A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post titled Seeing More.
It was about a shell seeking trip that Jim and I took to the Naples beach just after a thunderstorm and what I discovered there. To this day, it is still one of my favorite blog posts.
Just after publishing that post, my brother John sent me this book in the mail.
The author, Dr. Gary Greenberg, took sand samples from different beaches all over the world and looked at them under a microscope. And he was shocked at what he saw. When his brother sent him a sample vial from Maui, he put it under the microscope and expected to see a bunch of tiny brown rocks. What he saw instead amazed him.
Spectacular colors, shapes and textures...remnants of rock, yes...but also lots of bits of dead flora and fauna. Under the microscope, they all looked like jewels...and they told a story. (You can see more of his photos on his website here.)
Re-reading this book in light of my current project made me very curious to know more about the components that make up the sand on my Dad's beach in Naples, Florida.
Though the author didn't specifically photograph any of Florida's sand, he does mention that most sand is the product of eroded rock. Continental beaches like those in Florida are most likely made up of quartz and feldspar that results from the erosion of the local granite bedrock. I did a little research on the internet and found this post on the beach sands of the Gulf of Mexico. Given the number of shells that land on my Dad's beach, I predict that his sand is likely made up of biological components of sea creatures and shells together with quartz. I would love to put some under a microscope and see for myself.
In ordet to get a sense for the colors that make up the Naples beach, I used the color picker tool in Photoshop to create a palette...
And I was surprised yet again by what the color picker reveals. Inevitably, there are colors involved in a tree trunk, a sea star...even sand...that I wouldn't have chosen if left to my own naked eye. Like the author, I expected the color to be off white. So I was surprised to see mostly taupes and grays show up.
Ever since I heard a radio interview with Betty Edwards, author of Color: A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Color, my whole understanding of color has made a continental shift. She felt that our schools had done a tremendous disservice to young children when teaching them that skies are blue and that trees have green leaves and brown trunks. In reality, they are many colors, hues and shades that make up the trees and sky that we see. I've never forgotten that....and have been using the color picker to help select color ever since.
And isn't it interesting that when Dr. Greenberg looks at sand under a microscope...he sees sooo many different colors?
Somehow, I wanted to give the appearance of sand on my block...so that you would know that the sea star is resting on the beach.
Here's my problem. The sea star was stitched with size 15 seed beads. In order to give the appearance of sand, I would need to use a bead that was significantly smaller. So I went back to my antique seed beads (I get them from Beadcats) and found the closest colors I could find to my palette...old ivory and old silver lined 22 degree seed beads.
There's no way to stitch size 22 beads without using a size 16 beading needle and 00 nymo thread, both of which I have to order online because no local bead shop carries anything that small.
Now, there's no way I can stitch a whole beach worth of sand on my block. I just wanted to give the impression of sand...by suggesting it.
And my little mix of beads I hope will do the trick.
That being said, it's still a lot of stitching to attach a random pattern of tiny sand beads onto my block. So that's my job this weekend.
Of course, I'm laughing at myself thinking I would be done today.
I should know myself by now. I take too many side trips and tangents to ever get me to the goal in a straight line.
Have a great weekend everyone! I'm off to stitch sand, one grain at a time...
P.S. I found this great close up pic of the nine-armed sea star. Don't those scales on his legs look like beads?