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plant forms

Doug Sanders

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It is indeed a pitcher plant. One of many species of carniverous plants.


The pic is from an old Dover publication "Art Forms in Nature" by Ernst Haeckel and originally published 1904 by the Verlag des Bibliographischen Institut.

The content is a collection of surrealistic drawings executed in the late 1800s to early 1900s illustrating a wide variety of life forms. From microscopic and upwards. Amazing drawing and vision for that period.

Pre the much influential Art Nouveau period but all there anyway.


The inspiration from this book is endless and rings of the recent discussions Ford started with "Is there anything new?"

Seeing Doug's photo struck a strong cord as this particular plant form has influenced me from the first time I saw it in the mid 70's and is responsible for much of the organic themes in my carving. The 'Kokopu Pod' posted earlier, is an evolved derivitive from this source as are many other interpretations since.


Good spotting Doug, thanks.





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The pitcher plant theme prompted me to look out and process these pics taken of a piece carved from strongly chatoyant jade in the late '90's.

A close development from the 1st derivation carved from this Ernst Haeckel inspiration about 1980.


Delicate blending of subtle forms toward tactile sensations, revealing unexpected properties in jade.


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Ahhhhhhhh Kathleen,

Good one!


The more the merrier......... smiles and play keep traumas at bay!


Pleased to share and cheer.


Been a busy day at the bench, nice to stop and banter awhile.

Approaching 1am. Off to dream realms to frolic amoungst the writhing vegetation.


Good night.


Donn :(

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Thanks Dick,

Your comment is appreciated, especially viewing what your own hands are capable of.

I must say here the concept of jade being hard is something often misunderstood. Seeing your own amazing work on the forum I know you will understand the difference between hardened steel and tempered steel. ‘Hard’ being so hard it’s brittle and inclined to fracture and chip relatively easily compared to a tempered steel which although still relatively hard is much ‘tougher’ and will withstand shock and pressure without damage.

Nephrite is much like this. It’s structure is made up of microscopic needles tightly felted together which makes it extremely ‘tough’ more than hard. The physical hardness is not much more than an average knife steel. Being stone there is no malleability of course but from a carving and sculpting perspective it’s absolutely perfect.

Strong, tough, workable, resistant to shock, all the attributes of a fine steel which is why Neolithic man valued it so highly. To him it was the ‘metal’ of the stone age. Tools primarily and weapons secondarily, could be ground to form and serviced, resharpened or reshaped as required.

This inherent toughness is the reason it can be carved into the soft organic forms we are so familiar with.

From personal experience there is very little difference in time between a jade carving and a comparable ivory piece. Same carving principles involved just different tools and minor adaptations with technique. Even though one is physically much softer than the other!

It is as easy, or maybe even easier, to carve these materials as it would be for a similar form in mild steel.

However with all of this ramble, jade has the magic of translucency which imparts that sense life wherein lies the true mystery.


I responded to this a couple of days ago and lost it in the server ‘timing out’! Have finally come back to it via the word processor….. Thanks to the suggestion from Janel concerning extended ravings.



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Guest ford hallam



I really appreciated your description of the working properties of Jade above, so much so that I`m ordering a little starter pack of rough material from the link Janel provided elsewhere.


Cheers, Ford ;)

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Kathleen........... Following up on our discussions about this "Pod" form as a netsuke of which I had thought the pics had gone missing. Not so as you can see. Found this slide deep in a file book of unmounted transparencies which I was searching through for images to process into digital format.

So am able to post this early evolvement for you which was exhibited at the Yamada, Seibu show. (1988?)

About 2.5 inches in length, raised leaf of the tail creating the himatoshi.


Very close to true color..... typical 'Inanga' color and grain, or in this case almost no directional grain, facilitating ease of carving.




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