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SciArt profile: Gabriela Krejčová

Posted by , on 6 June 2024

In this SciArt profile, we meet Gabriela Krejčová, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic, who enjoys making nature-inspired jewellery.

Forest-inspired pendants and earrings with real mushrooms, ferns and lichens.

Can you tell us about your background and what you work on now?

My first scientific endeavour was carried out in the field of cancer immunotherapy. I found the metabolic changes of tumour cells particularly remarkable at the time. After completing my undergraduate studies, I started looking for a new laboratory where I could conduct my master’s thesis. I came across Dr. Adam Bajgar, who at the time was working on the metabolic polarization of Drosophila melanogaster immune cells during bacterial infection. Since it is well established that the metabolic setting of pro-inflammatory macrophages resembles in many aspects the metabolic changes occurring in some types of cancer cells, I changed my field of study because this topic represented a nice link to my previous research focus. During my PhD studies, I began to look into the signalling molecules released by the immune cells in response to their metabolic polarization, which subsequently mediate the inter-organ communication. I also become fascinated by the functional versatility of macrophages and their regulatory role in various stress conditions, which is my current focus.

A collection of pendants with real ferns.

Were you always going to be a scientist?

I would say I’ve always enjoyed unravelling the unknown, whether it was the mysteries of nature or Egyptian hieroglyphs. I remember wishing for a little spooky laboratory, and I cherish the memories of getting my own small kid’s microscope and exploring the world up close. Oddly enough, my dream job as a child was actually a fashion designer, which reflected my love for art.

Spring-inspired watercolor painting of Verpa bohemica mushroom, lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), Hepatica nobilis and Easter eggs.

And what about art – have you always enjoyed it?

By all means! I’ve always enjoyed all kinds of crafts and I’ve always had a desire to create pretty things – from drawings and paintings to jewellery and decorations such as traditional Easter eggs decorated with wax. Another passion of mine has always been dancing, so I found another way to express my urge for creating in designing and decorating dance costumes.

A set of earrings and a pendant with false chanterelle mushrooms (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca), pink chervil, violet beautyberry, fern and lichens.

How do you make your jewellery?

I make my jewellery exclusively from products of nature and clear epoxy resin. So first, I forage for all sorts of flowers, mushrooms, lichens, mosses, ferns or berries to create tiny microworld compositions. Before casting, which is usually a multi-step process, all materials must be dried in a special way to retain their original colours and shapes. After demoulding, all must be sanded and polished, which is the most time-consuming part. Then I attach the jewellery findings and the piece is finally finished. The whole process takes approximately two weeks.

Sphere-shaped pieces are the most time consuming type of pendants I create.

What or who are your most important artistic influences?

My biggest muse is definitely nature itself. My goal is to preserve the beauty and diversity of shapes, structures, patterns and colours that nature has already created, and perhaps just slightly transform these pieces into small compositions and make them wearable. In this way, I would like to give people a piece of unspoiled nature that they can keep constantly with them.

I create also taxidermy jewellery with real beetles that I buy already preserved at insect sales exhibition.

Does your science influence your art at all, or are they separate worlds?

I would say it’s rather the opposite – my art influences my scientific outputs, or at least I hope so. I firmly believe that scientific imaging techniques provide ample room for artistic expression, and I hope that this is sometimes reflected in my scientific output. I especially enjoy the visualization of macrophages by confocal and electron microscopy, and the beauty of immune cells brought me much joy during my PhD studies.

Journal Covers for Development and The EMBO Journal.

What are you thinking of working on next?

It is now spring season in the Czech Republic, so everything is thriving and blooming. For me, it is the time of year when I need to stock up for the upcoming year so I have enough material to make jewellery in the colder months. Therefore, I have a lot of collecting, foraging and mushrooming ahead of me, which means a lot of quiet and fulfilling time spent in nature.

Pendants with many types of colourful lichens and fern

Find out more about Gabriela:


Facebook: Biosphera Art


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