What happens when science and art collide, when that path of black and white empirical data has to make way for the intrusion of the other colors of the spectrum?
You get an artistic scientist…or a scientific artist…or Amanda Giesler, aka Ulixis.
At the ripe age of 21, she is a Master’s student in Physiology and Pharmacology, researching the link between obesity and asthma on a cellular level. Sometime in between working in the lab, doing literature searches, reading papers, authoring approval forms for research funding, and being a teaching assistant (whew!), she manages to find a little time for her art. And that is where the collision takes place, in all its wondrous colors and shapes. Be it jewelry, paper art, or just collecting fun beads and buttons, Amanda takes her inspiration from nature around her and her wonder at it all.
“I grew up in the middle of nowhere, the middle of Northern Ontario. My parents owned a tourist camp beside a river and 100 acres of land.”
This bucolic setting afforded hay in the autumn, a forest to get wood to heat the house in the winter and to gather the annual Christmas tree. And inspiration for Amanda. In school when all the other little girls were professing a desire to become teachers, Amanda wanted to be an artist.
“I grew up in a very picturesque place. I’m always more creative after a trip home.”
She now lives in Hamilton, about five hours away from her roots, on the seventh floor of an apartment building. Even so, she feels being there has helped her creativity. After putting aside her craft endeavors while concentrating on school, she rediscovered that side of herself after finding all the resources in a larger town.
“I see my artistic evolution as a revolving wheel of media. Just taking the past year into account, my work has improved a lot.”
Still, she feels she has a long way to go.
Her current family includes her boyfriend Pat, whom she met in high school over seven years ago and her pet finch, Michael.
“Pat has been pretty tolerant of my crafting. He helps me solder, comes with me to crafty stores and markets and puts up with the mess without complaining *too* much.”
Aside from her science and her crafting, she loves to cook.
“My science side is reflected in some of my work (the Mad Scientists of Etsy team challenges, mainly), as well as in my cooking. Once you know how to follow a protocol for an experiment, recipes are no problem. But I prefer cooking, because you can add your own twist to it without ruining anything!”
And how does Amanda define success as an artist/craftsperson?
“I don’t really consider success as an artist. I don’t create for success or money. It is a joy, a pastime, a stress-buster, a lifestyle. I get satisfaction from seeing what I have done with my two hands.” Validation is good, but the sheer joy of creating and sharing is what keeps her going.
And the future?
“Looking at my work, my style has matured… but I’m still young. My experimental years aren’t over.”
Ah, those experiments! Einstein, Hawking….Giesler?
One never knows!
Please visit Amanda’s shop at http://ulixis.etsy.com to see her fun (and experimental) items.