Thursday, May 24, 2012

One Little Urchin

While shell seeking in Naples, Florida, Jim and I haven't found too many sea urchins.  

Just this one...


This guy had washed up on shore after a big thunderstorm, having lost all of his spines in the pummeling surf.

Normally, the purple sea urchin looks something like this...


Its skeleton covered in very sharp spines that cause a painful wound to the human who steps on one!

Once the sea urchin dies, all of its spines drop off and you are left with a beautiful, pale dotted skeleton underneath.   

In researching this little purple sea urchin, I learned that the urchins belong to the Phylum Echinodermata, which also includes sea stars and sand dollars.  Echinoderms have five-fold symmetry which isn't readily apparent in the sea urchin while it's alive and its skeleton is covered in spines.  

But once the spines fall away, you can see the symmetry very easily.   I was happy to discover this because it helped me to define an embroidery approach for creating my own little textile urchin.

I found the illustrations in this post at Bibliodyssey...a great site full of all kinds of wonderful photographs/illustrations. And Bonus!  Everything posted on the site is under a Creative Commons license which is great.  Thanks to Megan of Elmsley Rose for pointing it out to me. 

I used the divisions of the five-segments illustrated in the picture below to create an embroidery pattern of sorts...



I struggled a bit trying to decide how best to sculpt this little urchin.  Finally I decided to embroider a circle onto water-soluble fabric...


The water-soluble fabric does two things.  First it stabilizes the embroidery stitches by helping secure them more firmly to the fabric circle.  And secondly, the glue in the stabilizer gives the fabric circle some body which, I hoped, would help the globular, raised cloth of the urchin hold its shape...



While the stabilized, embroidered circle was still damp,  I stitched around the outside of the circle to draw it together in typical "yo-yo" fashion...


I then stuffed the inside with half of a felt bead to give that yo-yo some three-dimensionality.  I  cut out a center circle in the top and, using a stylus while the fabric was still damp, I scuplted the yo-yo into a round biscuit.

Then I let it sit to dry, the stabilizer helping the little urchin to hold its shape.


As I applique the little urchin to the block, I'm hoping that some of the folds from the yo-yo gathering will smooth out.  

I'm not quite ready to decide where to place it on the block or if I should need to make more...



So for now I'll just let him hang out with the guy I found on the beach.

See you next time.

28 comments:

Linda H said...

I LOVE sea urchins... I have a small collection.. You've done a wonderful job of reproducing one of nature's beauties and I know you'll find the perfect spot for it on the block as it develops...

Marian Hertzog said...

Very cool! I think you did an awesome job creating your little urchin.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Magnificent!! I have never been to the ocean, and if I ever saw a Sea Urchin at the Aquarium in Chicago, I don't remember it. Its amazing how accurately you captured it in your own design. So very cool!!

Joan - South Island, New Zealand. said...

Your little sea urchin has captured the beauty of the real thing. Lovely posting.

elmsley rose said...

Jeez - this post has only been up for a couple of minutes and already 4 comments! :-)
What a lovely urchin!!!
I ate one once. I didn't like it. Bitter. Japanese delicacy.
Glad you like Bibliodessey. It inspires me in a needlepainting sort of way, as well as those rather useful anatomical drawings.

Marsha said...

He's wonderful.

Patty C. said...

I always enjoy your work - So creative & beautiful !!!

Jules said...

Fabulous Susan! I love seeing through whole process from inspiration to fruition. I love seeing how other people turn ideas into reality, and I love that little urchin!
Jules

bubbygigi said...

Susan, you did a great job of reproducing the urchin. He's so cute and he'll be a wonderful addition to your block. I loved reading and seeing the steps that you took from the beginning thought to the finished product. Have an enjoyable and safe holiday weekend.
Gita

Cari said...

You are SO very, very talented. I always learn something new when I visit your blog. This sea urchin was so much fun to watch come to life...or whatever... Thanks for sharing!

gracie said...

Looks great!

Sheila said...

I love Bibliodyssey! Great interpretation, Susan! :)

Elizabeth said...

Your sea urchin ia delightful!! Great job!! I love to find urchins, but finding a whole one that does not have someone inside is a rare treat!! I saw Rosalie the bead lady to day and she asked for you!! I told her that you were busy creating all sorts of beautiful stitched and beaded works. I wish that she had a computer so she could see what you are up to ! Have a great long weekend!!

Lorraine said...

Brilliant!

Createology said...

Oh My...your little sea urchin is quite like the natural one. Mother Nature better be careful with such excellent imposters being created in your uber talented stitchery hands. You truly have a gift for stitchery mastery my dear. Safe weekend...

Wendy said...

Your little sea urchin is just beautiful! Looks so lifelike next to the real one. You could always tuck a little more stuffing in as you sew it on if you need to. But, just looking at it, it should even out when sewn onto the block.

Oriel said...

Beautifull - your work is so inspiring. Where I live in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand we call the sea urchin - Kina and I have a collection of all differing sizes on the window sill in my kitchen - a lovely shell.

Nana said...

I´m thrilled!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nana

Wanda-Maria Roszak said...

Susan, this is beautiful what you create, how great your creativity, execution, I love your art. craftsmanship, the best,
many hus ........

Daffycat said...

How beautiful!

Daphne said...

This is beautiful!!! All this talk of the sea makes me think of another fabric and thread creator and I thought you might like to see her work: http://westcoastcreative.blogspot.com/
I'm really enjoying watching this block progress!!!

Marty52 said...

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record now; however, "Damn, you're good!" ;0)

Suztats said...

Wow! Fantastic!

Evy said...

To follow your your invaluable work is one such enjoyment, it is so delicate, beautiful, and rich in education, thank you!

Beautiful day

vicki said...

Unbelievable--- is there anything you can't do? This sea urchin is stunning/ I seriously can't even believe you did this. I've said it before-- you win the prize!!

Vicki

Catherine said...

Wow! Love how you brought this one to life!! Looking forward to seeing if you make more, or keep it to just one. And of course, what place of honor you will find for it!

Kelly Clark said...

Susan! You are totally amazing! I haven't stopped by for awhile. My world has been a hectic mess with my
ex-biz partners suing me, my dear father passing, and now school ending. Thank you, thank you for your gorgeous work and beautiful photography and lovely, insightful commentary. It has brought a touch of joy to my world today! In the bonds of stitching sisterhood!
Fond Regards,
Kelly Clark
PS. I have started my Christmas Crazy Quilt piece. Working on the 'pieces'
only so far. Will be posting about it again, in June!

Dolores said...

OK, I have to ask. In your post, at the end of making your little sea urchin, you said "I cut out a center circle in the top." I looked and didn't see any frayed edges or anything that indicated if you turned under the top - and if you did, how is it staying under? It does look like you added a round sparkle thing inside.
I love your work.

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