RADIOLARIA I was introduced to Ernst Haeckel’s work, a German artist who was also a scientist when researching his book ‘Art Forms in Nature’ (1903) for a seminar paper recently. I was inspired by the beautiful artistic rendering of the microscopic sea creatures, Radiolaria, depicted within. In this ground-breaking work he renders in detail their intricate mineral skeletons which form a strong protection for their soft inner core. But it was not just their beauty which inspired me - these tiny creatures have an environmental impact; they are responsible for mopping up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and using it to create calcium carbonate for their skeletons. Thus, using Radiolaria as my inspiration, I approached this module by using both ceramic and textile media. As Radiolaria can have such a wide variety of forms I decided to concentrate on just two elements, their ‘egg’ shaped appearance and the spikes that they use for protection, and this led to the designs for the pieces that I produced. I confined my ceramic research to porcelain clay as I felt this would provide the fine, skeletal detail required, while in contrast I was able to explore Radiolaria’s vulnerability by using the softness of Marino fleece. Eventually I felt that Radiolaria’s dual qualities of strength and vulnerability needed to be expressed by the use of both media combined, which led to the making of some mixed media pieces.