Monday, October 15, 2012

What is a MARIMO?

No, not a fancy new lampworking tool, or a fabulous new colour of glass - a Marimo is a bunch of algae, living and growing as a free flowing ball, rolling along on the bottom of Lake Akan in Japan. They have no roots and sometimes they will lay on the bottom, sometimes they will rise up to the surface, presumably to get more light.

See videos on YouTube about marimos

They are good for clearing the water in your aquarium, where they will use up all the nutrients before other types of algae gets a chance to grow. If you do not have an aquarium that needs tending, you can keep the Marimo as a pet (or more likely, as a houseplant, though submerged in water).

A few weeks ago I first encountered these intriguing lifeforms, and I'm afraid I fell in love right away. It is probably just a fad, but ... my Marimos are here! Woot!! :)

I ordered a bunch of them. I have some for my aquarium, some for my desk at work, some for the windowsills, some for my children to love, and even some for my mother. Yes, the madness is spreading :)

And hey, being a lampworker, what else could I do? I made Marimo beads!

Just a couple so far, testing out colours. I used my new cane-making abillity to pull stringers with an opaque center and a transparent coating. It is very suiting for these beads, emulating algae strings overlapping the ball surface.

The first cane was made with a peagreen center, and ended up in this bead.

Then I accidentally grabbed a rod of Kiwi, same peagreen surface, but with a transparent center. When pulled to a stringer and applied it has a more ghostly see-through appearence. I like that too on these darker versions.

I tried a few different colours for base colour, which all seemed possible from what I have seen on YouTube, and now that I have the real deal to look at I will see what I can do to make them a bit more velvety. I'm happy about the texture though.

The Marimo balls also exists in other places, like Iceland and Estonia, and even in Denmark we have a similar ball of algae. In Danish it is called 'gedebolle' (goat-ball), named after the green ball a ruminant will retch up for a second or third munching.
Not quite as charming as Marimo or Mooskugeln as they are called in Germany. So mine will be Marimos, unless of course they each get a pet name ... We'll see about that :)

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