Goddess Gruia - my first linocuts

I started experimenting with linocut printing in 2007, during an art camp in Calimanesti, Romania. I used the most basic, low-quality, Communist linoleum still available on the market and an old spoon for printing, but found the effects and process fascinating from the very beginning. Not to mention that it was fast enough for my desire of quick results :) Applying the ink with my fingers (in lack of a roller) was also convenient for allow more variation, increased color effects, and the convenient Epreuve d'artiste - no numbering necessary system :))
Here are some of my initial works, medieval in inspiration.
See my current works available on Etsy HERE.

"Matthias House" linocut print inspired by the old city centre of Cluj-Napoca, Romania - by Ana-Maria Gruia

"Urbanscape" lincout inspired by medieval architecture in Krems an der Donau, Austria - by Ana-Maria Gruia

"Holy women"lincout inspired by the medieval iconography of holy women - by Ana-Maria Gruia

"The entrance of the Virgin into the Temple" Biblical linocut by Ana-Maria Gruia

"Tailors' Bastion" linocut of one of the historical monuments in Cluj - by Ana-Maria Gruia

"Urban landscape" inspired by Slovenia - Ana-Maria Gruia


Alchemical confusions in pharmacy II

Another confusion born out of the adoption of alchemical terms in late medieval and early modern pharmacy relates to the troublesome use of multiple names for the same apothecary product or of the same name for several products.
Among the solutions with multiple names one can mention for example Potassium acetate (the potassium salt of the acetic acid)that was referred to as either "terra foliata tartari", "sal Sennerti" (Sennert's salt), "tartarus regeneratus", "arcanum tartari" (alchemical), or "sal diureticus". These terms refer to the product's properties, alchemical value or the name of a person who prepared it.

Johann Heinrich RAHN,
There were also no less confusing cases of solutions with the same name:
§  aqua fortis =  concentrated azotic acid, wine spirit, concentrated soda solution
§  lapis infernalis = all caustic substances
§  nitrum =  saltpeter, talcum, borate of soda, potassium azotate
§  chrysocolla = copper alloy, borate of soda

Discover more on the topic by visiting the "Pharmacy and alchemy" temporary exhibition at the History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca.
See also previous blog posts on the topic here:


Handmade leather ROTA ancient Roman board game

Reenactment groups dealing with the Roman Empire often reconstruct easy aspects of daily life, such as games and entertainment. Board games are well attested in Roman society in particular, as such inscribed boards have even been found carved in the stones of the forum. ROTA is the most popular, simple yet tricky game. The name is the Latin for "wheel", due to its round, spiked shape.
Making a rota board is quite easy - all one needs is a round piece of timber or leather and six game pieces. My variant is made out of leather, hand cut and sewed, and blue and transparent glass pieces. The  "board" can easily turn into a pouch with the aid of perimetral perforations and leather cord. This leather ROTA is available at atelieruldeistore.ro 
Read about the rules HERE.

Rota leather pouch
Rota board and game pieces

Detail - ancient Roman rota game


Alchemical confusions in pharmacy: BLACK/NIGREDO

The adoption of alchemical terminology in the field of apothecary has also led to numerous confusions, completely settled only in the end of the nineteenth century.
One example related to the concept of BLACK or Nigredo.
Oleum petrae nigrum, literally "black rock oil", designates in the field of apothecary black petroleum, a sticky and foul smelling substance. In pharmacy, where the alchemical symbol of oil has been preserved (three circles in a triangle pattern, symbolizing three stacked stones), the substance is liquid bitumen from the region of Germany, recommended against scabies, menstruation problems, hysteria, fever, toothaches, parasites etc, and it was mainly for external use.
Still, nigredo was also the first stage of alchemical transformation, the process of putrefaction or decomposition, starting from the so-called black stone. In alchemy, all processes / transmutations of matter started from the raw matter, the black stone, assimilated to Saturn and lead. The foul smell and dark color of the apothecary substance might have also stressed the resemblance with the alchemical process in question.
Painted signature of an apothecary jar preserved at the History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca: OL(eum) Petrae Nigr(um) - Black rock oil.

Alchemical and apothecary symbol for oil.

Alchemical engraving depicting Putrefactio or Nigredo
Discover more connections and differences between the two late medieval/early modern sciences by visiting the Pharmacy and Alchemy (Farmacie si Alchimie) temporary exhibition at the History of Pharmacy Museum in Cluj-Napoca, in Unirii Square no. 28.