England, 1852: Feeding quinine to a dog and adding iodine to its urine resulted in the discovery of herapathite. This artificial greenish gem comes with extraordinary dichroic characteristics and is commonly used for polarizing light.

Conventional plastic sheet polarizing filters are made of microscopic herapathite crystals that are embedded in PVA. The material is stretched during the manufacturing process, thus creates a grid on the atomic scale. Incident light in line with the direction of the grid is absorbed by the polarizer, light polarized vertical to the grid is transmitted. If two polarizers are combined and rotated to each other by 90°, the light is completely absorbed and makes the polarizing sheet appear black.


Playing around with a sheet of polarizing material, in search of new potentials, the material with the slightly strange origin revealed hidden beauty and enchanting qualities.

Rotating pieces of polarizing sheets and combining them new together creates structured polarizers that generate dynamic interferences, if combined with another newly structured filter sample.

Stressing the material with a hot air gun or a torch causes destruction of the crystal structure and changes the tension of the PVA. Heated tools made of brass and PTFE, pressed on the polarizing sheet material, creates polarizing textures.

Examined between two polarizers (precisely called polarizer and analyzer, the latter usually rotated by 90°), the samples expose their new qualities. In addition to the fading or newly structured herapathite crystals, the sheet now filters specific wavelengths. Dependent on the position of the sample between polarizer and analyzer, new brilliant chromaticities are released, changing colour by every degree of the samples rotation.




lab study, 2013