Welcome to my blog. I am a Histotechnologist and a Jewelry designer/maker. This blog is my way to tell you about my life and my art. I love art and science. Finally, my jewelry is bringing them together. I am inspired daily by the art and science I see under the microscope. Come with me on this fascinating journey as we explore the blending of art and science. Thank you for coming. Please come back. contact me: mdpraetATgmail.com

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Special Stains - What does that mean?

Thought I would take a minute and explain a little more about histological special stains and what they have to do with jewelry making.

Cell constituents and intercellular material are mostly transparent. They require a coloring agent to distinguish them from each other under the microscope. General biological stains use one, two, and three different dyes to differentiate the nucleus from the cytoplasm of cells and to differentiate between tissue types. Special stain procedures for example demonstrate collagen, elastin, fungus, or the disease process, etc.

There are artificial and natural dyes used in histology. Artificial dyes are produced through chemical means from substances in coal tar. Natural dyes are from plants or insects, Hematoxylin (which requires a metal mordant) is the most common and valuable to histology, is obtained from the logwood tree.

I have been working with these dyes and stains for many years. Seeing the way they react with the tissue components in various ways has always created such an artistic display on my slides, I just had to find a way to translate that to my art form of jewelry making. So now, I put together color combinations I see in a particular stain. Then I think about the tissue / constituents it demonstrates and I decide if I have a bead, stone or wire component that could depict them. After that is done, the hard part begins, designing the stitch or stringing pattern I want to use to reflect the stain.

When it all comes together it is truly amazing!  It certainly has widen my horizons. I was stuck in boring color combinations. Over my next few posts, I will explain in more detail the stains I already have in my collection.

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