I’ve been embroidering for a while now. It started as a way to get some instant gratification through spinning very small bits of fibre and immediately being able to use them for a project, unlike the months of spinning it’s taken for things like sweaters. More and more I gravitate towards science themes, not just because I’m a huge nerd (which is true) but because the shapes on a microscopic level lend themselves very well to the medium. Here’s one of my more popular pieces, an ion channel:

Finished at Wellesley, during Reunion 2019. Good times in the Before Time

I also process a lot of my own spinning fibre from raw fleece, and always ended up with short, less spinnable stuff rather uncharitably called “waste”.

California variegated mutant fleece, in moorit or whatever they call “grey”

I hate wasting fibre. So I learned to felt using an online tutorial, with a bamboo sushi mat, some cheap tulle, and my own hard labour in a tiny apartment bathtub. I produced some rather nice squares of felt, which I’ve done all kinds of experiments with. It’s thick enough that you can cut out shapes and it won’t unravel, and you can even fill in the shapes with knitting, woven sections, etc. (more on that later).

Test piece copying the shape of the Purkinje tree from one of my own retinas. And then I needed some soft felt to fix a horse halter, see upper right, so uh, not going to be a display piece.

I’ve been planning a series of pieces with a science/submicroscopic theme pertaining to various diseases, all of which are somehow linked to myself or people in my life. And I think this mottled grey felt is the perfect background for something only visible on electron microscopy, such as signs of a lysosomal storage disorder (which fills up a lot of my professional brain these days). Wish I still had the crummy electron microscope photos I did at Wellesley back in the day!

More to come?

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