synthetic nature

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Historical Paints Series - Combeferre + Synthetic Ultramarine

Natural ultramarine, a pigment made from the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli, is notorious for being extraordinarily expensive. However, advances in chemistry allowed the pigment to be analyzed in the early 19th century, and observations were made of similar blue deposits forming in kilns. This led to the offering of a prize in 1824 for the artificial production of the color, which was successfully done a few years later. This new version of the color was a fraction of the price of natural ultramarine, and quickly surpassed the older pigment.

Etch star on ruby crystal.

Whether natural or synthetic, ruby crystals have shapes on their surface. These occur as pits or raised bumps, and are usually triangular or hexagonal. Their shape is influenced by the crystal structure of the mineral, and they represent areas there the crystal was growing when the Earth ichor from which it crystallised ran out, or eaten away by magma or hydrothermal metamorphic fluids during its sejourn deep in the Earth.

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I don’t care what yarn you use.  Just don’t be sanctimonious.

So here’s the thing.  There’s a whole lot of different fibers out there to work with.  And there’s a whole lot of reasons why one is the right one for you and another one isn’t.  My point of this one is don’t choose them for the wrong reasons. 

One of the local LYS’s around here is the land of the hipster knitters.  And they infuriate me because they’re filled with so much misinformation.  “Oh I only use acrylics because they’re better for the earth.”  Nope.  Acrylic is made of plastic.  Plastic is made from oil.  Not to mention the massive amount of chemicals used in the processing.  “Oh I only use organically grown cotton yarn.”  Great.  You know that bright color you love?  It only comes from synthetic dyes.  Natural dyes create a muted palate.  So that organically grown cotton is organic no more. 

So going off of Yarn.com, here’s the pros and cons of their fiber types.

Acrylic and Microfiber- Pros- cheap and easy to find.  Cons- high variability of quality, doesn’t breathe, and made of plastic.

Alpaca- Pros- incredibly insanely warm animal fiber. Cons-incredibly insanely warm animal fiber.

Angora- Pros- super soft, super warm, animal fiber.  Cons- animal fiber from bunnies that’s on the high cost end.

Bamboo- Pros- Silk like feel and sheen without the silk like price.  Cons- heavy chemical processing to get from bamboo to a fiber.

Cashmere- Pros- super soft, super warm, animal fiber.  Cons- animal fiber, super high cost.

Cotton- Pros- perfect for warm weather knitting, highly breathable.  Cons- pesticides, chemical processing.

Linen, Hemp, and Flax- Pros- all perfect for warm weather knitting, very highly breathable.  Cons- heavy chemical processing to turn plant into fiber or cost prohibitive if hand processed.

Mohair- Pros- Takes dye like a dream, super warm animal fiber.  Cons- animal fiber on the expensive side.

Nylon and Polymamide- Pros- cheap, easy to find, and durable.  Cons- more plastic that doesn’t breathe.

Polyester- Pros- um…. it will outlast the landfills.  Cons- come on…. leisure suits.  Plastic.  Eww.

Rayon, Modal, and Viscose- Pros- pretty cheap.  Made of tree cellulose.  Pros- very heavy chemical processing.

Silk- Pros- AMAZING.  Cons- EXPENSIVE.

Tencel- Pros- Made of trees.  Pretty inexpensive.  Cons- Heavy chemical processing. 

Wool- Pros- warm, breathable, animal fiber.  Cons- warm animal fiber.

On Synthetic Crystals

Synthetic crystals carry somewhat of a stigma in the Magickal community, often referred to as “fake” or “unnatural” and therefore less powerful, or even useless.

I couldn’t disagree more. Now, I’m not gonna start telling anyone that they HAVE to start using synthetics, out that they’re wrong or bad for preferring the natural ones (though I could make that argument for many precious gems, especially diamonds). I simply want to put forward the idea that synthetics are an option. A GOOD option, even. Synthetic crystals can /totally/ be as powerful as their natural formed counterparts, if not stronger.

A synthetic crystal a testament to human power. The fact that we can artificially create something that would usually take thousands and thousands of years of unfathomable heat and pressure is pretty impressive. By all rights, these little hairless monkeys shouldn’t be able to make gravel, much less a large quartz crystal, but here we are doing it anyway. A synthetic crystal is going to carry some of that human ingenuity along with it.

Synthetic crystals are made of determination. They are rule breakers. They are testaments to the power you have to impose your will on the world around you. If that’s not Magick, I don’t know what is.

Additionally, these gems are significantly cheaper and required almost infinitely less suffering to grow it in a lab than it did to rip it out of the earth. I don’t know about ALL gem mines, but diamonds are notorious for being hell holes of human suffering and exploitation. I wouldn’t use a blood diamond for anything but a particularly nasty curse.

One of my pet peeves is new-age crystal/stone shops that sell enhanced/stabilized/irradiated/synthetic stones as natural or don’t even acknowledge the FTC/AGTA. Equally peevey - the stone-users crystal-harmonies who are all like OOhh! Aqua Aura Quartz is so powerful for larking farps because-

Nope. Quartz with metallic film.

Or, my favorite, Goldstone is an incredibly powerful gem -

What?

It’s glitter glass. That’s it.

Exactly what kind of energy are you drawing forth… when you don’t even know where your rocks come from or what they really are?

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For the past few months I’ve been experimenting with trying out the hand techniques I learnt in Ghana on a monofilament warp. This was to highlight the structure of the woven fabric with the use of clear yarn - and I ended up with some interesting pieces! Since setting up the dobby loom I’ve continued exploring this avenue, making more similar pieces with added embroidery inspired by woven cloth from Mali and Guinea-Bissau.

I love the combination of using a clear warp with silks from Iran - a mix of natural and synthetic, traditional hand techniques mixed with utilising the capabilities of a 16 shaft loom and the added embroidery gives the piece an added layer cultural references.

Next up I’ll be making some cushions for sale, but will be definitely working on some more of these monofilament pieces too :)

[20,5cmx14cm, watercolors, black and white ink on paper]

guess who i instantly fell for

some more backstory/headcanon stuff… this time on Gaster.

i had this idea that Gaster was actually a clone; created through a process that artificially manipulated the monster magic used to bear children, and as a result he was created with an incomplete soul that lacked things like empathy or compassion. the scientists who created him did not expect the clone to be sentient, even though he possessed a soul, due to the synthetic nature of his creation. 

they were shocked when they ran tests on the child and found out that this was far from the case. the first time the child cried it sent the scientific division into near hysteria (that whole thing is linked to the holes in his hands…i’m writing something that will explain some of this). how could they possibly run tests and experiments on a created being who thought and felt and expressed emotion? thus they began taking steps to ensure their creation’s feelings were suppressed so they could manipulate him however they wished, for the sake of “research”.

the clone source was obviously a skeleton, but there were flaws in the clone itself, hence why Gaster’s phalanges are fused together or why he lacks a nasal aperture like Sans and Papyrus.

his name came from the font he initially spoke and wrote in (Wingdings… the scientists actually expected Webdings based on the clone source) but they attempted to “correct” his confusing speech by training him to speak more properly with a serif font (Aster). it sounds confusing but i imagine that fonts are kind of like languages and/or accents to skeletons and other monsters.

i probably didn’t explain enough but it’s so hard to condense a headcanon into a few short paragraphs like this.