Kara Maria - Cloud Crystals

Cloud Crystals is a collaborative monotype project between artist Kara Maria and artist/master printmaker Kathryn Kain.


The prints were inspired by the 1864 book Cloud Crystals: A Snow-Flake Album. It documents the work of Frances Chickering—who used a cut-out method based on her direct observation of individual snowflakes under magnification to record more than 200 shapes.  Maria and Kain utilized stencils they made based on Chickering’s original illustrations to create their Cloud Crystals series.


Maria and Kain began working together while Kain was Master Printer for Smith Andersen Editions (SAE) in Palo Alto, CA. Founded by Paula Kirkeby in 1969, the small fine arts press encouraged experimentation with the monoprint and monotype until its closure in 2016. After completing several projects published by SAE between 2002 and 2010 in the more traditional artist/master printmaker relationship, Maria and Kain decided to try something new. They made their first collaborative monotype project (Arcadian Duet) published by SAE in 2015—meaning that the two worked together equally as both artists and printmakers for the project. Cloud Crystals marks their second such collaborative effort.