A father, a husband, a scientist, a cancer surgeon,
A love of nature, a need to express myself.
Gems, Minerals and Glass – hot, cold and warm.
The rest I make up day to day.
It all started when...
Like every artist, my work is an amalgamation of various themes:
- I started collecting minerals and crystals when I was young. I can't say why, I didn't think they had mystical properties - but they were inspiring and wonderful creations. Where did they come from? See below.
- I grew up at NASA in the early 60's: everyone I knew worked at NASA. I learned springboard diving from the astronaut Scott Carpenter. The community swimming pool was shaped like a space capsule. In seventh grade I was trying to learn calculus and wanted to be an astrophysicist.
- I got sidetracked, I learned in college that mice could be immunized against cancer. My mother's sister had died of cancer when she was a child - we never spoke of it, but it impacted all of us. My two sisters became nurses. I became an MD/PhD. My PhD thesis was on cancer and the immune system.
- As a cancer surgeon I treat a lot of patients - most do well but for some, their cancer is too advanced for a surgical cure... I started doing art: it helps me recharge.
- During my career I learned a great deal, some of it is still true. I learned that the immune system occasionally eradicates cancer that was otherwise unbeatable. I am often impressed by my patients, they show such strength and hope despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Hope gives them a cause and a greater quality of life.
- I can't fathom what the chances of a crystal forming are - close to one out of infinity. But crystals are real - they are sitting on my desk at work, in my home and now in my art. Crystals and minerals validate Hope. Apart from their amazing visual properties, their reality reminds me that Hope is real.
- My artistic path gelled when I took a class at Corning Museum in glass sculpting (cold-working) with Marin Rosol and Pavel Novak. My challenge was to use crystal glass to bring out the beauty of Nature's minerals. I went home inspired, made some space in the basement and started experimenting - looking back, it was a blend of my research training and my need for creative expression.
Formation of Minerals
Minerals are made up of light elements like carbon, silicon and iron. Light elements come from first generation stars. Heavier elements like silver, gold and platinum are formed in later generation stars. Our sun is a third generation star and provided spaceship Earth with all the elements.
The Rock Cycle
The earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago and is composed of three layers; a core consisting of a solid inner layer of nickel/iron and an outer layer of molten nickel/iron; a mantel composed of silicates and peridotite; and a 45 mile thin crust composed of a rich collection of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. These different types of rock come from the rock life cycle. Igneous rocks form as hot magma from the mantel is pushed up into the crust and cools. Some igneous rocks make it to the surface where they are degraded by the weather and with time they are buried, compressed and become sedimentary rocks. If they become buried deeper they are compressed further and become metamorphic rocks. Metamorphic rocks may continue to sink and re-enter the magma - completing the rock cycle.
Formation of crystals
When magma cools quickly, small crystals form and create rocks like basalt, when magma cools slowly larger crystals form as seen in granite. Larger crystals form when cooling occurs extremely slowly - obviously these are very rare events and can result in beautiful crystals.