2018 Honorable Mention – Adrianna Kusmierczyk


After exploring the mineral room at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History I was inspired by the colors, textures and layers of the many different minerals I saw. As I read the histories and uses for the minerals I found the idea of people attaching symbolic and spiritual meanings to these natural forms compelling. When I received the assignment to create a series of woodcut prints in my Intro to Printmaking class I knew I wanted to create prints of natural forms because of the essence of the technique. The process is controlled but at the same time organic and spontaneous. Every print comes out similar yet with unique differences which reflects the essence of minerals in the natural world. I explored the shapes and layers of Rhodochrosite by carving into wood and printing it in different colors.

I was specifically drawn to the mineral, Rhodochrosite. Rhodochrosite is a manganese carbonate mineral of the calcite group whose chemical formula is MnCO3. Its magenta, deep red and hot pink crystals inspired its name. In Greek “rhodos” means rose and “khros” means color.  The idea of attaching emotional meanings to scientific and natural forms interests me. According to several sources, Rhodochrosite symbolizes selfless love and emotional healing. It enables one to view old situations with new information and acknowledge the release of pain and destructive patterns of behavior. It empowers one to examine past relationships, old wounds, suppressed feelings and traumas. Many believe that the mineral increases mind to mind telepathic links. It can be used as a calling back crystal to generate contacts with a lost friend, relative, pet or former lover. The stone can guide one to emotional happiness and express love towards others.