woah – electric fabric

this is really exciting.  especially from an art point of view.

Organic electronics on natural cotton fibres


Nanoscale modification of natural cotton fibres with conformal coatings of gold nanoparticles, deposition of thin layers of the conductive polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxithiophene) (PEDOT) and a combination of these two processes were employed to increase conductivity of plain cotton yarns. This innovative approach was especially designed to fabricate two classes of devices: passive devices such as resistors obtained from electrically conductive cotton yarns, and two types of active devices, namely organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) and organic field effect transistors (OFETs). The detailed electrical and mechanical analysis we performed on treated cotton yarns revealed that they can be used as conductors still maintaining a good flexibility. This study opens an avenue for real integration between organic electronics and traditional textile technology and materials.


newspaper article

oooh, i’m in the paper.  in a good way.  the pictures from the article vanished, so i put my own snaps in.

Lifestyle 11:57 a.m. Tuesday, July 5, 2011

By Melissa Ruggieri

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

They weigh 45 pounds naked.

Georgia Aquarium Homer the Home Depot dolphin was designed by local artist Jeanne Morrison as part of the Georgia Aquarium Dolphins on Parade.

Georgia Aquarium Seen here is a dolphin designed by local artist Jeanne Morrison for Georgia Aquarium’s ‘Dolphins on Parade’. This one is for McKenney contractors.

Ten of them are hanging around the Pemberton Place courtyard, outside of Georgia Aquarium, while another six, the more fragile ones, greet visitors inside the aquatic venue.

Still more – 47 in all – are scattered throughout the city, in Midtown and downtown, Buckhead and Grant Park.

Some sport mirrored tiles and painted lipstick. Others, a workman’s apron or zebra stripes. And then there’s the one with a swoop of ginger hair, sitting behind a desk like his real-life counterpart on a late-night TBS talk show. He’ll chill at the aquarium until it’s time to possibly take a trip to the West Coast to visit his human doppelganger named Conan.

What are these funky fiberglass figures?

They’re the Dolphins on Parade, a public art project commissioned by Georgia Aquarium as a tie-in to its Dolphin Tales show and exhibit, which opened this spring.

The program percolated in May 2010 with a call-out to local artists interested in participating. Of the 70 who submitted designs, 50 were chosen and matched with sponsors who purchased the dolphins. The artists received a stipend for their work.

Companies that want to own their dolphin paid $6,500, while those spotlighting them only through fall, when the program ends, paid $3,500. Those dolphin statues will be auctioned off at the aquarium’s annual Aqua Vino event in October, including an Atlanta Falcons fin-ster who is wearing a jersey and bears the signatures of every team player and coach, as well as owner Arthur Blank.

Proceeds benefit the aquarium’s sponsored admissions programs.

Kristie Cobb Hacke, vice president of sponsorship and development at Georgia Aquarium, said the idea for Dolphins on Parade originated with a board member when the aquarium first opened in 2005.

“At the time, we knew we couldn’t pull it off because of the construction, but we decided when the aquarium opened that the next big thing we did, we wanted to tie in with something to engage the community. Dolphins are the thing that people ask for again and again, so what a perfect fit,” she said.

One of the participating artists, Jeanne Morrison, worked on three dolphins: Homer, stationed at Home Depot on Ponce De Leon; another located at the Courtyard Marriott downtown; and one for McKenney’s Mechanical Contractors, the company that provided HVAC and Life Support System controls at the aquarium.

Of the trio, the Marriott statuette proved the most challenging to decorate because the hotel, which is housed in the Carnegie Building, also wanted the fiberglass fish to represent the Carnegie Library.

“Tracing the old library onto his head was so difficult. I even tried using calculus on it,” Morrison said.

Though the primary purpose of Dolphins on Parade is for it to exist as public art, the aquarium is also injecting some social media-based fun into the project.

A section on the aquarium website (www.georgiaaquarium.org/dolphin-tales/) encourages people to participate in FourSquare, Twitter and Facebook by “checking in” at a Dolphin on Parade point, posting photos and tags on Facebook and tweeting to the aquarium’s Twitter handle with the hashtag #dolphinsonparade.

Every week, one winner will be selected for an aquarium prize pack.

Also, dolphin scavenger hunters can check Facebook and Twitter for clues on the whereabouts of four dolphins not plotted on the website map. Find one, take a photo, submit via one of the aforementioned social media methods and also possibly win an aquarium prize.

“Because Atlanta played such a big role in creating the aquarium, we wanted to do something where people can be involved,” Hacke said. “Public art inspires people in a different way than just coming into the aquarium.”

clothes as your face

” if clothes allow you to paint your own portrait, getting dressed may take on a whole new meaning and perspective.”  i’m working on making my clothes a lot more personal than i’ve ever worn them before.

The Irish Times – Saturday, July 2, 2011

The cult of Kahlo

Frida Kahlo blazed a trail that has outlasted her, leaving behind a legacy of self-expression, individualism and art. This fashion shoot channels her iconic image, writes DEIRDRE MCQUILLAN

WHEN IT COMES to dressing for effect, there was no better practitioner than Mexican artist and self-portraitist Frida Kahlo. The surreal way she fashioned herself in her paintings, like a devotional icon – stern and monumental, but in festive, fiesta colours with deliberately chosen backgrounds, bold jewellery and the odd monkey perched on her shoulder, is laden with symbolism.

But it is her gaze – that proud, unwavering stare from those black eyes – that challenges the viewer. Her unibrow, topped with a halo of glossy black hair, and her downy moustache are the famous trademarks that powerfully display her fierce sense of self. You feel that as much creative energy went into her appearance as went into her work.

That sense of style, along with the story of her life, her terrible disabilities and years of suffering, have made many women identify strongly with her. Germaine Greer called her the first performance artist who anticipated the modern age of individualism, and described the way she displayed herself in various appropriated settings as “advertisements” for herself. French writer and poet André Breton described her art as “a ribbon around a bomb”.

Kahlo’s influence on contemporary fashion has been considerable. Madonna is a serious collector. Jean Paul Gaultier is another fan, and her style has been endlessly cited as a source of inspiration by designers, performers and stylists. The recent show at Imma of Kahlo’s work and that of her husband, Diego Rivera, attracted nearly 40,000 visitors, setting it in the museum’s top 10 most popular exhibitions; almost all of the books about her have sold out there. Kahlo’s fame has eclipsed that of her husband, with her image endlessly reproduced, even on Mexican banknotes. Their home in Mexico (designed by Juan O’Gorman, an architect of Irish descent), is now a museum and place of pilgrimage for aficionados.

Iseult Sheehy, who styled this shoot in the Botanic Gardens, and who studied her work when she was training in fashion design, is a long-term fan. “She inspired a lot of the pieces I was making, but to be in the same room as the paintings at Imma and to see their true colours made a big impact. I wanted to put [across] my interpretation of her and use the same looks in a different way,” she says.

The results show that, if clothes allow you to paint your own portrait, getting dressed may take on a whole new meaning and perspective.

my next public art project?

or something just like.  i want to do this kind of thing for real.

A striking outdoor lighting design for a Scottish city underpass proves that high impact doesn’t have to mean high energy, as this large scale 170 LED lighting installation consumes the equivalent energy of 6 incandescent light bulbs. The impressive space was conceived through a collaboration between the Glasgow based design studios Bigg Design and Zero-Waste Design, who successfully transformed the once foreboding underpass in Cumbernauld into a welcoming space that changes color in 4 stages between dusk and dawn, adding a sense of life to their cityscape silhouette wall mural.

Cumbernauld, Scotland, LED, Street lighting, Green lighting, underpass, innovative LEDs

This project demonstrates a great way to reclaim city spaces and turn them into 21st century places as the colorful lighting transitions completely transform the atmosphere  throughout the day and night. The LED outdoor lighting changes include orange hues for early sunset, purple hues for twilight, pink hues for late sunset and blue hues for the duration of the night and the stunning environment is completed with starlight roof effects and a ‘river’ of light that is projected onto the ground.

The designers Hamish Bigg and Roy Shearer worked with local school children at St Maurice’s High School throughout the project (from brainstorming in concept development to getting their hands dirty painting the mural of their town), which they hope has enabled the kids to have a sense of ownership of the space they pass on their daily journey to school. The project was commissioned North Lanarkshire Council in Scotland in order to regenerate the area around the Craiglinn roundabout in Cumbernauld.

i’m for against it

i’m against artistic censorship.  we have bodies, get used to it, you prudes.

Should religious art require a fig leaf?

By Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune

16th Century painter Jan Gossaert's full-frontal, no-fig-leaves nude Adam and Eve, on display at the Staatliche Museum in Berlin, would not be accepted in some churches. 16th Century painter Jan Gossaert’s full-frontal, no-fig-leaves nude Adam and Eve, on display at the Staatliche Museum in Berlin, would not be accepted in some churches.

The Rev. France Davis doesn’t want any nude Adam-and-Eve figures at his Calvary Baptist Church— even if they were painted by the famed Michelangelo himself.Davis is unequivocal in his view that there is nothing inspiring or redeeming about naked figures in religious art.

“Since we sinned, as it said in the book of Genesis, the human body has certain parts that are private,” the outspoken pastor said. “We should keep them for more intimate settings like people’s bedrooms.”

Davis is hardly alone in that view.

From the prudish impulses of the Counter-Reformation, to the Vatican’s use of the fig leaf as a genital cover-up a century later, to modern Christians objecting to a nude Christ sculpted out of chocolate, there have always been those who wanted to see everything clothed.

Scores of believers oppose any nakedness in art as blasphemous — even a glimpse of the Virgin Mary’s breast as she nurses her baby son — or akin to pornography.

For other Christians, though, the line between celebrating and eschewing artistic nudity is neither easy nor clear-cut.

It depends, they say, on whether the artist intends to enlighten a biblical narrative or trigger a sexual response, whether the nudity is theologically important or just there to shock.

It’s also crucial to ask about a work’s intended audience, setting and spirit.

Pope Benedict XVI recently praised the use of nudity in the 16th-century masterpiece, “The Last Judgment,” which dominates an entire wall behind the altar in the famed Sistine Chapel.

“The bodies painted by Michelangelo are filled with light, life and splendor,” the pope said in a news story from Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

“He wanted to show that our bodies contain a mystery: within them the spirit is manifest.”

The debate about whether nudity in religious art inspires or denigrates could merely be a question of time and distance.

“The world has changed around us so much; it’s harder today to utilize nudity in a constructive and edifying way. The innocence of nakedness has been blasted out of the way or ratcheted up by sexual content in art,” Mormon artist Brian Kershisnik said. “Maybe in 200 years people will look at paintings we have trouble with and they won’t have the same issues.”

When the Rev. Sam Wheatley was leading a congregation in Atlanta, the group decided to engage area artists by creating a gallery in the church foyer. The works coincided with Wheatley’s sermons, and then a jury of their peers decided which ones to exhibit.

The question immediately arose: What about pieces with nudity?

Because it was a church space, the congregation didn’t want any works that would cause problems for parents or people with more conservative sensitivities, Wheatley said. Plus, the Bible commands believers not to make a “graven image” and cautions against using the body in ungodly ways.

But the congregation also wanted to affirm the Christian teaching that “the body is something beautiful and, in Christ, God has taken on human form,” said Wheatley, now pastor at Salt Lake City’s New Song Presbyterian Church. “(That act) gives our lives a dignity and beauty that is blessed by God.”

In the end, the Atlanta artists produced some nude figures, but none was overly graphic or stirred trouble.

Great art, like great worship, points to something beyond this world that touches us, Wheatley said. “When that something is invoked, I am drawn into awe and I want to explore its source.”

Too often, Wheatley said, Christians prefer art that is more like propaganda or illustration — pieces that tell believers what to think rather than pieces with the power to awaken thoughts and emotions within.

That’s partly why so many Christians have not been part of the arts community in very vibrant ways, Wheatley said, and why nudity has so often distracted Christians from seeing the artists’ love for grand themes.

Kershisnik has painted naked portrayals of Adam and Eve, without benefit of fig leaves or wandering vines. He has portrayed a disrobed Christ, though his body is not completely visible. He has shown Madonna and child, sucking on her breast.

And, in a recent work, “Resurrecting,” the Mormon artist depicted unclothed believers coming out of their graves.

“Although I have a firm conviction of the resurrection of the body, I have no such conviction of the resurrection of fabric,” he said. “In practical terms, if your clothes survived for a couple hundred years, they wouldn’t survive your standing up.”

Kershisnik said he doesn’t “feel a mission in life to rub people’s faces in more nudity than they are prepared to observe,” but said that “if nudity seems to be an important part of the metaphor of the painting, I hope I am not too squeamish to shy away.”

In 1997, Mormon-owned Brigham Young University excluded four nudes from a traveling exhibit of Auguste Rodin sculptures, saying they would distract viewers from appreciating the artist’s dignity.

At figure-drawing classes at BYU, models wear full-body leotards to avoid any suggestion of impropriety. Even many who admire nudity in classics or in museums may not want it in their sanctuaries.

“I wouldn’t have a problem with a nude Adam and Eve in a Mormon meetinghouse, but I can’t see it happening,” artist Lee Bennion said from her studio in Spring City, Utah. “Not right now anyway. Some

(members) would be confused by it.”

The LDS Church doesn’t take a position on artistic nudity, she said, but it does oppose pornography, which is a “horrible thing” and some people have trouble telling the difference.

“If it is going to bring that kind of trouble into a worship space,”

Bennion said, “it’s probably not worth it.”

how toxic is orange oil?

i use orange oil as an all-purpose solvent in my studio.  i use it to mix up my oil paints.  i use it to wash my brushes.  i use it to make wax paste to use in encaustic painting.  i use it as a paint remover and a degreaser and in really tough laundry, and a drop at a time as a flavoring.

i’ve got asthma.  i get all wheezy in the detergent aisle at the supermarket.  i’m sensitive to things in parts per billion, rather than parts per million.  but all orange oil does is make me hungry.

here’s an often quoted abstract


D-limonene is one of the most common terpenes in nature. It is a major constituent in several citrus oils (orange, lemon, mandarin, lime, and grapefruit). D-limonene is listed in the Code of Federal Regulations as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for a flavoring agent and can be found in common food items such as fruit juices, soft drinks, baked goods, ice cream, and pudding.

D-limonene is considered to have fairly low toxicity. It has been tested for carcinogenicity in mice and rats. Although initial results showed d-limonene increased the incidence of renal tubular tumors in male rats, female rats and mice in both genders showed no evidence of any tumor. Subsequent studies have determined how these tumors occur and established that d-limonene does not pose a mutagenic, carcinogenic, or nephrotoxic risk to humans. In humans, d-limonene has demonstrated low toxicity after single and repeated dosing for up to one year.

Being an excellent solvent of cholesterol, d-limonene has been used clinically to dissolve cholesterol-containing gallstones. Because of its gastric acid neutralizing effect and its support of normal peristalsis, it has also been used for relief of heartburn. D-limonene has well-established chemopreventive activity against many types of cancers. Evidence from a phase I clinical trial shows a partial response in a patient with breast cancer and stable disease for more than six months in three patients with colorectal cancer. (Altern Med Rev 2007;12(3):259-264)

it’s listed in some references as toxic, and others as non toxic.

D-limonene – This chemical is produced by cold-pressing orange peels. The extracted oil is 90% d-limonene. It is a sensitizer, a neurotoxin, a moderate eye and skin irritant, and can trigger respiratory distress when vapours are inhaled  by some sensitive individuals.  There is some evidence of carcinogenicity.  D-limonene is the active ingredient in some insecticides. It is used as a solvent in many all-purpose cleaning products, especially ‘citrus’ and ‘orange’ cleaners.  Also listed on labels as citrus oil and orange oil.

there’s nothing conclusive on the epa iris site, because they don’t address it.  they’re discussing possible inhalation problems when the only studies they list have been ingestion studies.

try not to ingest more than a drop of orange oil at a time.

The health effects data for d-limonene were reviewed by the U.S. EPA RfD/RfC Work Group and determined to be inadequate for the derivation of an inhalation RfC. The verification status for this chemical is currently NOT VERIFIABLE. For additional information on the health effects of this chemical, interested parties are referred to the documentation listed below.

NOT VERIFIABLE status indicates that the U.S. EPA RfD/RfC Work Group deemed the database at the time of review to be insufficient to derive an inhalation RfC according to the Interim Methods for Development of Inhalation Reference Concentrations (U.S. EPA, 1990). This status does not preclude the use of information in cited references for assessment by others.

d-Limonene (1-methyl-4-isopropenyl-1-cyclohexene) is a liquid with a lemonlike odor. It is a major constituent in several citrus oils (orange, lemon, mandarin, lime, and grapefruit) and is present in a number of other essential oils, as well. d-Limonene is included on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Generally Recognized as Safe List and is approved for use by the FDA as a food additive (Opdyke, 1975). d-Limonene has a boiling point of 176 C and a vapor pressure of <3 mmHg at 14 C. d-Limonene is used primarily as a flavor and fragrance ingredient.

No information is available on the health effects of inhalation exposure to d-limonene in humans, and no long-term inhalation studies have been conducted in laboratory animals. NTP (1990) conducted a series of studies that investigated the toxicity of d-limonene (>99% pure) in both Fischer 344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice.

the  pesticide info site is very mild on the risks from limonene exposure:

Not Listed
Not Listed
Not Available
Slightly Toxic
Not Acutely Toxic to Slightly Toxic

here’s a look at the msds for food-grade d-limonene.  i wouldn’t put the stuff in my eye, that’s for sure.  mucous membranes and orange oil is a very bad idea.  once i lightly ran a freshly dipped q-tip around the outside of my ear canal, and ten minutes later my ear was hot and stinging and i felt like it was going to burn a hole thru to my brain.

so don’t put it in any orifice, okay?  think of it like you would tiger balm.  there are places you just shouldn’t let that stuff get onto.

Emergency Overview
Appearance/Odor: Colorless liquid with citrus aroma.
Product is Combustible.
Slippery when spilled.
Potential Health Effects: See Section 11 for more information.
Likely Routes of Exposure: Eye contact, skin contact, inhalation.
Eye: Causes moderate to severe irritation.
Skin: May cause slight redness. Prolonged or repeated exposure may cause drying of the skin.
Inhalation: May cause nose, throat, and respiratory tract irritation, coughing, headache.
Ingestion: Not likely to be toxic, but may cause vomiting, headache, or other medical problems.
Medical Conditions Aggravated By Exposure: May irritate the skin of people with pre-existing skin conditions.
This product does not contain any carcinogens or potential carcinogens as listed by OSHA, IARC, ACGIH or NTP.
OSHA Regulatory Status
This material is combustible, which is defined as having a flash point between 100oF (37.8oC) and 200oF (93.3oC). Combustible materials are haz-
ardous according to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).

there are varying reports about toxicity and sensitization.

d-Limonene is not acutely toxic.
Oral: LD50 >5 g/kg, rabbit
Dermal: LD50 >5 g/kg, rabbit
Skin: The skin irritancy of limonene in guinea pigs and rabbits is considered moderate and low, respectively.
Sensitization: d-Limonene is not a sensitizer. Improper storage and handling can lead to oxidation. The oxidized forms
of d-Limonene have been shown to be a skin sensitizer.
Inhalation: RD50 >1000 ppm
Chronic Toxicity: Not listed as a carcinogen (OSHA, NTP, IARC, or ACGIH)
Ecotoxicological Information: Product may be toxic to aquatic organisms.

a technical book on aromatherapy doesn’t like citrus oil at all once it oxidizes, and warns about skin and lung problems from long term use.  that involves sensitization, for which, again, the evidence is mixed.

so don’t touch it, and use proper ventilation.

the human metabolome project seems to conclude d-limonene isn’t bad for humans, but it’s ard to tell.

The scientific data base demonstrates that the tumorigenic activity of d-limonene in male rats is not relevant to humans. The three major lines of evidence supporting the human safety of d-limonene are (1) the male rat specificity of the nephrotoxicity and carcinogenicity; (2) the pivotal role that alpha 2u-globulin plays in the toxicity, as evidenced by the complete lack of toxicity in other species despite the presence of structurally similar proteins; and (3) the lack of genotoxicity of both d-limonene and d-limonene-1,2-oxide, supporting the concept of a nongenotoxic mechanism, namely, sustained renal cell proliferation. (PMID: 2024047)

evidently citrus oil is being investigated for anti-cancer properties.


D-Limonene is a natural monoterpene with pronounced chemotherapeutic activity and minimal toxicity in preclinical studies.

D-Limonene is well tolerated in cancer patients at doses which may have clinical activity. The favorable toxicity profile supports further clinical evaluation.

here’s a county-level advisory on d-limonene, which they list as an insect repellant.  it’s not mobile, it’s not persistent.  don’t be dumping it in any streams.  otherwise, the safety features go on and on.

Mobility Summary:
D-Limonene is not very soluble in water and it adheres strongly to soil with organic matter. Because d-limonene dissipates quickly into the air and binds
strongly to soil it is not expected to move off the site of application and get into surface water or ground water. The hazard for mobility is rated low.

Persistence Summary:
D-Limonene has a high vapor pressure so it is likely to dissipate into the air when it is applied to vegetation or to the ground. In the air, d-limonene will
react with other chemicals and degrade within minutes to hours. If d-limonene gets into water it will volatilize off the surface, breakdown in sunlight, and
bind to sediments. After d-limonene is introduced to the environment, it is likely to reach half of the applied concentration in less than one week.
Thurston County rates the hazard of chemical persistence as low.

Bioaccumulation Summary:
D-Limonene adheres more readily to organic solvents than to water indicating the potential to bind to fish or animal tissue. Calculated bioconcentration
factors indicate that there is a moderate hazard for accumulation in fish tissue. The hazard for bioaccumulation is rated moderate.

Acute Toxicity Testing and Ecotoxicity Summary:
Single-dose toxicity testing indicates that d-limonene is highly toxic to worms, fish, and other aquatic organisms but low in toxicity to mammals and birds.
It is assumed that it is highly toxic to bees and other insects because it is an active ingredient for insecticides. Toxicity to pets and wildlife is not expected
from the insecticidal use of d-limonene because it dissipates rapidly into the air and contacting treated vegetation or soil is not likely to cause a significant
exposure (except to insects and possibly to worms). Risk of toxicity to non-target organisms from the use of d-limone products is rated low.

i’m looking for specific references to orange oil fumes, because in general, breathing solvent fumes are a very bad idea.  it’s killed at least one old-school encaustic painter – turpentine yek fui.  his name was karl zerbe.

In the 1930s Levine experimented briefly with encaustic, as did Hyman Bloom. Both are commonly associated with Karl Zerbe as leaders of Boston Expressionism who, by 1940, sought to transform nature-based imagery into symbolic representations of deeper expressive content. Although Levine and Bloom did not continue their experiments, Zerbe is commonly credited with almost single-handedly reviving the use of the encaustic medium through his teaching and well-publicized exhibitions of his work during the 1940s.

In 1936, Zerbe came across some incidental references to Fayum portraits and became excited at the possibility of updating the ancient encaustic technique. Finding that there was little published on the subject, he began his own experiments, beginning with a pie pan on a kitchen stove. He proceeded to experiment with various types of waxes, resins, and oils in many combinations and temperatures, even enduring the cracking of some early examples. Zerbe eventually found the right mixture: ninety percent beeswax and ten percent of sun-thickened linseed oil, heated to 225 degrees Fahrenheit on a thermostatically controlled electric palette. For the burning in process, he employed electric heaters, such as diathermic hand-lamps and blow-torches.

In 1949, Zerbe ended a decade of preoccupation with encaustic. His last painting of the era in this medium was Job (1949, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston); the agonized subject is a portrait of Zerbe himself facing a personal crisis. Zerbe was increasingly debilitated by bronchial asthma, aggravated by the turpentine solvent fumes generated by his encaustic process. Nevertheless, Zerbe had already continued to explore other mediums and now turned to experimentation with plastic-based paints, especially polymer tempera, and acrylics — at times reminiscent of his work in encaustic.

In 1955, Zerbe became a Professor of Art at Florida State University in Tallahassee. There he occasionally continued to use encaustic, as evidenced by his painting Church at Dawn of 1956, featured in a movie of Zerbe demonstrating the medium as a “controlled accident” process with unpredictable results that can be selectively enhanced. Right before his death in 1972, Zerbe was trying to develop a “cold wax” encaustic process, as exemplified by his last series of bird paintings which combine that technique with Magna (acrylic resin). At Florida State University, Zerbe was a highly influential teacher for many students, including encaustic painters Nancy Reid Gunn and Robin Rose.

but i’m looking for specific references to this kind of thing happening with heated citrus oil fumes.

but in the meantime, here’s a caution about overheating wax in general, by one of the commercial leaders in the renaissance in encaustic painting.

With adequate ventilation and proper working temperatures (under 220°F) encaustic is safe and non-toxic.  Usually, working next to a window exhaust fan and having a source of fresh air coming in from another part of the studio, gets rid of fumes adequately.  It is important to ventilate, because wax fumes can be irritants, causing headaches, nausea and labored breathing.  Keep in mind, at temperatures over 250°F, the wax fumes become more concentrated and therefore, toxic and flammable.  Warning signs of this are an acrid odor and smoking wax.  For more information on ventilation, see our ventilation technical sheet.

there are various forums that discuss the problem of heating wax for encaustic painting.  there are various opinions, and quite a lot of emotion and insistence.  read the comments.

This summer at one of the workshops at the Encaustic Conference, there was a big debate over encaustic ventilation safety. It’s a hot topic because people have different opinions about the damage that working with encaustic can cause. I’d like to get an idea of what our team members think about this, and hopefully we can all learn a little more about the process.

this herbal handbook indicates that citrus oil – monoterpene – is used in all sorts of medical applications, including pulmonary ones.

These monoterpene compounds are found in nearly all essential oils and have a structure of 10 carbon atoms and at least one double bond. The 10 carbon atoms are derived from two isoprene units. They react readily to air and heat sources. For this reason citrus oils do not last well, since they are high in monoterpene hydrocarbons and have a quick reaction to air, and are readily oxidized. Although some quarters may simply state that these components have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial therapeutic properties while some can be analgesic or stimulating with a tonic effect, it could be seen as a very broad generalization, since this large group of chemicals vary greatly. Since some have a stimulating effect on the mucus membranes they are also often used as decongestants.

but i’m not finding anything that says heated citrus oil is a problem.  ventilate properly, is all, and that should be a no-brainer.  especially if you start getting a headache, or nauseated, or a sore throat.  duh.

Solvent fumes themselves are toxic. Pure Turpentine fumes are less toxic than petroleum distillates, white spirits, and some alternative solvents. Always be sure that your workplace is well ventilated.

Smelly solvent such as Turpentine is actually less toxic than the scent-less solvents. Plus, you can smell whether you have adequate ventilation or not.

so i feel pretty confident in recommending citrus oil as a safe alternative to both turpentine and mineral spirits in the studio, and particularly recommend it as the solvent in cold wax preparations.

there are commercial cold wax preparations, chiefly two, gamblin and dorland.

Gamblin Cold Wax Medium is made from naturally white unbleached beeswax, alkyd resin, and odorless mineral spirits (OMS)

there are a good few people experimenting with cold wax, and it’s a very versatile painting medium.  the links in this paragraph in particular go to artists working with cold wax, or discussions about it.

anyway, it’s time to get dinner on.  i’m hungry thinking about citrus oil.  here’s my latest encaustic painting.

baby falls, tellico river. beeswax, orange oil, pigment, river stones

mood-sensing lighting

eco-design, energy efficiency, green design, sustainable design, low energy, LED, OLED, Panasonic Electric Works, Ferruccio Laviani, Milan, lighting, salone del mobile, piano-forte

Panasonic Electric Works Co., Ltd has created a spectacular interactive installation of energy efficient, emotion-reading lights for the Salone del Mobile 2011 exhibition in Milan. Designed by Ferruccio Laviani, the lighting installation composed of new LED products, OLED panels, spotlights, and spatial sensors reflects Panasonic’s intensive research into sustainable energy solutions. Scattered in individual displays throughout three levels of the Minguzzi Museum, the new products are among the world’s most low energy, efficient, and compact lights. They also have some qualities that might creep you out.

eco-design, energy efficiency, green design, sustainable design, low energy, LED, OLED, Panasonic Electric Works, Ferruccio Laviani, Milan, lighting, salone del mobile, piano-forte

Aiming for compactness of form, essential design, and ease of use and maintenance without compromising energy efficiency or quality of illumination, Panasonic shows just how far lighting can go. Equipped with special sensors that can adjust lighting depending on the number of people in a room, many of their products can even pick up on the “emotional” environment.

Like the tonal range of music (this year’s theme is piano-forte), Panasonic’s lighting can be expressed in a variety of ambiences. The lights will be able to sense whether the mood is bright or somber and adjust the coloring accordingly. Visitors can interact and experiment with the installation and, in Laviani’s words, “experience [the products] at first hand and thus understand them better”.

+ Panasonic Electric Works Co. Ltd

+ Ferruccio Laviani

Read more: Panasonic’s Emotion-Reading Interactive LED and OLED Lights Debut in Milan | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World