About the Element
Fluorine in Latin means “to flow.” It is the most highly reactive, poisonous, electronegative, explosive, and dangerous of all the elements. After its initial discovery, it took 74 years of work by many scientists to isolate. The chemist Henri Moissan earned the Nobel Prize in 1906 for finally succeeding. The first large scale production of Fluorine was in WW2 for the atomic bomb.

About the Print
I was struck by this elemental substance being rooted in the earth and nature, and with the discovery of its immense energy and power (by crazy humans) was used for destruction. I incorporated a tree into my design that explodes into a mushroom cloud, framed by gentle leafy vines growing up along the edges.

After completing my sketch on paper, I transferred the image with tracing paper to a soft rubbery block called EZ Cut. I carved the image with a utility knife, my tool of choice. I printed with black Speedball oil-based ink and, after it dried, hand-tinted the print with colored pencils.

About the Printmaker
I learned the ancient art of block printing from my mother. Growing up on the New Jersey shore, I spent summers exploring the beach while my mom worked on woodcuts and taught me by example. I love nature, art, mythology, dreams, and learning about cultures that live “at one” with nature, and it all came together for me on the Big Island of Hawai’i. My illustrated books include Lono and the Magical Land Beneath the Sea, Hawaiian Legends of Dreams, Hawaiian Legends of the Guardian Spirits, Pua Polu, the Pretty Blue Hawaiian Flower, and Tree of Souls.


by Caren Loebel-Fried

Symbol: F
Atomic number: 9
Atomic weight: 18.998