About the Element
Niobium is a soft, bluish-gray metal. It is used in glass, jewelry, pacemakers, steel, and superconductors. It is the element with the highest magnetic penetration depth. Niobium was discovered by Charles Hatchett in 1801 who named the element Columbium Cb. Since it is so closely related to Tantalum, there was debate as to whether it was really a unique element. The issue was resolved in 1846 by Heinrich Rose and Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac who, unaware of Hatchett's work, named the element Niobium (after Niobe the daughter of Tantalus) given it's resemblance to Tantalum. The element was officially adopted by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry as Niobium Nb, however, many still refer to the element by the original name of Columbium.

About the Print
The image is based on the Greek myth of Niobe. Niobe was the queen of Thebes. She boasted of her fourteen children to the goddess Leto and as a result, Apollo killed her seven sons and Artemis killed her seven daughters. In her grief, Niobe wept and turned to stone.

About the Printmaker
I am a librarian and an artist. These two aspects of my life are intricately connected and feed one another. As an artist, I enjoy working with transparent watercolor pigments, which allow the whiteness and texture of paper to show through. I am fascinated with the connection paper has to nature, history, and books. I also like the dichotomy of paper as a material that will last for centuries and stretch as tight as a drum, yet also a one that can be torn to shreds or burned in an instant. Watercolor paint is the perfect complement to paper. I am mesmerized by it's transparency, brilliance, and flow. I recently began experimenting with Japanese woodblock printing I am attracted to this style of woodblock printing in part because it uses watercolors instead of oil-based inks. Printmaking also meshes nicely with bookmaking. As a librarian I have a natural affinity for the book - its beauty, functionality and power. I am also learning to stretch the definition of a book and how it can be translated into alternative media such as video or sculpture.


by Annette Haines

Symbol: Nb
Atomic number: 41
Atomic weight: 92.906