heat gun, and elements that are ‘pulled’ like handles on a mug.

Dictyocha speculum

Here’s a short process video that talks about the project in its broader aspect.

David Roon

David Roon

An artist working at the interface of visual art and Conservation Biology, and a professor at the University of Idaho (Natural Resources and Society).

Mixed media and printmaking, with a strong grounding in ceramics. Exploring the interface between humans and the global biosphere (particularly coastal and marine ecosystems). Installation, sculpture, and ginormous functional pots.

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