Brother John’s

April 15, 2008

Latest Crystal Images

A single sugar crystal.

New Seed Crystal

Planting a Seed Crystal.


To the right is recent results from my crystal projects. The top row (left) shows a young “seed crystal” plucked from the Mother cluster (below), and you can see new growth (top right) of that same seed crystal.

The bottom images show progressive growth of the mother crystal from her early “buds” to fully formed/developed crystals. I electronically blue filtered the last image to show off all the classic lines, shapes, and definition of classic crystals. In reality the mother crystals are still semi-transparent.

Feel free to “click” and explore!

Early BudsClassic shapesNice development

Manny, Moe & Jack

Crystals in Pale Blue

Turns Blue!


March 25, 2008

Pysanky Art (Ancient)

Filed under: Projects,Pysanky Art — Brother John @ 8:00 am
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Cobalt Blue Pysanky Egg Art

I’ve been giving some thought to attempting to do a Pysanky Egg art project. I was recently watching public television when they did a small documentary on this ancient form of art. I was immediately intrigued. Of course I would never be able to approach the quality of those who have done this all their lives, but I would like to give it a try.

The process starts with a clean, white, chicken egg (yolk and all – a real egg). You lightly draw a simple pattern with pencil on the egg shell that you want to remain white. (See the white pattern in the image on the left?). Next you cover your simple pattern with a coating of bees wax. (This will prevent that section of the egg from absorbing dye when it is later dipped). The tool you use to “write” on the egg with wax is called a Kistka (see below) which is basically a small metal funnel attached to a dowel that drips molten wax.

Kistka Tool

Once protected with wax, the egg is dipped into a dye bath. Pysanky eggs that will go on display use a dye that is more brilliant and glossy then could be achieved with regular food coloring.

The egg above only uses one color (plus the natural white of the chicken egg). But many beautiful Pysanky eggs use multiple colorings. At each stage, each new color is again protected with wax and the egg is dyed again.

The next stage involves holding the wax covered egg next to a flame. As the wax melts, it is gently wiped off exposing the color it was protecting.

The final stage involves two tiny pin holes on each end of the egg. The yolk can be blown out leaving only the decorated shell.

If I do attempt this, I will keep you posted with additional information, links, and of course pictures of my attempt.

Also check out Hilo Verde’s pysanky art.

March 12, 2008


Filed under: Plants,Projects — Brother John @ 1:00 pm
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Meet Emily!!!

The Emily Plant

I was visiting my local Dry Cleaner when I spotted Emily’s mother. The mother was a fine looking specimen and I just knew she wouldn’t mind allowing me to adopt Emily. I brought Emily home and eased her into a nice fresh glass of water. Emily put out some nice roots for me and has since gotten a new home. And you can finally see her new home by clicking on the image below:

Emily Get’s A Home

March 9, 2008

Update to my crystal project.

Filed under: Crystals,Projects — Brother John @ 9:50 am

You can see how my crystal project is growing… uh I mean going. I’ve added a new image!!! Check it out here.

February 17, 2008

Growing Crystals

Filed under: Crystals,Projects — Brother John @ 3:05 am
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While I’m working on a draft that will talk about my cancer story, I thought I’d give you something to read. I give you… “Fun with Crystals”.

From my “Growing Crystals” experiments.

I’ve recently developed an interest in growing crystals. I felt the best way to do this would be to start with growing sugar crystals because I already had everything I needed.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m the curious type. I’m always wondering about how things work and why they do the things they do. One morning I woke up and discovered I was suddenly curious about crystal formation. I wanted to try my hand at growing them.

The image on the left is after one day’s growth and I’d expect larger crystals to grow given time.

The trick to creating crystals is a super saturated sugar/water solution containing higher concentrations of dissolved sugar than water. The exact ratio is an important factor for success. As water evaporates from the super saturated solution, the concentration of sugar to water will naturally increase. Some sugar molecules will have to come out of suspension (fall out) and will return to a solid particle form. This should happen slowly.

As particles continue to “fall out” of suspension, they will be attracted to one another and may even attach. If enough of them stack up in layers, they will form a kind of”protocrystal” or “pre-crystal”. As more particles fall out they will be strongly attracted to the protocrystal and will attach to it. This is how crystals grow. NEW…

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