Cross Sections

Plant cells are beautiful.


I am awestruck by the way some things look under a microscope — in particular, plant stems. A cross-section of a sunflower stem is a gorgeous packet of pattern! These tiny round slices look remarkably like rose windows in Gothic cathedrals.

When the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose invited me to do an installation project and children’s activity based on the theme, “inspired by nature,” I began with these cellular stem patterns. First, I designed a set of ten ink stamps that closely mimicked the look and feel of the cellular structure. Then I spent hours in the children’s Art Loft stamping giant cross-sections of sunflower stems on the large white walls.

While I stamped the walls, museum visitors made their own colorful cell-inspired patterns on paper to take home. Children could also look at actual plant stem cross-sections under a microscope.