Klaus Kemp and the Lost Art of Diatoms

Eyes on the sun

Over the course of human history, there have been many art forms which have achieved success before dying out due to a change in artistic tastes. Klaus D. Kemp is one of the leading figures in the production of diatoms which found fame in the Victorian age but fell from favor in the 20th and 21st-centuries. Kemp is the last practitioner of diatom production as he is the last known practitioner of this miniature art form. 

Klaus Kemp found fame in 2014 when he was “discovered” by documentary filmmaker, J.D. Moller who had become enamored by the practice. A diatom is a miniature piece of art produced using glass slides and a microscope to form single-cell algae into patterns which are later glued to the slides. 

The artwork of Klaus Kemp is made all the more interesting and innovative because of the fact very little information was passed on for those following the Victorians in creating diatom arts. These diatoms are generally around five to 20 microns which are less than a single millimeter in size.

In creating his own version of the diatom, Klaus Kemp has been working to develop his own glass shells and glues which he has created to remain pliable for days to allow him to move the algae around. Kemp has continued to work on his artworks since his teenage years and brings to life a lost practice which died out of common use at the end of the Victorian age.

Arranged diatoms (Kiaus Kemp) 4 plapo stich of 6 inverted

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