Thursday, July 12, 2012

Barnacles on the Brain

I've finally sat still long enough that barnacles have started to grow on me.


In fact, I'm developing quite a fondness for them lately in comparison to my youth when I was afraid of being cut by their sharp edges.

It's been a while since I worked the Raised Cup Stitch, a stitch that resembles a barnacle quite nicely.  Given that, I got out a doodle cloth and began practicing the stitch using varying weights of thread.


The barnacles to the left were stitched with a silk twist; the middle barnacles with Coton a Broder size 20; and the far right barnacles with Au Ver a Soie 100/3.  

I decided the Au Ver a Soie was a bit too thin and wimpy.  Barnacles are definitely not wimpy.  I liked the Coton a Broder the best...less bulky than the silk twist...but I may still try a finer silk twist if I can find one.

I learned that barnacles are crustaceans just like crabs, mainly because they spend two larval stages floating around in the sea before they attach themselves, head first, onto something.



Evidently, the substance that a barnacle secretes when attaching itself is one of the two strongest "glues" found in nature.  And they'll attach themselves to almost any surface, with little or no effect to the host...unless you're a boat ;)

Barnacles release a chemical so that baby larval barnacles will know where to plant their heads.  That's how you end of with large communities of the things...


Live barnacles have "doors" which open to release "feet" which extend out into the current to feed on plankton.  When the tide goes out or the barnacles are threatened, they close those "doors" and close up shop until the threat goes away.  That's why they tend to fare pretty well in polluted waters...and they've been on the planet for millions of years...

They have staying power.

I like that about them.  

Purple striped barnacles like the ones below tend to flourish in tropical climates which explains why I find them on the shells in Naples, Florida.  


Charles Darwin wrote four volumes on the barnacle just before penning his famed On the Origin of the Species.  In fact, the barnacle had such an influence on Darwin's work that there was a book written about it, Darwin and the Barnacle:  The Story of One Tiny Creature and History's Most Spectacular Scientific Breakthrough.

I love where my embroidery takes me.  

Now I just need to find a home on my block for a family of barnacles.

See you next time...

22 comments:

gracie said...

I so love visiting with you! I admire your creative ability, your magnificent stitching and I love the explanations that we get for all the stitches and reasons. As a young girl I grew up at the shore and this project brings back many memories. Thank you.

Judy S. said...

Interesting barnacle bits! And what an interesting stitch...can't wait to see how you add it (them?) to your block!

Judy said...

I love your blog posts..and have enjoyed the ancillary lessons that come along with them....your creativity is amazing and so is your stitching. Thank you!

wonderlandwoodsblog.blogspot.com said...

I turned 40 this year, and I have noticed that my perception of beauty is changing as I get older. Rather, the things I find beautiful are changing. I see beauty in places I never noticed before. It's so nice to see you sharing this same experience and honoring it in such a beautiful way.

natalielin said...

I adore you. Your work is so original and breathtaking. If that isn't enough, your research and writing are just so interesting. You make your art so meaningful! Thank you for sharing yourself with us!

Suztats said...

I didn't know all those things about barnacles. Thank you for sharing, and I'll look forward to seeing some appear on your block.

Teresa said...

How very interesting about the barnacles. It doesn't surprise me that you can stitch them so they look so pretty.
Teresa's Heartfelt Stitches

Createology said...

Your depth of research is always so interesting to me. I never knew anything at all about barnacles except that you do not want them on your expensive boat. The stitched ones from the cotton are my favorite of the three types. Stitching Bliss Dear...

Wendy said...

I am looking forward to seeing this come to fruition on your block.

Sheila said...

I always get the feeling that there's about 10 layers to your work. Idea. Metaphor. Analogy. Craft. Beauty. Material. And four more that I can't quite identify yet, but will come to me if I think about it longer. It's great to see your posts! Hope your summer is going very well. This is going to be a remarkable block, Susan.

Wanda Maria Roszak said...

Susan, surely now create beautiful art. work, because all I really like what you create, and thanks you for it,
greetings :)))

coral-seas said...

I love were your embroidery takes ME! It is always a beatuiful place.

Sheila, the layers you could not remember, could they be Research, Creativity, Imagination and Technical skill?

Rachel said...

Texture upon texture - and now I know more about barnacles, too!

FlowerLady said...

I am sure there is just the right spot for some barnacles on your block, and they will look fantastic.

FlowerLady

Saturday Sequins said...

Susan, I loved the lesson on barnacles! I love all things oceany and could sit through endless documentaries on the subject. :)

When I was a kid, I was sitting on a rock in Maine and the tide came in suddenly. It would have knocked me into the water, but the barnacles I was sitting on closed at just the right time and pinched my hands, keeping me in place.

I know they didn't do it on purpose, but I've had a soft spot for them ever since. Even though... ouch! That hurt. ;)

stitchlady said...

I just discovered your blog...it is wonderful. Your research on barnacles has reminded Me that I sometimes leave out info on my research when posting to my blog . I am looking forward to following you. Visit me sometime.... Http.stitchlady.wordpress.com. Happy stitching

margaret said...

thanks for sharing all about barnacles with us, it was very interesting and look forward to seeing the project emerge

Tamatha said...

You do such amazing work! I've been so inspired by your work to maybe step out and experiment a little--and I love Naples, FL! :)

Catherine said...

Not only are your posts a feast for the eyes, but you always manage to teach me something too! Who knew that barnacles planted themselves head first! Hope they are careful in their decision making ~ hehehe...
Can't wait to see where on your block they find their home!

Hélène said...

Fascinating post. And I love that stitch.

Mary Ann said...

Thank you for the information about barnacles. I don't see too many around here:) Of your three stitched barnacles I like the center one best...looks more like one to me.

Elizabeth said...

Love your barnacles and the tales that you share with us about them. going to a shelling beach like this is on my bucket list!! We don't find such wonders in the wrack lines up on Cape Cod!!!

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