Michelle Lougee

Environmental Art • Sculpture • Ceramics • Illustration • Education

Cell By Cell

What do bacteria, birds nests, cocoons, blood cells and phytoplankton have in common? How about an African safari trip? Or a visit to a butterfly garden with children?

At a cancer research lab, I viewed HeLa cells, the oldest and most commonly used human cell line, under a microscope. Underwater organisms inspired much of my recent work. As I looked under the microscope, I was taken by the similarities between the two worlds. This led me to begin working with cell imagery, and Cells is a clay journal connecting sources of inspiration for me.

I’ve been making one piece each day, with one piece leading into another. The inspiration for Cells varies from blood cells, phytoplankton, fossils, caterpillars, vegetation and more. All of them share a theme of concern for the environment.

Hanging weaver bird nests in Africa and caterpillar cocoons in the butterfly garden remind me of the ambitious refuse that makes its way into trees at home.

The thread among all of the work is not only the impact contemporary consumerist society has on nature, but also the forces and effects of its integration with the environment.