Art Quilt: Holdfast

Swimming after my interest in sea animals and the ocean in general, I learned that Giant Kelp, which can be seen at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (webcam here), is not a plant, but an alga, and it does not have roots, but has a holdfast, which is how it stays put on the ocean floor. (Fun fact: I read on this website that sea otters often wrap themselves in it when sleeping so they don't float away!) Giant Kelp has amazing qualities, part of a diverse ecosystem, and does amazing things for the planet. Check it out.

But really, the inspiration for this art quilt began when Velma Bolyard was in town for Codex and gave me some green cloth she had eco-printed. It didn't take long for me to decide how I would use it.

I pieced the full blue background first, then cut the curves and added in the green velvet I had dyed, plus the cotton I had dyed and letterpress printed with the wood type words "I AM HERE FOR YOU."

I had to be brave when I finally decided to cut up the beautiful fabric, for fear of making a wrong cut. I knew I wanted the cloth to be the fronds, and that they would fold and drape. I wanted the kelp bladders three-dimensional; they are wooden beads wrapped in cotton stuffing then wrapped with the Velma cloth.

Hand-quilted circles, half-circles, like bubbles were next. 

The embroidered holdfast.

The flopping fronds didn't feel finished, so I added machine-stitched quilting for definition.

21"w x 82.5"h (53.5 cm x 209.5 cm)
Hand-dyed cotton, linen, and velvet; letterpress printed cotton; eco-printed cotton; embroidered; wooden beads; hand and machine quilted