The Marginalian Newsletter

This is an irregular holiday-spirited announcement of a small, joyful effort to subvert the forces of consumerism (which none of us can fully escape, inhabiting the region of spacetime that we do) and channel them instead toward beauty, delight, and the conservation of this irreplaceable Pale Blue Dot we share.

This is how it happened: Last year, while escaping lockdown by time-travel, reading and writing about centuries-old natural history, botany, and astronomy works, I found myself thinking that the illustrations, diagrams, and maps in them would make unusual and wondrous face masks. And so, on a whim, I restored some and had them made using society6 — a lovely platform I had previously used for art prints, which had just launched a face mask printing service.

To honor the values and passions of the long-dead artists and scientists behind these works, I decided to donate my share of the proceeds to The Nature Conservancy.

To my astonishment, this whim-project raised thousands of dollars for the stewardship of the very plants, animals, and natural phenomena depicted on the masks.

And now a joyous turn of events: Moved by the response, the folks at society6 offered to match my donation if I curated a gift guide of other things they make — prints, puzzles, pillows, coasters, placemats, cutting boards, stationery cards, fanny packs (!) — featuring these antique artworks of science.

And so here we are, with an offering of unusual gifts for your most beloved human animals — get your paws on them here as we steward this beautiful planet together for generations of living things to come.

Among them:

…and many, many other wearable, washable, wallable, giftable wonders.