Saturday, August 29, 2009

Making a small splash

I should probably preface this post by explaining some of my premises behind this "Judy/Anne" collaboration. I always envisioned this as a playful, fantasy piece: that, I believe, was the spirit with which Judy designed the fish in the first place. And while Judy and I were both intrigued by the possibility of the jacquard stitch as a water background, I never would have considered it for a more traditional, representational canvas. After all, these little fish aren't exactly illustrations for a marine biology texbook!

That being said, let's move on to the progress I've made so far! Having stitched away on the water to the point where the seahorse was surrounded, I decided to treat myself by working on the little fellow himself. Not being that familiar with the anatomy of an actual seahorse, I did some googling to determine what they looked like--I know, researching again! Some of the facts I came up with at the National Geographic website were fascinating!

Seahorses are among the very few animals in the world that are monogamous and mate for life. Better yet, the males are the ones who actually carry newborns to term! The 35 known species range in length from one-half to 14 inches, have no teeth or stomach, and a digestive process so swift that they must eat constantly. Their daily diet consists of various forms of plankton and as many as 3,000 brine shrimp. And, surprisingly, there are yellow seahorses, as well as lime green and pink ones! So my decision to carry out Judy's original color scheme in the drawing of a yellow fish with orange markings turned out to be not as fanciful as I thought.

The main body of this seahorse was stitched in DMC cotton floss #725. To create the ridges that are so prominent on the body, I chose DMC #5 perle cotton #900. The perle cotton has a twist and a slightly rougher appearance which contrasts nicely against the smoother floss.

This little fellow has a ways to go yet! And when I finish stitching the seahorse, I'll continue working on the water around the angel fish. I'm just grateful that aquamarine is one of my favorite colors, otherwise I'd be drowning in background at this point!


Possibilities, Etc. said...

Marine biology is one of my great loves for research since childhood, and I especially love the seahorse for just the reasons you state. The fish aren't exactly anatomically correct, but I adapted them from antique jewelry. I do like the use of perle cotton for the reasons you do. It makes a good contrast with the smooth look of the floss. I'm glad to see the sparkle in the water and not on the seahorse!! It's incredible what one can do with just simple and "frugal" threads.

NCPat said...

What great progress! Thanks for all info too!

Cyn said...

Hi Anne,

The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland had a wonderful exhibit on seahorses several years ago. They are fascinating and complex creatures. Did you know there are seahorses in the Atlantic waters?

DD worked with seahorses about 2 years ago with the High School aquariums. Even though she wasn't interested in pursuing a career in marine biology she had a grand time working with the seahorses and the other fish.

I'm enjoying watching your progress. :-)

Windy Meadow