Field Study: Ice Crystals of Antarctica

This nontraditional artist book was inspired by the research of Steve Warren and Von Walden who photographed ice crystals through a microscope over a three-month period in the early 1990s. Professor Steven Neshyba at the University of Puget Sound (UPS) introduced me to their work while we were working on a collaborative project for the “Science Stories” exhibition at Collins Library. I was immediately fascinated by the beauty and mystery of these source images and, with the scientists’ permission, endeavored to translate them to cyanotypes. I chose this medium because of its ephemeral nature which seemed in keeping with the depiction of such fleeting elements as ice crystals.

The book consists of 14-double sided folios contained in handmade glassine sleeves (a reference to how laboratory slides were stored) and a “composition” book that contains both my commentary and field notes of the scientists, along with an abstract describing the study. The book will be included in “Science Stories” at UPS in fall, 2021.

This book is in the collections of University of Puget Sound, Collins Library and Tufts University Arts Library Special Collection.

Book closed: 8.25″h x 6.75″w x .75″d Book cover is cyanotype on Canson Montval with a brad closure. Individual cyanotypes are printed on Canson XL Aquarelle. Composition book is bond and newsprint, digitally printed. Variable edition of 2.


This video describes the process of Ellen’s collaboration with scientists Steven Neshyba and Steve Warren.

front and back of one of 14 folios.