Astoundingly Intricate Designs of the Smallest Form

Posted on November 29, 2016 by Dr. Lynda

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a drainage ditch or a horse trough, it’s worth having a look. Most of the world would never see the beauty there.” – Klaus Kemp

Ah, just the kind of thing an artist/scientist/innovator would say!

Have you ever heard of “diatoms?” They are tiny organisms with hard cell walls that form jewel-like, geometric patterns. These are akin to the tiniest, most exquisite sculptures on earth.

Image: Diatomes, small shells of animals of various forms
Source: Wipeter // Wikimedia


More simply put, diatoms are various forms of algae with distinctive, transparent cell walls made of silica, the main component of glass.

Just look at that photo, the size of a head of a pin, covered with over one hundred diatoms, each wondrously unique and complex.

Now you’d be right to wonder where we are going with this celebration of single-celled organisms, but you’d be wrong to think this article is about science. We’ve got another amazing thought-leader to introduce you to, who has thought way outside the box and used diatoms in an amazing way.

Just so you can appreciate the video we are pointing you to today on EWC, here’s an even closer view of various kinds of single diatoms, under very high powered magnification, j

Image: 4 different diatoms
Source: Wikicommons


“The Diatomist” is a short film about Klaus Kemp, master of an art made popular in the Victorian, wherein an artist arranges beautiful shapes and sizes of diatoms to create petite works of art.

I could expand on diatoms, but this piece will tell it best:

More beauty of another kind here on Ever Widening Circles. And as the artist points out in our opening quote, we might find these in a drainage ditch or a horse trough if we knew how to look.

It reminds me that beauty is not all about flowers and lovely things.

Source: Rovag // Wikimedia

It may be about patterns in places we can not imagine.

Beauty may be about the way things work out.

Beauty may be an image of perfection that we hold in our minds when all around us seems bleak.

It may be a promise of a faithful dog’s greeting when we arrive home.

If beauty can be found in algae, it must be all around us in forms we have yet to imagine.

Here’s a trick I use when I need to hold up in dark places:

Keep an image of something beautiful ready in your mind, something you can almost see and smell when you are faced with cruelty or ugliness. Then you can endure to find beauty another day.

– Dr. Lynda

Thanks for sharing a little wonder from the natural world with us today.

We’d like to say thank you to a great friend to EWC who sent us the link to today’s remarkable video. (Thanks, Chad!)

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Stay open, curious and optimistic.

~ Dr. Lynda

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