MacDonald describes the lights as “living crystal beings, frozen in time and filled with light,” with each of the lamps taking at least a week to evolve. The underlying skeleton of the Shio lights is created from fabric and translucent plastic, but the intricate layers formed on top of this shell develop as salt crystals in water flow over the forms, the crystals gather first on the skeletons, and then attach to each other. The larger lamps can weigh between 15-30lbs.
At present, Studio Shio has three species of Shio lights; Orbis and Occulous are both fitted with a Type A socket, and can be placed upon a flat surface or suspended as a pendant. Chrysalis, meanwhile is a smaller, lighter piece which the studio encourages buyers to furnish their own light source for, offering that “candles work well for mood lighting,” but note “dimmable halogen uplights… accentuate the jagged mouth of the chrysalis by casting shadows of its teeth on walls and ceilings.”
MacDonald hopes to expand Studio Shio if the Kickstarter campaign is successful. He is currently looking to experiment with infusing the salt with “colored impurities,” at the beginning of the process, to create vibrant glows inherent to the works. Backers of his Kickstarter campaign can purchase Shio creations from $475 and up (with specials for early supporters). Backers at the higher end of scale can hope to receive a “mutant,” an entirely unique Shio creation, saved during experiments or errors in the growing process.