Samarium is a rare earth metal discovered in 1879. It’s atomic number is 62.
When combined with cobalt, it becomes a very strong, long lasting magnet used in headphones, small motors, magnetic guitar pick ups.
When combined with carbon, it makes a very bright light used for stage lighting and search lights.
When combined with lexidrone it kills cancer cells.
It is also used as a neutron absorber in the control rods of nuclear reactors.


In Greek mythology, Promethius brought fire to humankind to better their life and was punished by the gods. Fire is a double edged sword – it both warms and destroys. Promethium is an element that symbolizes that same double edged sword. Promethium is a by-product of uranium fission. The idea of nuclear energy is an attractive thing that may bring great benefit but it could also lay waste if we are not mindful of its danger.


Yeah, what the h* is lanthanum? As my son immediately responded, it’s the first of the lanthanoids.

Why are we doing this scientific thing again?

Lanthanum is atomic number 57. Its name comes from the Greek for “to lie hidden” because it takes a complex process to isolate it from other minerals. I considered making a lanthanum block with a flap or cover, so the element would lie hidden. But who would know to lift the flap and look for it?

It’s a silvery white metallic element that burns with a lavender flame. It has a hexagonal crystal structure. So the obvious way to represent it would be piecing it from hexagons, and that’s what I did.

To get the proper colors, I stamped and painted some plain fabrics with silver or white paints and included silk duppioni for shine.

lanthanumdetail showing foil and paint