How Do You Like Your Molecule-Themed Art?

mctega1cropcompress.jpgWe've been tackling important topics this week, but it's Friday, so I'll post about something rather more lighthearted. The headline Organic Chemistry Has Never Been Cooler recently lured me to a fashion magazine's blog. Once I read about the new jewelry line mctega and saw the designers' abstract, colorful renderings of polycyclic hydrocarbons, I was hooked. I wanted to know more about the necklace I've shown here and the story behind it, so I emailed Sarah and Kristina, the minds behind the line. I didn't expect to hear back (they're probably not used to hearing from science bloggers), but Kristina got back to me right away. Incidentally, the name mctega is a conglomeration of her last name and Sarah's. Here are some choice excerpts from our conversation, which took place via email. C&ENtral Sci: What techniques do you use to make your jewelry? mctega: We use injection molding and plastics such as polyester resins and polyurethane to create handmade pieces that are centered around the geometry of organic chemistry and that take advantage of properties of plastics manipulated during varying stages of the reaction process. We experiment with molding techniques and try to make something known for its ubiquity more precious. C&ENtral Sci: Tell me about how your scientific training influences your creative process. mctega: We both switched our focus from science to fashion in our junior year of college (Sarah was premed, and Kristina was microbiology). This shaped our friendship and the way we view design. This being our first season, the incorporation of science was an important design story to tell about ourselves. However, our samples for next season are already a departure from the chemistry of this collection. C&ENtral Sci: It's sad to hear that you're moving away from the chemistry aspect. There are so many beautiful molecules out there! mctega: There are many many beautiful aspects of chemistry, and we think that will always shape our aesthetic, but we love coming up with new ideas and challenging ourselves with new techniques that lead us into new directions. So there you have it. I'm still sad to see such a creative vision of molecules die out so soon. I like Raven Hanna's jewelry line, Made With Molecules (see here for Ivan Amato's profile of Raven in C&EN), but hers is a much more literal interpretation of molecules. I have yet to find something in her line that I love enough to buy, despite having blogged about it in the past. Now, mctega's line is another story, but their price point's higher than I tend to pay for jewelry. Hmmm... Tenderbutton (password required) did get a free iPod, didn't he? Just kidding about that. But how do you like science and art to mix, if at all? Do you prefer artistic interpretations that hew closer to what we know to be chemical reality, or do you think a little artistic license is a good thing?

Author: Carmen Drahl

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